Being healthy and staying fit is important for many individuals, especially those who are physically active. No matter how careful we are, injuries and illnesses are an inevitable part of life. In these situations, seeking proper medical treatment is the best route.
But what happens after? How can you recover from injuries or long-term illness? Did you know that there are also natural remedies that can aid in your recovery?
Inflammation is our body’s response to injury and illness. While it may be beneficial in the short term, long-term inflammation can lead to chronic health conditions. And that's where natural remedies play a role.
These remedies soothe symptoms and boost health but also boost immunity to prevent future illnesses. So, keep reading to learn about 18 natural remedies to help you recover from an injury or illness.
Rest or sleep is arguably the most essential natural remedy for recovery. There’s a reason your doctor tells you to rest when dealing with injury or illness. Sleep is an active state of healing.
During sleep, our body repairs damaged tissues, rejuvenates the immune system, and restores energy. During the first few hours of sleep, our bodies repair and perform tissue growth. As it refreshes us, our brains clear unnecessary clutter and flush out waste products.
The late stages of sleep deal with mental recovery and healing. This is why cutting sleep short is terrible for your mental well-being. If we interrupt this last crucial rest stage, we rob our bodies of mood regulation and interfere with learning. When you feel unwell, listening to your body and giving it the necessary downtime is important.
Ignoring your body's signals can lead to further injury or a longer recovery. As noted in a study, getting adequate sleep can also make you more resistant to illnesses.
Heat treatments are another potent natural remedy for recovery. These treatments have a long history of therapeutic properties and include hot baths, warm compresses, or heat wraps. Heat treatments can improve circulation by dilating the blood vessels and speeding up the body's natural healing.
The increased blood flow brings more blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the injured area, promoting tissue healing and renewal. Heat also helps reduce discomfort and improves flexibility. When applying heat treatments, avoid direct contact with the heat source to prevent burns.
Instead, use a cloth or towel between your skin and the heat source and limit each application to 15-20 minutes. The temperature should be comfortable, not scorching. People mistakenly associate arthritis with age, but it can happen between 25 and 45.
You shouldn’t use heat treatments for fresh injuries or any condition with swelling. Cold treatments, or cryotherapy, are an effective natural remedy for injury recovery. Use this approach and a cold pack or a wrapped bag of ice to numb the pain and reduce inflammation.
More research suggests that the cold temperature constricts the blood vessels, an effect known as vasoconstriction. This action reduces swelling and decreases nerve activity, relieving pain. The cold can also decrease tissue damage by slowing down metabolic activity and reducing the tissue's oxygen demand.
When applying cold, don't apply the cold source on your skin, as this can damage it. As with heat treatments, use a barrier between your skin and the cold source. Use cold treatments for 15-20 minutes several times daily, especially during the first 24-72 hours.
This remedy is effective for conditions like:
- Post-surgical Recovery
Rest, heat, and cold treatments can significantly accelerate recovery from injury or illness. But these are only a few of the natural remedies available to you. Let's look at food-based remedies that are nutritious, delicious, and readily available to most people.
Protein is a crucial nutrient for recovery, and when our bodies are protein-deficient, there are plenty of signs. It aids tissue repair and boosts the immune system, helping your body mend and recover more efficiently. Eating protein-rich foods can give your body the essential amino acids or building blocks to rebuild damaged tissues.
Research confirms that eating enough protein supports the body's healing processes. Protein is vital to surgical wound healing or severe burns. One excellent source of protein is grass-fed collagen creamer.
This hydrolyzed protein supplement can provide a significant amount of accessible collagen. With collagen, your body can use those building blocks to:
- Improve joint health
- Support skin elasticity
- Promote strong hair growth
Another study showed that supplementing with collagen can enhance skin health and speed up wound healing. Vegan pea protein is another fantastic and easily digestible source of protein. This plant-based protein has essential amino acids and is one of the best options for vegans and vegetarians.
Including these protein sources in your routine is easy. Mix the collagen creamer into your favorite coffee or add vegan pea protein to smoothies and baking recipes. If you want more variety or to skip plant-based protein, you could try:
- Whey Protein
Remember, as with any nutrient, it's crucial to eat protein in moderation and as part of a balanced diet.
Healthy fats play a pivotal role in recovery as well. They are vital for various bodily functions, including absorbing fat-soluble vitamins. They also act as a primary energy source for your body.
Omega-3 fatty acids are particularly beneficial during recovery, especially from surgeries. They help reduce inflammation, which in turn helps in faster healing. Studies have shown that Omega-3’s can decrease muscle soreness and increase range of motion after intense exercise.
To include healthy fats into your diet, consider eating:
- Fatty fish (like salmon)
- Seeds and nuts
You could add ground flaxseeds or chia seeds to your morning smoothie to boost your healthy fat intake. Remember to maintain a balance, as many fats are high in calories. These healthy fats can help tackle complications from rheumatoid arthritis and asthma by reducing overall inflammation.
Probiotics are live bacteria with numerous health benefits, particularly for your digestive system. In recovery, probiotics act as a natural remedy for constipation. We often think of bacteria as harmful, but your body is full of good and bad bacteria.
Probiotics support healthy gut flora, which improves digestion, boosts immunity, and enhances nutrient absorption. Together, these factors help us recover faster. Research is ongoing, but it shows that probiotics strengthen the immune system and help our bodies combat inflammation.
They're instrumental as a home remedy for upset stomach and treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Although supplements can be a great source of probiotics, they are also in many fruits and vegetables. If you want to pair probiotic foods with supplementation, we recommend sourcing them from:
Probiotic-rich foods can help replenish beneficial gut bacteria. Beyond that, we need other nutrients to help our bodies heal and recover. One route is to consider vitamins.
You should never rely on vitamin supplements as a long-term solution, but they help your body recover quickly. This is especially true with general vitamins, elderberry, and vitamin C.
Multivitamins can be an excellent way to fill in gaps and get essential nutrients that your diet may leave out. They are a convenient and tasty way to get your daily vitamins. These products are generally well-tolerated by most adults.
Multivitamin gummies typically include vitamins A, C, D, E, and B vitamins and minerals like zinc. Together, these nutrients support energy levels, bone health, immune function, and eye health. Many nutritionists agree that taking multivitamins is a low-risk solution and offers advantages for the majority.
Taking a daily multivitamin is an effective strategy to safeguard against unknown deficits affecting your long-term health. The idea is to take multivitamins for micronutrient imbalances. When we don’t get enough micronutrients, our immediate short-term needs take priority over long-term requirements.
Researchers speculate that imbalances may result in long-term damage in exchange for meeting short-term needs. Think of it like this: you don't want to drain your savings account just because of a temporary financial reset. You'd still have insurmountable debt later on.
Keep in mind not to rely solely on multivitamins for good health. They should complement a nutritious diet, not replace it.
Elderberries, like many other berries, have antioxidants and vitamins that enhance your immune system. They can tame inflammation, reduce stress, and help protect your heart. Elderberries have a long history as an herbal supplement to treat colds, flu, and sinus infections.
Many reputable sources list the merits of elderberry extract, but it may help shorten the duration of symptoms. Although, users should realize that it cannot prevent colds or COVID. Scientists agree that more research is necessary before we realize elderberry's full healing potential.
You can take elderberries as a juice, syrup, or supplement. Elderberry tea is also a great way to enjoy its benefits. Avoiding raw elderberries and the plant's bark and leaves is the best action.
These parts of the plant are poisonous. Make sure to cook elderberries thoroughly before consuming them. As always, practice caution and care.
Saying that vitamin C is crucial for our body's healing process is an understatement. This potent antioxidant helps our bodies form and maintain connective tissue, including bones, blood vessels, and skin. It's useful when recovering from injuries and surgical wounds. A 2022 study suggests that high levels of vitamin C can speed up healing and reduce pain.
It’s also a solid natural remedy for allergies. You can get a daily dose of the vitamin from your fridge. Try eating:
- Bell Peppers
Vitamin C is water-soluble, so your body doesn't store it. This means you'll need a regular supply from your balanced diet. Speaking of antioxidants, let's talk about their role in recovery.
Antioxidants are powerful compounds that we need to protect our cells against free radical damage. Since these unstable molecules are everywhere, our bodies are constantly fighting against oxidative stress and disease. Oxidative stress can increase inflammation, slow healing, and make illnesses worse.
A diet rich in antioxidants can improve recovery from an injury or illness. Fortunately, Mother Nature thought ahead and provided many antioxidant foods for this occasion. When trying to find high-quality antioxidant foods, you can stick to:
- Dark Chocolate
- Green Tea
- Olive Oil
Green tea contains catechins, which are its primary potent antioxidant. Catechins prevent several cancers. Research shows they have anti-viral and anti-aging properties too.
Mushrooms are also experiencing explosive popularity for their anti-inflammatory properties. They are low-calorie and a dietary source of selenium. These fungi also contain D vitamins, copper, and potassium, all of which fight against oxidative stress.
Also, mushrooms are delicious and have an umami flavor that deepens the taste of every dish. Some research mentions heavy antioxidant intake can have a pro-oxidant effect and cause harm.
Turmeric, known as the golden spice, is a centuries-old medicine that gets its healing properties from curcumin. According to Healthline, curcumin is a home remedy for inflammation. People use turmeric for many issues.
It can fast-track healing by reducing inflammation in the body. Turmeric is also helpful in managing arthritis and heart disease because it tackles oxidative stress. You can add turmeric to your meals, drink turmeric tea, or take supplements.
In men, turmeric can help with hormonal imbalance. In studies involving men with metabolic syndrome, researchers found that taking regular turmeric supplements noticeably improved testosterone levels. Other sources point to turmeric's benefits for muscle recovery.
Studies show that curcumin has the potential to combat the buildup of lactic acid. Researchers studied the effects of curcumin on exercise recovery in healthy, fit males aged 18-35 years. The study suggests that turmeric may shorten the return to exercise training and enable higher training intensity.
Always pair turmeric with black pepper or a fat source to enhance curcumin absorption in the body.
Other Plant-Based Remedies
Make no mistake; we have only scratched the surface of home remedies for anxiety, stress, and inflammation. Personalized care for physical and mental issues requires custom treatments. Here are more plant-based therapies for those who need them:
- Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil, sourced from tea tree leaves, is a powerful antiseptic with antimicrobial properties. Cultures have used it for centuries to heal cuts, wounds, and skin conditions like acne. Remember to dilute it to avoid skin irritation.
- Lavender: Another herbal remedy known for its soothing fragrance, is a common source of essential oils. Studies cite growing evidence that it can treat mental issues, anxiety, allergies, and insomnia. It can aid in wound healing, mainly burns, due to its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
- Aloe Vera: This plant has a long history of treating various skin conditions. We know that the plant also has about 75 potentially active healing compounds. These include vitamins, enzymes, minerals, sugars, lignin, saponins, salicylic, and amino acids.
Managing your health takes effort and sometimes a little extra help. While natural medicine can't replace medical treatment, it can complement it. Still, other factors like stress are a contributor to many mental health conditions.
Let's tackle some natural ways you can practice better mental health.
Natural Remedies for Anxiety: Mental Tactics for Healing
There are many natural medicines for anxiety, depression, and other medical conditions that stem from inflammation or oxidative stress. The following techniques can help manage those conditions.
- Deep Breathing: Deep breathing exercises can reduce anxiety by altering the body's stress response. Take a deep breath through your nose, allowing your chest and lower belly to expand as your lungs fill. Then, you exhale slowly out of your mouth.
- Grounding Techniques: Grounding techniques help you stay present and detach from emotional distress. Common methods include '5-4-3-2-1': spot five things you can see, touch four things, hear three things, smell two things, and taste one thing. Grounding can be helpful during panic attacks.
- Meditation: Meditation is a practice that promotes relaxation, focus, and clarity. It can help reduce anxiety, stress, depression, and pain and improve sleep. Techniques vary, but most involve focusing on your breath, a word, a phrase, or visuals. Just a few minutes a day can make a significant difference.
Among these mental health practices, remember that a healthy mind is only part of the process. Regular exercise and nutrition are also necessary for good mental and physical health. Yet many people still overlook one crucial element of better health: hydration.
Hydration and Your Health
Water, often termed the elixir of life, is pivotal for optimal health and promoting recovery. Drinking water ensures smooth bodily functions, including circulation, digestion, absorption, and excretion. Imagine your body as a river, and picture the water as the life force that keeps everything flowing smoothly.
If the river dries up, everything becomes stagnant, and the ecosystem suffers. Similarly, our bodies can't perform at their best when dehydrated. For instance, water cushions our joints, keeps our skin glowing, and helps us stay focused.
Also, staying hydrated aids in quick recovery by delivering essential nutrients to the cells and flushing out toxins. It also serves as a natural remedy for headaches and fatigue. So, keep your river flowing by drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day.
It's worth noting that no remedy, natural or otherwise, is a magic bullet. Your body is a complex system that needs holistic care. Still, embracing natural remedies can be a great adjunct in your journey towards better health.
At Reflect, we understand the power of nature's offerings and have harnessed it in our supplements. We invite you to learn more about them and see if they are right for you. Also, stay informed and proactive about your health by visiting our blog.
Remember, a healthier outlook on life starts with hydration, nutrition, and movement.