Broken ribs, or rib fractures, are an often painful health problem that can be challenging to treat. The National Center for Emergency Medicine Informatics states that rib fractures are most commonly caused by chest wall trauma incurred during a fall or after being struck with a blunt object. Excessive coughing can also cause broken ribs, especially in older individuals. Ask your doctor about the merits and drawbacks of diet and nutrition in treating this health complaint.
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Bruising, muscle strains and ligament sprains often accompany broken ribs, notes the Aurora Health Care website. In some cases, broken ribs may also injure organs, such as your lungs, causing serious health complications that require immediate medical intervention. Some of the most common signs and symptoms associated with broken ribs include chest wall pain, swelling in your affected area, pain that is worse with coughing, and deep breathing and extreme tenderness when your affected area is palpated, or examined by hand.
A Helpful Diet
Certain dietary practices may help speed the healing of your broken ribs. In her book "Prescription for Nutritional Healing," certified nutritional consultant Phyllis A. Balch states that consuming half a fresh pineapple every day until your fracture heals may be particularly helpful. Balch also notes that you should consider avoiding red meat, foods containing preservatives, and soft drinks with caffeine and other caffeinated beverages. Other beneficial foods for this health purpose include foods rich in calcium, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, black beans and spinach.
A Commonly Used Food
Yogurt may be one of the most commonly used foods in treating broken ribs and other fractures. Yogurt, notes nutritionist and biologist George Mateljan, author of the book "The World's Healthiest Foods," contains a significant amount of calcium, phosphorus, zinc and potassium and has historically been used in treating numerous health problems, including yeast infections, excess body fat and low immune function. Yogurt that contains live active cultures may be more effective in treating various health problems than yogurt lacking beneficial lactic acid bacteria.
In most cases, broken ribs do not lead to serious health complications, although some injuries involving rib fractures may also involve organ damage that requires the immediate attention and care of emergency medicine specialists. A licensed health care provider can assess the severity of your injury and suggest relevant treatment measures to help promote optimal healing of your injured tissues. Some foods traditionally used in treating fractures may require further scientific testing to determine their true effects.
- National Center for Emergency Medicine Informatics: Rib Fracture and Costochondral Separation
- Aurora Health Care: Rib Fracture
- "Prescription for Nutritional Healing"; Phyllis A. Balch, CNC; 2010
- "The World's Healthiest Foods"; George Mateljan; 2007