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Foods To Help Heal Broken Bones

Updated on February 14, 2017
LongTimeMother profile image

Just 3 months after surgery on his broken ankle to insert plates and screws, LTM's husband was back on his feet—without needing crutches.

When my husband broke his ankle I researched and selected foods to help heal broken bones quickly, and included them in his diet. Doctors had warned he'd likely be off work for about a year. Everyone had a story about friends who were slow to recover. But my husband was in a hurry to heal, so a healing diet became part of our recovery strategy.

Just 3 months after surgery inserting plates and screws to repair his broken ankle, my husband was back at work. He continued eating foods to help heal broken bones for a few more months, determined to make his ankle as strong as possible.

I am happy to share my experience with foods and herbs that help heal broken bones faster, in the hope that others benefit.  :)
I am happy to share my experience with foods and herbs that help heal broken bones faster, in the hope that others benefit. :) | Source

Best Foods To Help Heal Broken Bones

I began writing this article a little over one week after my husband's accident and the operation on his broken ankle, when I was busy choosing foods with a focus on healing broken bones.

Because foods are an important part of nature's medicine chest, I was searching for information about the best foods to help heal his fractured tibia and the broken bones in his ankle. He wanted his broken bones to heal fast — and he hated the pain-killers the hospital gave him.

I have always chosen natural and alternative healing methods. So it made sense to look for the best foods to heal broken bones. Plus foods to address other issues associated with recovering from breaks and fractures.

Foods To Help With Healing

This light meal includes comfrey, peas and other healing greens, blended then cooked with an egg. Sprinkled with balsamic vinegar, this dish looks and tastes like a simple salad but includes some of nature's best remedies for healing broken bones.
This light meal includes comfrey, peas and other healing greens, blended then cooked with an egg. Sprinkled with balsamic vinegar, this dish looks and tastes like a simple salad but includes some of nature's best remedies for healing broken bones. | Source

How To Heal A Broken Ankle Faster

When he first broke his ankle and had surgery we were warned by his surgeon that it could take one year — or even two — before his ankle was healed enough to return to work. That was terrible news for my husband. He hates sitting around doing nothing, so he wanted his broken ankle to heal faster.

  • I trust you'll be pleased to hear he was back at work (rugged outdoor work, not a desk job) just three months after his accident. Much faster than his doctors predicted!

How much of his healing is due to the foods I chose based on their reputation for healing bones? I don't know. But I do know he healed fast and effectively, and if you have broken bones I urge you to try including as many of these foods in your own diet as you can.

Here is the information I share with my friends and family about the foods I favored in his diet to help heal his broken ankle faster.

Best Foods For Healing Bones ~ My Choice

Choice
Method of Preparation
Medicinal value
Avocado
Sliced fresh; juiced
Lubricate joints
Onions
Steamed; in soups
Strengthen bones
Pumpkin
Steamed; soups;
Bone strength
Spinach
Steamed; in omelettes, stir frys
Bone strength
Peas
Fresh; steamed; juiced
Avoid blood clots
Zucchini
Juiced; cooked
Heal broken bones
Comfrey
Juiced; cooked
Heal broken bones
Fennel
Fresh; juiced; cooked
Aid digestion
Parsley
Fresh; juiced; cooked
Avoid constipation
These are the key foods I added to my husband's diet to help heal his fractured tibia and broken ankle bones.

Appropriate Food Choices

Greens to add to soup, and avocado to spread on toast. To reap medicinal qualities, start with fresh foods, home-grown if possible. I grow my own comfrey, peas and fennel but my climate does not accommodate growing avocados.
Greens to add to soup, and avocado to spread on toast. To reap medicinal qualities, start with fresh foods, home-grown if possible. I grow my own comfrey, peas and fennel but my climate does not accommodate growing avocados. | Source

Avocado

This might seem an unusual choice to put at the top of my list, but avocados are delicious and my husband enjoys eating them.

The fat in avocado provides natural lubrication for our joints, important for a broken ankle, so I included one avocado in his meals every day.

Whenever I plan a diet to address a specific health issue, I am careful to make the changes as attractive as possible. Nobody likes being restricted to eating boring foods.

Onions

Onions deserve a place on your dinner plate every night, whether or not you have broken bones because onions are anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antiviral.

The onion studies that interest me most at this time, however, are those relating to the compound in onions that inhibit the activity of the type of cells (osteoclasts) that have a negative effect on the strength of bones.

Because bone integrity and strength are so important for anyone who has experienced a fracture, I made sure my husband ate lots of onions while his broken bones were healing.

Anyone restricted to bed while waiting for broken bones and ankle surgery to heal should be happy to eat lots of onions.

Onions Help Strengthen Bones

The stronger the taste of the onion, the stronger the effect on your body.
The stronger the taste of the onion, the stronger the effect on your body. | Source

Pumpkin

A number of studies have reported positive links between dietary potassium and healthy bone mineral density. My understanding is that high-potassium foods help prevent the removal of calcium from the bones.

Pumpkin is very high in potassium and vitamin A. It is easy on the digestive system, is a good source of fiber, and is low in calories.

For all these reasons, pumpkin is on my bone healing diet list.

I prepare pumpkin with a little olive oil or coconut oil added because the carotenoids in pumpkin need fat for absorption. Some people prefer to add butter.

Quick and Easy Meal To Help Heal Broken Bones Faster

Pieces of fresh organic pumpkin added to onion with a splash of olive oil.
Pieces of fresh organic pumpkin added to onion with a splash of olive oil. | Source
Cooked until soft, I blend the vegetables while still in the pot.
Cooked until soft, I blend the vegetables while still in the pot. | Source
Topped with chopped chives also grown organically in my vegetable garden, this is a quick and easy meal to help broken bones heal faster.
Topped with chopped chives also grown organically in my vegetable garden, this is a quick and easy meal to help broken bones heal faster. | Source

Spinach And Other Greens

Spinach provides a treasure chest of nutrients. Because it is a brilliant source of vitamin K, vital for building strong bones, spinach is also on my list of best foods for healing broken bones faster.

  • Vitamin K activates osteocalcin, a compound that anchors molecules of calcium within bone.
  • Because spinach is also a source of calcium, I believe it provides a perfect package for healing broken bones.
  • Half a cup of fresh spinach leaves can provide 100% of the daily value of vitamin K.

Half a cup of fresh spinach leaves is not hard to work into at least one meal a day.


Can You Move Around The Kitchen?

iWALK2.0 Hands Free Crutch
iWALK2.0 Hands Free Crutch

If you want your hands free while you move around the kitchen, go grocery shopping, walk into the garden to pick your herbs, or carry your plate to the table, take a look at this hands-free crutch. My husband hates the inconvenience of traditional crutches ... and I grew tired of being the only who could carry the firewood, carry mugs of coffee, pick the pumpkins etc when he wasn't allowed to put weight on his ankle. If you live alone, you'll want to be conveniently mobile.

 

Fresh Green Peas

Common garden peas provide calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, potassium, vitamin A, niacin, vitamin C and magnesium.

Most importantly, fresh green garden peas are acknowledged as a remedy to prevent blood clots.

When instructed to stay in bed and immobile for a few weeks, it is important to prevent the formation of blood clots so I included fresh green peas in his daily diet. (When it comes to thinning blood, I much prefer to rely on green peas than the listed side effects associated with a daily dose of Asprin.)

To add a little variety to his otherwise boring life while his bones were healing, I began preparing peas in new and innovative ways. I made fresh pea juice, and we were both surprised by how nice it tasted.

I also took some frozen peas from the freezer, ran them under some water to soften them a little, then put them through my Vitalmax juicer and made a 'pea sorbet' or 'pea icecream' (without the dairy element.) The texture was really pleasant and I joked about serving it in an ice cream cone in days to come.

All jokes aside, had he become seriously tired of peas served daily in soups or steamed or juiced, I probably would have served him peas as a dessert. :)

NZ Green-Lipped Mussels

We can buy New Zealand's Green Lipped Mussels in our local supermarket. Plain or with garlic or chilli. If you can't get them fresh, take capsules with your meals.
We can buy New Zealand's Green Lipped Mussels in our local supermarket. Plain or with garlic or chilli. If you can't get them fresh, take capsules with your meals. | Source

New Zealand's Green-Lipped Mussels

I've written other articles about some of the many ways New Zealand's Green-Lipped Mussels (sometimes called Green-Shelled) have come to our rescue. If you can buy them fresh (or freshly packaged in the refrigerated section of your supermarket), include them in your diet.

They are anti-inflammatory, and have a natural pain-killing quality. Plus they can be used for replacing any chondroitin and glucosamine products you may currently be buying. Chondroitin is a major constituent of cartilage and other connective tissue. Glucosamine is a crystalline compound found in healthy connective tissue. So both obviously have a significant role in healing broken ankles.

If you can't find fresh green-lipped mussels, buy a bottle of Mobicosa capsules and include a couple each day with your meals. They are made from 100% New Zealand green-lipped mussels. Take them with food. And of course you won't take them if you are allergic to seafood.

Comfrey

Large fresh comfrey leaves from my organic garden. Comfrey is also known as 'knit bone' so it is definitely an ideal ingredient in meals to heal broken bones.
Large fresh comfrey leaves from my organic garden. Comfrey is also known as 'knit bone' so it is definitely an ideal ingredient in meals to heal broken bones. | Source

Comfrey

Comfrey is a herb I grow throughout my garden to use mainly as a mulch and food for my plants. It is a great aid in the garden.

It is also a particularly useful plant for healing broken bones. Its traditional name is 'knit bone' because it can be used as a poultice externally, or eaten and digested to help heal bones.

To help speed up his healing, I was:

It also featured in soups and curries and the occasional stir fry.

My comfrey dies down with the first frosts of our local winter, but in even in winter I still have small leaves growing fresh in pots and a few protected areas in the garden, plus I can always dig up some comfrey root if I need it.

Since my husband broke his ankle, I now dry and store some of my best comfrey leaves each season and keep them in a jar for future use.

Highly Recommended For Healing Broken Bones

Fresh zucchini provides calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and sodium to help mend broken bones.
Fresh zucchini provides calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and sodium to help mend broken bones. | Source

Zucchini

Years ago I bought a book called Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Healing Juices. It recommended juicing Zucchini Squash to 'help knit bones together in a shorter period of time'.

I have mentioned this remedy to a number of people with fractures over the years. But this is the first time any of my family members have had this type of accident since I learned that zucchini's balance of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and sodium is ideal for mending broken bones.

Zucchini juice and cooked zucchini both made it on my short list of foods for healing. When I prepared his first zucchini juice, my husband drank it without complaint. He said it tasted fine.

Juices For Healing!

Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Healing Juices
Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Healing Juices

Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Healing Juices is one of the books in my personal library, and is an excellent source of information. For instance, this is where I learned about the value of zucchinis for healing broken bones.

 

Fennel

Because fennel is traditionally used to soothe the gut and relieve gas, it seems a logical addition to the daily diet of anyone with limited mobility.

Fennel can aid the digestion of any meal. If you have previously been constantly active but are suddenly forced to remain immobile while waiting for your bones to heal, fennel can help your body cope with the change.

Do You Grow Your Own Medicinal Herbs?

I grow plenty of fennel. Fennel aids digestion which is useful during the recovery stage while bones are healing.
I grow plenty of fennel. Fennel aids digestion which is useful during the recovery stage while bones are healing. | Source

Home Grown Parsley

I like it when a medicine looks as tasty as this!
I like it when a medicine looks as tasty as this! | Source

Parsley

Parsley might seem like an unusual choice for healing broken bones, but parsley has a lot of medicinal qualities. I am particularly interested in parley's role as a gentle laxative.

Despite being told he should take two Endone tablets every four hours for pain management, my husband was only taking one tablet at night — a reduction of 11 painkillers daily. Still, he was determined to avoid the constipation problem associated with earlier attempts at pain management (mentioned in my earlier hub 'Broken Ankle - photos after surgery') which makes parsley a useful food for anyone choosing foods to help heal broken bones.

Parsley builds blood, helps renew tissues, and has anti-inflammatory properties. It helps kidney function and is believed to help protect against bacterial growth in wounds.

We nibble on fresh herbs every day so my husband is happy to eat a handful of parsley leaves fresh from the garden, but I included parsley as an ingredient to also be added to fresh juice until such time as he no longer required any pain management at all.

Parsley's Gentle Role

Parsley has many advantages ... including being much easier to grow in the garden than prunes, another natural laxative.
Parsley has many advantages ... including being much easier to grow in the garden than prunes, another natural laxative. | Source

Healing yourself

How often do you choose nature's remedies instead of commercial pharmaceuticals?

See results

Herbal Tea ~ No Coffee!

A lot has been written about the effects of coffee on the body over recent years, but the point that interests me most when choosing foods for healing broken bones is that caffeine can pull calcium out of bones.

Because calcium actively contributes to healing broken bones, coffee is off the menu.

Herbal teas are far more helpful for strengthening bones.


My husband's broken ankle

Natural remedies have had a very positive effect on my husband's broken ankle.
Natural remedies have had a very positive effect on my husband's broken ankle. | Source

Healing Broken Bones At Home

Most accidents and injuries resulting in bone injuries require a visit to a doctor, and perhaps a stay in hospital. However the majority of the time recovering from a broken ankle is spent at home. Days, weeks or months in bed or on the couch.

There's often a restriction on the type of activities that can be undertaken with a broken ankle, and exercises may require the active participation of a physical therapist. But there are still things we can do at home to help heal broken bones and hopefully speed up recovery.

One of the best ways to promote healing in the human body is to choose appropriate foods with appropriate medicinal qualities.

By including all the foods listed in his diet while he was recovering at home, my husband had great success and healed much faster than expected. He was back on his feet, able to walk and able to work outside, just three months after surgery inserting plates and screws to support his broken ankle.

I hope my choice of the best foods to help heal broken bones also helps you heal faster. Good luck.

© 2013 LongTimeMother

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    • Randy M. profile image

      Randy McLaughlin 3 years ago from Liberia, Costa Rica

      Awesome compilation! Kudos!

    • Que Scout profile image

      Stephen Hodgkinson 3 years ago from Sydney Australia

      Hi Longtimemother

      I sure hope your husband heals in good time. I was fascinated by some of the foods and their benefits. I thought, ow yea, she will discuss calcium but I did not think I would see such detail about calcium. I do not have broken bones but I did learn an awful lot about what blocks calcium or or what promotes the formation. Like the pumpkin's potassium link to calcium.

      I am so glad you did not mention milk. Most think of milk for broken bones when in fact the stuff is virtually useless for those of the age of 7.

      I swear I am learning more on hubpages than in school. Thanks

    • LongTimeMother profile image
      Author

      LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

      Thanks, Randy M. I figure it might be useful for others in a similar situation who don't share my level of interest in foods and research. Might as well spell it out. :)

    • LongTimeMother profile image
      Author

      LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

      Hi Que Scout. I have no idea how many people would actively change their diet to help heal their broken bones. I might have just wasted a few hours, but at least I've put the info out there.

      Happy to hear I am contributing to your education in the process. lol.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I love my veggies, so I will always eat them. Sadly I have no land for a garden, and I really do miss it. I have spoken to the natural food store, and at my suggestion, will begin carrying both mobicosa capsules and gel. Lots of arthritics out there that would appreciate a healthier alternative.

    • LongTimeMother profile image
      Author

      LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

      Hi aviannovice. You have done your community a great service by making Mobicosa products available locally. Perhaps your natural food store might like to print a copy of the text in my Mobicosa review and display it in their window so customers can see the ways the capsules and gel can help. If they stick an 'available here' sign on it I'm sure they'll gain a lot of interest. (They could also display my first broken ankle hub about Mobicosa's success with the swelling if they like. I'm happy to help them spread the word.)

      Such a shame you don't have land for a garden. Do you have room for a few fresh herbs growing in pots on your windowsill? No point trying to grow comfrey there, of course. lol. The leaves grow so big they'd fill the kitchen sink! :)

    • LongTimeMother profile image
      Author

      LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

      PS aviannovice, I trust you'll keep a bottle of mobicosa gel in your own fridge for emergencies. You could split the contents into separate sealable plastic bags and share it around with your family and friends. :)

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

      Thank you so much for sharing this--I also believe in nature's medicine chest--it is so good to know that I eat much of this already on a regular basis--I am a vegetarian and have always loved veggies to the exclusion of proteins--

    • StephanieBCrosby profile image

      Stephanie Bradberry 3 years ago from New Jersey

      I have some comfrey drying in my basement right now. Someone I met while vending my herbal product line figured I could use the comfrey more than her. And she said she had an overabundance. So I plan on turning it into comfrey oil. It is such an amazing healer. However, we tend not to tell people to use it internally because it can cause issues. So I use it for external use only as an herbalist.

      Great hub and great details on the uses of all these natural wonders.

    • LongTimeMother profile image
      Author

      LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

      Hi Stephanie. Maybe you could plant a little of that root and grow your own comfrey for future harvesting. :)

    • LongTimeMother profile image
      Author

      LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

      Thanks, Audrey. My husband is a vegetarian. He had a bone density test when he was 50 and the results showed he had the bone density of a 30 year old, which surprised the doctor because he anticipated problems. :)

    • profile image

      Asian Gal 2 years ago

      Thanks for sharing. I have a broken ankle 5 months ago, did not want surgery so I am still in pain. I am in Asia and we don't have comfrey here. So I have no clue what is comfrey. Is there any other althernative to prepare a poultice?

    • LongTimeMother profile image
      Author

      LongTimeMother 2 years ago from Australia

      Hello Asian Gal. Comfrey is native in temperate parts of western Asia. If you ask around locally, you might be able to find some. If you follow this link https://healdove.com/alternative-medicine/How-to-u... it will take you to my article about using comfrey as a poultice. It also has a link there to buy pre-made comfrey products.

      Hopefully eating some of the foods I suggested in the above article might help your bones heal and thus relieve your pain. My husband had surgery because the bones were badly broken and unable to line up and heal without help. If your surgeon has xrays that show your bones are unable to heal without surgery, you should have the surgery first and then try healing. Five months is a long time to be in pain.

      Good luck.

    • profile image

      pk 2 years ago

      thanks for your time to post such an informative article

    • LongTimeMother profile image
      Author

      LongTimeMother 2 years ago from Australia

      Thank you pk. If you have a broken bone, I hope these hints aid your healing. :)

    • profile image

      Richa 17 months ago

      Thank u fr sharingthis article.. Thanx a tonn... :) :* :)

    • profile image

      jcatesby6 13 months ago

      Great article. I have so much Comfrey growing for mulch, chooks, poultices, etc. I have just had bilateral hip replacements, would you recommend poultice on the wounds, it is 5 weeks since the operation?

    • LongTimeMother profile image
      Author

      LongTimeMother 13 months ago from Australia

      Hello jcatesby6. Let me start by saying I'm not a doctor (but you guessed that, no doubt,) And I've never had bilateral hip replacements (but you guessed that too, I'm sure.)

      However, because you grow your own comfrey, I think it is a great idea to use it. The big question of course is just what is expected after bilateral hip replacements? What exactly is it that you'd be trying to achieve?

      If you'd like to send me an email at longtimemother (at gmail) with your email address, I'll jot some thoughts and send them your way. :)

    • profile image

      Sammi 11 months ago

      My mom got into a bad motorcycle accident and fractured alot of her bones in her legs and her ribs and i hope these tops will help her heal faster so she can come home sooner. Thank you so muchfor posting these tips. Its exactly what we were looking for.

    • LongTimeMother profile image
      Author

      LongTimeMother 11 months ago from Australia

      Best wishes to you and your mother, Sammi. I also hope she gets home to you soon. It takes a while to recover from broken bones, but if you can prepare meals for her with these foods for healing broken bones the process may be faster. Good luck!

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