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This winter’s tardy snowfall led over-eager skiers onto the slopes, and then, almost as quickly, back onto the couch with various muscle, bone, and head injuries. Tempting, sure, to soothe thy self-loathing with ice cream, beer, and frozen burritos (it might be all you can do to make it to the microwave and back), but there are certain edibles that can support your recovery faster than, say, pizza and PBR. These three therapeutic foods should be added into your daily regime so you can stop “Dancing With The Stars” and start skiing with your mates…ASAP.
RX: Pumpkin Seeds
Yep, the chewy seeds from inside a Halloween pumpkin are one of the most nutritious nibbles around. Known in some circles as pepitas, these flat, dark green or yellowish seeds are an excellent source of muscle-loving magnesium. In fact, a half-cup of pumpkin seeds provides almost 100 percent of the recommended daily value of magnesium. Magnesium is basically the yin to calcium’s yang; by acting as a blocker, magnesium prevents calcium from over-activating nerves, thus keeping muscles relaxed. Without adequate dietary magnesium, muscle can experience tension, soreness, spasms, cramps, and fatigue.
How to Eat: Sprinkle on top of salads for an added crunch.
The fruit we adored while off-season surfing in Costa Rica is essentially getting a super PAC endorsement from your skeletal system. Once you get past the musky flavor, the vitamin C content makes its boney case. One medium sized papaya provides approximately 300 of your daily C. Vitamin C plays a crucial role in the manufacture of collagen, which forms the connective tissue in skin, bones, cartilage, ligaments, vertebral discs, and joint linings. Without enough vitamin C, sufficient collagen production may not occur, and fractures may not heal quite right. Still not worth it? Don’t forget that papayas contain unique protein-digesting enzymes including papain, which have been shown to help lower inflammation.
How to Eat: Fruit salsa with papaya and mango, add cilantro, lime, and jalapenos, serve over fish or on a burger. Listen to reggae music.
Severe head trauma accounts for nearly 15 percent of all skiing— and snowboarding—related injuries. Some neurologists suggest injured parties aim for a minimum of 1.2 to 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day following injury to support neurological repair. Protein needs increase in order to reduce inflammation and swelling of the brain while providing enough energy to help the brain repair itself. Which makes one hope they went hunting the previous fall; a mere four-ounce serving of venison supplies 82 percent of the daily value for protein. Venison, too, is an excellent source of iron, which is needed to transport oxygen to cells in the brain.
How to Eat: Jerky! This requires no prep from the injured party.
Your injury recovery mantra: increase protein, vitamin C, and magnesium consumption – and, of course, watch lots of ski movies to get stoked for getting back on the slopes.