After a fracture, your bone needs to rebuild. A healthy, well-balanced diet rich in key nutrients After a fracture, your body starts to heal and rebuild the bone. A healthy diet for a bone fracture and nutrients rich diet can accelerate the healing of your fractured bone.
But with advanced treatments, and by making some lifestyle and nutritional adjustments, there are several ways to accelerate the healing of a bone fracture.
You don’t need to take supplements unless your doctor recommends it. They don’t always work well. It’s much better to get the nutrition you need from your plate, not from a pill.
A bone fracture can happen at any time to anyone. Falls, accidents, various diseases, chronic conditions, sports injuries etc. are the most common reasons for bone fractures. With advanced treatment for bone fractures and with some changes in lifestyle & nutritional habits, fractured bones can be fixed. There are several ways to boost the healing of a bone fracture.
Fractures happen, and they happen often. Each year, around 6 million people will break a bone in the United States. Whether a minor fracture, like a hairline fracture, or a major fracture, the recovery can be tedious. It can take weeks—even months—to fully heal. As overwhelming as that can be, there is something you can do to make your recovery easier and quicker. Follow a healthy, healing diet. Nutrition is a necessary part of recovery that cannot and should not be neglected.
Your bones need to heal and rebuild after a fracture. A diet which is rich in key nutrients can speed up the healing process. Do not self-medicate with supplements unless your doctor prescribes them. It is usually better to get the nutrition you need from food instead of a pill. Our body has a natural process of self-repairing fractured bones, but a good diet can speed up that process and may also reduce the likelihood of fractures in the future. During the healing process, the nutritional demands of our body increases.
When we say diet, we don’t mean you should necessarily try to lose weight during recovery. By diet, we mean a nutritional plan that specifically targets your need during recovery
Many foods, including fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and protein sources, have been shown to reduce inflammation, improve immune function, promote healing, and provide the fuel necessary for you to get on the mend.
Which foods heal broken bones faster? I fractured a bone in my foot at a group tennis lesson a couple of weeks ago, and I’m willing to do anything to speed up the healing process! Nutrition plays an important role in fracture healing, and I’ve taken a deeper look at the research to discover which fracture healing foods are essential to include to heal broken bones quickly.
When you fracture a bone, you might think that the only thing you can do to heal is rest and wait – but that’s not necessarily the case. The fracture healing process brings with it increased nutritional needs, and giving your body proper nutrition for fracture healing can support speedy recovery. Here’s how you can meet your nutrition needs for healing bone fractures
Best Diet For a Bone Fracture
Research on the best foods to heal broken bones is constantly being done. New advances in medicinal research are uncovering fascinating ways in which broken bones can be made to regenerate quickly. A recent research conducted by scientists in Lund University, Sweden on rats found a new method to heal bones faster using a bone substitue and drugs. The research was published in the Science Advances journal.
The complex frame of bones is spread in the entire body and when a force is exhibited on them more than what bones can handle, they tend to break causing a fracture. Fractures can be as minor as a hairline and can be so massive that they end up failing to heal.
While the first-aid given to a patient who has suffered a fracture is a strong form of support so that the bone returns to its designated place, the diet that the patient has to follow is equally important. According to Dr Gurvani Kochar, Sr. Nutritionist in Fortis Hospital, Jaipur, “A diet rich in protein and calcium is highly necessary for a patient who has suffered a fracture. Working as a team, protein heals and repairs the tissues that have suffered the trauma and calcium is beneficial in repairing the bone.
Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, arugula, mustard greens, and Swiss chard are packed with nutrients that decrease inflammation, enhance immune function, and improve wound healing, making them the perfect choice to promote recovery.
Leafy greens are high in vitamin C, manganese, magnesium, folate, and provitamin A, all of which are essential for immune function and overall health.
They’re also rich in polyphenol antioxidants that have powerful anti-inflammatory and immune-supportive properties.
In fact, research shows that certain polyphenols, including the antioxidant quercetin, that are concentrated in green leafy veggies, may help suppress the production of inflammatory proteins like TNF-alpha.
What’s more, vitamin C is essential for wound healing, making leafy greens a good choice when recuperating after surgery.
This vitamin should be a part of your diet to help your fracture heal. It helps your blood take in and use calcium and build up the minerals in your bones.
You get some vitamin D when sunlight hits your skin, so it can be a good idea to spend a short amount of time outdoors each day — 15 minutes may be enough for a fair-skinned person.
Vitamin D is found naturally in only a few foods like egg yolks and fatty fish, but manufacturers add it to other foods, like milk or orange juice. Adults should get at least 600 IU of vitamin D every day, and if you’re over 70 you should get at least 800 IU.
Even young children understand calcium’s integral role in bone health. Not only does it keep our bones strong, but it helps them rebuild when they’ve been broken. Calcium is one of the main minerals in bone. In order for our bones to heal, we need an ample supply of calcium. There are three phases of fracture healing: inflammatory, reparative, and remodeling. During the reparative and remodeling stages, our body pulls calcium from our bone reserves and then from our diets. Which is why our diets need to be calcium rich.
The average adult needs are 1,000 mg/day of calcium. Great sources of calcium include:
- Cottage cheese
- Fortified products like juice or cereal
A great source of Vitamin D, Tuna is highly essential if we are talking about repairing a fracture. Vitamin D helps in absorbing calcium and plays an important role in forming the structure of the bone along with monitoring bone growth.
Milk, yogurt, and cheese are a good source of vitamin D and calcium, two key nutrients that your body requires for bone strength and growth. If you have a fracture, try to increase the intake of dairy products to speed up the healing process.
Dairy milk gets all the love when it comes to calcium, a critical nutrient for repairing fractures and maintaining strong bones, but if you’re lactose intolerant or just need a change, fortified soy milk is an equally good calcium-rich option. “It delivers a third of the recommended allowance for healthy adult women,” says Moore. Make a healthy dessert by mixing soy milk with chia seeds, a bit of honey, and fresh fruit (or jam, chocolate, or peanut butter). Or, pour it over your morning cereal or oatmeal. Check out these scientist-approved ways to slash your osteoporosis risk.
Protein & Collagen
We usually think of bone as a bunch of minerals fused together with the help of vitamin D, but actually it’s about 30% protein (mostly type 1 collagen). (2) Think of bone as a living sponge with mineral crystals embedded throughout.
In this study, participants who were given micronutrients that support collagen production (vitamin C, lysine, proline and vitamin B6) showed “acceleration of fracture healing time” compared with participants who took a placebo.
With that in mind, I’m increasing my son’s protein intake – especially collagen protein – and the supporting nutrients needed to put it to use. Collagen protein (sometimes called gelatin), contains several amino acids – including the lysine and proline forms listed above – that serve as building blocks for collagen synthesis. Lysine also helps with calcium absorption.
C vitamin plays a crucial role in bone healing. Vitamin C is antioxidant, and antioxidants can restore the damage caused by free radicals. The free radicals which are released when the tissue is damaged can continuously cause damage unless prevented by antioxidants. C Vitamin is a powerful antioxidant and crucial in restoring the damaged tissue during a fracture.
Vitamin C also helps to produce collagen, a vital protein found in bone. It plays a dominant role in your bone fracture healing. Deficiency of vitamin C leads to low production of collagen, which alters the healing process. For a healthy and faster recovery, you need more Vitamin C.
Good Vitamin C Sources: Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, berries, kiwi fruit, tomatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes, and green leafy vegetables.
Turmeric is a health friendly ingredient, and we all are aware of its long list of health benefits. Including turmeric to your diet is one of the best natural remedies for healing bone fractures, Turmeric also possesses anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that aid the treatment of bone fracture. You can drink turmeric milk or wrap turmeric and onion paste for 1-2 days around the fractured area for relief.
Following surgery, your body needs significantly more protein than the current Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of 0.36 grams per pound (0.8 grams per kg) of body weight.
The American Society for Enhanced Recovery recommends 0.7–0.9 grams of protein per pound (1.5–2 grams per kg) of body weight after surgery. That equals 105–135 grams for a 150-pound (68-kg) person (7).
Eggs are not only an excellent source of highly absorbable protein, providing 6 grams per large egg (50 grams), but also nutrients that support immune health and wound healing.
Whole eggs contain vitamins A and B12, as well as zinc, iron, and selenium, all of which play vital immune roles.
If you have iron-deficiency anemia — when you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells — you may heal more slowly after a fracture. Iron helps your body make collagen to rebuild bone. It also plays a part in getting oxygen into your bones to help them heal.
Good sources: Red meat, dark-meat chicken or turkey, oily fish, eggs, dried fruits, leafy green veggies, whole-grain breads, and fortified cereals.
A source of healthy fats is extremely important while the body is trying to recover from a physical trauma. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts and cashews are rich in Vitamin E which is also beneficial for bone structure and growth. These will not only reduce the risk of heart diseases but will also give rise to HDL, also known as ‘Good Cholesterol’
This Halloween, clean, dry, and roast the pumpkin seeds from your jack-o’-lantern: They’re a good source of magnesium, a mineral that helps the body absorb calcium; it contributes to the strength and firmness of bones, two important factors when you’re trying to heal a fracture. You can toss roasted pumpkin seeds on a salad or munch them alone as a crunchy snack.
Sweet bell peppers—especially the red ones—are brimming with vitamin C, a nutrient that’s critical for forming collagen, and that’s important when rebuilding bone, says Moore. Believe it or not, ½ cup of bell peppers actually has more vitamin C than an orange. Cut the peppers into strips and dip them in hummus, or try adding them to a stir-fry or omelet. If you feel like even these do not seem to be helping your bones, then you should contact the best orthopedic surgeon in Karachi for help.
It’s fitting that kale is loaded with vitamin K. “This vitamin is required for calcium-binding activity in bone formation,” says Moore. Translation: it helps your body use calcium in a way that helps it reknit bone. Chow down on a kale salad, sauté the leaves as a hearty side dish, or crisp them in the oven for a bone-friendly snack.
Vitamin B6 – In one of the studies mentioned above, participants who received vitamin B6 and other nutrients that support collagen synthesis healed faster than those who didn’t. Since I prefer to give vitamins in whole-food form with possible, I’m opting for 1/4 – 1/2 tsp bee pollen daily which is rich in B6 as well as B1, B2, and co-factors that help with absorption. (3)
Vitamin C – Another essential nutrient for collagen synthesis, vitamin C is also an antioxidant that can help clear oxidative stress caused by the fracture. I’m using this whole food-based powdered vitamin C, which I stir into water, smoothies, or homemade gummies.
Vitamin D & Omega 3-Fatty Acids – Even though omega-3s are not a vitamin, these two are mentioned together since they’re often found in the same foods. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in the absorption of many minerals (calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron, and selenium to name a few) needed for bone synthesis, making it an important part of the healing process.
Omega 3-fatty acids help soothe inflammation after the initial acute period when it is helpful. For both D and omega 3’s, I opt for 1/4 – 1/3 tsp of this cod liver oil that contains naturally occuring vitamins instead of synthetic ones. Sardines are also a good option if your family enjoys then.
Vitamin K – Blood levels of vitamin K fall after a fracture, and one theory about why is that it’s drawn to the broken bone to initiate healing. Vitamin K helps the body bind calcium to bone and may play other supportive roles in recovery. It comes in two forms – K1 and K2. Vitamin K1 is primarily found in leafy greens (which we eat a lot of) and vitamin K2 is found in pastured egg yolks, liver, butter, and fermented natto.
Salmon is packed with protein, B vitamins, selenium, iron, zinc, and omega-3 fats.
What’s more, studies show that its omega-3 fats may promote wound healing, enhance immune response, and reduce inflammation when taken in supplement form.
Plus, just 3 ounces (85 grams) of wild-caught salmon delivers over 70% of your daily needs for selenium, a mineral that regulates inflammation and immune response.
Although eating salmon is likely safe, you should talk to your healthcare provider before taking fish oil supplements before or after surgery. Recent research indicates that these supplements don’t increase bleeding risk, but some surgeons advise against fish oil anyway.
Sardines are a good source of calcium and vitamin D, the two key nutrients for strengthening the bones.
Calcium works well only if you get vitamin D too. Fatty fish such as tuna is a good source of vitamin D. Even though calcium is a key nutrient when it comes to healing bones, vitamin D is equally important. Vitamin D keeps stabilizes calcium levels in the blood and plays an important role in bone structure and growth.
This juicy sweet fruit is filled with vitamin K. In fact, ¾ cup provides 25 percent of your daily value, says Moore. Eat them plain, freeze them for an icy treat, or use as a salad, yogurt, or oatmeal topping. Here are other summer superfoods you should be eating.
Most of us get enough calcium via food, but we don’t necessarily get the magnesium needed to properly absorb and use it. According to the World Health Organization, only about 25% of Americans are consuming enough magnesium, leading to what CNN calls the invisible deficiency. (4)
Getting adequate levels of magnesium improves bone quality, both by assisting calcium absorption and in other ways. Other minerals are needed to build bone, too: phosphorous, zinc, copper, silica, and boron to name a few.
Because minerals found in food and drinks are typically more bioavailable than most supplements, I focus on mineral-rich herbal infusions. Another bonus with food sources is that they often contain a complementary balance of several minerals together, which helps optimize mineral balance in the body.
The herbs I selected are all categorized by The Botanical Safety Handbook as Safety Class 1A, which is the safest rating possible. Here’s what I’ll be using (recipe below):
- Nettle (Urtica dioica L.) – “Nettle is full of nutrients that are important for healthy bones, teeth, and hair. Many women have improved their bone density levels after drinking nourishing herbal infusions made with nettle . . . . Nettle has approximately has approximately 2,900 mg of calcium for each 100 grams of the dried leaf. (2) The naturally occurring calcium found in nettle is easily absorbed by our bodies (which is not the case when it comes to calcium supplements). Nettle is also high in magnesium, another critical nutrient for bone health. (3)” (5)
- Oat straw (Avena sativa) – Rich in silica, magnesium, phosphorus, chromium, iron, calcium, alkaloids, vitamins and other nutrients, oat straw is deeply nourishing. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that although oat straw is naturally gluten-free, it can sometimes be cross-contaminated with gluten during processing. For that reason, if you’re gluten-free make sure to buy gluten-free oat straw that has not been processed with the same tools as wheat.
- Peppermint, Rosehips, etc. – Although they have benefits as well, I’m mostly focusing on their ability to make the infusion more flavorful and appealing.
This herb is good for more than a garnish—it’s actually an excellent source of vitamin K, says Moore. Make a parsley pesto for an easy and tasty way to consume a lot of it; put the pesto over bone-building veggies or fish from the list above for an extra boost. Next, keep your skeleton strong with these easy habits that boost bone density.