Slim and fit woman drinking water before having breakfast

You Are What You Eat: Physical Therapy and Nutrition

We all know that a balanced diet works wonders for our physical and mental health. But did you know that certain foods and nutrients can positively impact your rehabilitation while undergoing physical therapy? The American Physical Therapy Association even recognizes that diet and nutrition play a major role in preventing many of the conditions treated through PT. Want to maximize the results of your physical therapy program? Here’s some food for thought!

Cut the Junk

Let’s face it—fast food and heavily processed meals are convenient, long lasting, and addictively tasty. But if you’re in physical therapy, you have to give up the drive-thru burgers and cellophane-wrapped pastries. Junk food is overloaded with unhealthy fats, refined sugars, sodium, preservatives, and artificial ingredients. While you may feel full and satisfied after that greasy bag of food, your body is still starved of vital nutrients that your body needs for repairing muscles and giving you the energy to get through your PT routine. It’s a fact that whenever the body sustains some sort of illness or injury, it needs more nutrients and vitamins than usual.

Sweet Tooth

Giving up those mouth-watering brownies or passing up that 2-for-1 deal on cookies at the grocery store can feel like torture to those of us who love sweets. But next time you want to indulge, reach for fruit that’s full of juicy flavor like oranges, plums, mangos, or pineapple. Or what about a smoothie that combines a few naturally sweet ingredients without all of the refined sugar. This will not only help curb that craving, but gives you a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals!

Chug! Chug! Chug!

If you aren’t already doing it, start chugging water like you’re knocking back beers at a college party. Many Americans suffer from some level of dehydration, so up your water intake to make sure your body fluids are balanced. Muscles also require water to function properly, and you’re definitely going to need them for your PT!

Lose the Booze

While you may enjoy a glass of wine with dinner or a few beers while cheering on LSU, it’s important that you either limit or cut out alcohol while focusing on your physical therapy routine. Alcohol not only negatively affects your body, but it can also decrease your motivation and focus when it comes to successful rehabilitation.

As always, be sure to consult with your doctor or a licensed nutritionist to see what foods you can safely incorporate into your daily meals. By improving your diet, you’ll be taking the right steps to getting the most out of your physical therapy!

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