Physical therapy is an important part of many people’s health and wellness routines. Whether you’re recovering from an injury, managing a chronic condition, or working on improving your fitness, physical therapy can help you achieve your goals.
On top of exercises and treatments prescribed by your physical therapist, proper nutrition also plays a key role in supporting your body’s recovery and overall health.
In this blog post, we’ll explore 10 foods that can be beneficial to eat after a physical therapy session to aid in your body’s healing process and support optimal performance.
1. Lean Protein Protein is essential for tissue repair and muscle building. Including lean protein sources into your diet such as grilled chicken, fish, tofu, or bans in your post-physical therapy meal can help to repair damaged tissues and promote muscle recovery. Protein also provides satiety, helping you feel fuller for longer, which can be beneficial for weight management.
2. Greek YogurtGreek yogurt is an excellent source of protein, calcium, and probiotics. Protein helps with muscle repair, calcium supports bone health, and probiotics promote a healthy gut. Greek yogurt can be a nutritious and convenient option for a post-physical therapy snack or added to a smoothie for a protein-packed recovery drink.
3. Fruits and VegetablesFruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which play a crucial role in the body’s healing process. Incorporating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables—such as berries, leafy greens, bell peppers, and sweet potatoes—can provide essential nutrients to support your body’s recovery and prompt overall health.
4. Whole Grains Quinoa, brown rice, and whole wheat bread are great examples of whole grains that you can incorporate into your diet. Whole grains are excellent sources of fiber, which can aid in digestion and provide sustained energy. Whole grains also contain important nutrients like B-vitamins and minerals, which can support your body’s recovery and help with energy production.
5. Healthy FatsIncluding healthy fats in your post-physical therapy meal can help with inflammation and provide sustained energy—which can be a big help during and after your physical therapy sessions (or just for overall wellness in general!) Sources of healthy fats include avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. These fats can be beneficial for joint health and provide essential nutrients for overall well-being.
6. Hydrating BeveragesProper hydration is essential for optimal recovery and performance—and this goes in our daily lives, as well. After a physical therapy session, it’s essential to replenish fluids lost through exercise and sweat. Water is the best choice for hydration, but you can also include other hydrating options such as coconut water, herbal tea, or low-sugar electrolyte-rich sports drinks to replenish electrolytes and support hydration.
7. Eggs A great source of protein, healthy fats, and essential vitamins and minerals—eggs are a great food to incorporate into your diet. They can be a versatile option for a post-physical therapy meal, whether you make a veggie-packed omelet, a hard-boiled egg as a snack, or add eggs to a salad or sandwich. Eggs can provide the necessary nutrients to support muscle recovery and overall health.
8. Dark ChocolateYes, you read that right! Dark chocolate with a high cocoa content (70% or higher) can be a nutritious treat after a physical therapy session. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, fiber, and healthy fats, which can help with inflammation and overall heart health. Enjoy a small piece of dark chocolate as a tasty and satisfying dessert option.
9. Tart Cherry Juice This one, you might be unfamiliar with—and if not, great! Because that means you’ve been drinking a juice that’s been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce muscle soreness and inflammation after physical activity. Including a small glass of tart cherry juice in your post-physical therapy routine can provide a natural way to support your body’s recovery and reduce muscle soreness.
10. SmoothiesSmoothies can be a convenient and nutritious option—easy to make and take on the go, you’re able to get nutrients that can aid your body in many different ways after completing physical activity. They are versatile, easy to digest, nutrient-rich, hydrating, and customizable to your liking based on your preferences and nutritional needs—which makes it fun!
Incorporating the right foods into your post-physical therapy routine can play a significant role in supporting your body’s healing process and optimizing your performance. Lean protein, Greek yogurt, fruits and veggies, whole grains, healthy fats, hydrating beverages, eggs, dark chocolate, tart cherry juice, and smoothies can all be beneficial options to include in your post-physical therapy meal plan.
By fueling your body with the right nutrients, you can enhance your recovery, support your overall health, and maximize the benefits of your PT sessions.
So, next time after your PT session, consider reaching for these nutrient-rich foods at the grocery story to help you on your journey to optimal wellness. Take care of your body from the inside out, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving your health and wellness goals!
"We help active adults and athletes get back to doing the activities they love, without relying on painkillers or injections."
Shaheen Siddiqui, PT
Specialist Physical Therapist