Healthy Hollywood: Ask Keri Glassman — Foods That Help Healing

Nutritionist Keri Glassman, who regularly shares her expertise on Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live, is answering your nutrition, diet and health questions.

Want to know how celebrities are getting their fabulous post-baby bodies? And, if their diet plan is right for you? This week’s question…

“I’ve been seeing so many celebrities with broken bones. Yet, they seem to heal fast. Any tips or tricks?” - Claudine M., Tulsa, Okla.

Keri says…

Mariah Carey is in a sling, Reese Witherspoon is in a boot, and Kristen Stewart is on crutches. It seems like being injured is a hot new style! They may have all gotten their injuries in different ways, but these celebs all have one thing in common-- a road to recovery. And to answer your question, no and yes. There are no miracle foods that will instantly mend your broken bone, but there are foods that can speed up the process of healing.

With cells and tissues growing, hormones being released, and antioxidants and amino acids coming into action, it takes time and energy to heal fractures and broken bones. All of this extra work is in addition to the normal work your body does simply to function daily. But there is more you can do to get back on your feet besides reaching for the medicine cabinet. By adding certain foods into your diet, you will not only kick the crutches sooner, you will also improve your overall health. No, I’m not talking about a pint of sympathy ice cream. The recovery food list is full of lean protein, fruits, veggies and low-fat dairy (but don’t overdo it and also focus on organic milk and plain yogurt and stay away from cheese). Don’t be afraid to try non-dairy alternatives like hemp, almond or rice milk too.

Bone health is an important issue at any age. Make sure to eat foods that keep your bones strong and nourished daily to help prevent injuries from happening in the first place. So, what do bones need? Bones are made primarily of protein and minerals, including the ones we hear about all the time - calcium, phosphorous and magnesium. The problem is many of us don’t get our daily dose of minerals which we rely on even more so when we are injured. It’s no surprise that protein and minerals are an important component of not only bone health but healing. But let’s not forget about vitamins, which are responsible for carrying out some of the essential chemical processes that allow our bodies to naturally heal. Some vitamins also increase the absorption of key minerals, for example, vitamin D and calcium.

Aside from helping the actual bone repair process, foods can also help ease some of the pestering side effects. Inflammation (aka swelling) is the body’s immediate response to damage and injury but can slow the healing process and create pain. Lucky for us, there are some anti-inflammatory foods that help reverse this process. So while your foot is recovering, at least it won’t be the size of Big Foot’s! OK, now what exactly are we supposed to eat? To get out of the boot and back on your feet, stock up your fridge with these foods:

Dark, Leafy Greens: These greens, like spinach, kale and arugula, contain vitamin A which your body uses to make new tissue. Spinach is also packed with one of those key bone minerals - magnesium. Try switching up your salad by using one of these as your base.

Pineapple: A whiff of this fruit not only transports you to a tropical island, but it is also the only known source of bromelain, an enzyme whose anti-inflammatory properties may ease joint pain. Add pineapples to your morning smoothie, grab a few cubes for a snack, or add it to a salad.

Colorful Produce: Carrots, tomato, sweet potato, squash and pumpkin contain carotenoids which have been known to help regulate inflammation. They also boost immunity for an overall health benefit.

Cinnamon: Cinnamaldehyde, an active component in cinnamon, has been to shown to prevent unwanted clumping of blood platelets, which has given cinnamon its anti-inflammatory reputation. Try adding it to your yogurt, cereal or oatmeal.

Ginger: Ginger contains the anti-inflammatory compound gingerol, which is known to relieve joint pain. Steep ginger in hot water to make ginger tea.

Walnuts & Almonds: While walnuts are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, reducing inflammation, almonds are a great source of protein and minerals including magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. Toss some in your salad or just grab a handful of them to eat on the go!

Turmeric: This bright orange spice contains an antioxidant called curcumin which is known to have a connection with decreased pain. Evidence has shown that curcumin might play an important role in pain relief as it has been shown to mimic properties of prescribed pain meds. Add this spice to any of your meals for a new flavor.

Plant-based Protein: Soy, lentils and legumes provide the amino acids and protein needed to repair and rebuild your bones, without the animal fat. Some amino acids from these sources also help with calcium absorption and bone reformation. Add tofu or lentils to your salad. Or experiment with new dinner entrees.

Milk, Eggs & Yogurt: Low-fat dairy and egg yolks will give you a boost of vitamin D and calcium, which are both important players in the bone repair process, and in overall, long-term bone health.

Fish: Oily fish, such as salmon and sardines are another source of vitamin D which helps bones absorb calcium and speed repair. They also offer a dose of omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation. Now that’s a double whammy!

-- Terri MacLeod & Keri Glassman

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