The effects of the party season on your injuries

Coming into the Christmas and New Year season the alcohol, sugar and junk food intake tends to increase. While we may think that only the waistline will be affected by increased alcohol, sugar and junk food intake it can also prolong your injury rehabilitation if your injury is inflammatory in nature.

Alcohol, sugar and omega-6 fats (as found in junk food such as burgers or chips) ingested over a prolonged period or in uncontrolled amounts have been found to increase inflammatory markers in the body and contribute to persistent inflammation. Some chronic conditions such as nerve root irritations (sciatica), tendinopathies and some rheumatoid conditions can also be perpetuated.

With any acute injury such as an ankle sprain alcohol should be avoided for the first 72 hours after injury as it will promote and heighten the inflammatory response. This can result in increased swelling, scar tissue formation and longer recovery.

Alcohol also has a dehydrative effect and slows recovery. Therefore if you have a heavy workout or match and drink afterwards, delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) can also be heightened and prolonged. Training with DOMS can be a precursor to injury and maximal improvements will not be achieved.

How You Can Counter This:
  • Try and shift the balance back to your advantage! Increasing natural anti-inflammatory foods rich in DHA omega 3 fats such as fish like salmon or herring, or a fish oil supplement
  • Opt for natural sweeteners such as stevia and honey and fruits such as berries and figs
  • Try and moderate alcohol consumption
  • Stay hydrated

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