Foods to Help Heal Sprains

Injured runner
Sprains can be caused by relatively minor falls. (Image: Halfpoint/iStock/Getty Images)

A typical sprain requires simply rest and time to heal. However, your body requires several different nutrients to help maintain the health of your bones and ligaments -- both of which can be damaged depending on the type of sprain. These nutrients are particularly important while healing a sprain. Keep in mind, though, that severe sprains may require surgery to repair, so you should follow your doctor's advice for treatment.

Calcium

Calcium is well-known for its contribution to building strong bones; it is a particularly important mineral for individuals who play sports or regularly place significant demands on their skeletal system. Adults need between 1,000 and 1,200 mg of calcium per day, according to the National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements. Calcium can be found in dairy products, whole grain foods and many leafy green vegetables.

Phosphorus

Phosphorus is nearly as important for the strength of your bones as is calcium, since the two minerals together make up the primary building blocks of your bones. Your body also needs phosphorus in order to properly use several other nutrients, including magnesium and vitamin D. Fortunately, phosphorus is prevalent in many of the same foods that provide calcium, including whole grain and dairy foods. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that most adults need about 700 mg of phosphorus per day.

Magnesium

Magnesium also contributes to bone makeup; plus, your body uses it to control the levels of nutrients like potassium, calcium and vitamin D. Grains and nuts and green vegetables are all good sources of magnesium. Adults need between 270 and 400 mg of magnesium per day.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps your body absorb and use minerals like calcium and phosphorus to build and repair your bones. Eggs, milk and some fish can all provide vitamin D; your body can also create it when exposed to the sun. Most adults need 5 mcg of vitamin D per day, although individuals older than 50 may need more.

Vitamin C

Your body needs vitamin C in order to create collagen; it needs collagen in order to build the tendons and ligaments that are often damaged in a sprain. Many fruits and vegetables, including citrus fruits and green peppers, are very high in vitamin C content. You should consume between 75 and 90 mg of vitamin C each day.

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