Foods To Help Heal Broken Bones
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.
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
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
Method of Preparation
Sliced fresh; juiced
Steamed; in soups
Steamed; in omelettes, stir frys
Fresh; steamed; juiced
Avoid blood clots
Heal broken bones
Heal broken bones
Fresh; juiced; cooked
Fresh; juiced; cooked
Appropriate Food Choices
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 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
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
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?
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
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 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:
- chopping comfrey and mixing it with scrambled eggs for breakfast'
- juicing comfrey with fresh green peas to make a cool, refreshing drink, and
- adding comfrey to salads.
- Plus applying it directly to his leg as a comfrey poultice.
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
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 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.
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?
Home Grown 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
How often do you choose nature's remedies instead of commercial pharmaceuticals?
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
More About Healing Broken Bones
- How to Use Comfrey to Help Heal Broken Bones
I used comfrey to help my husband's broken ankle heal in record time. Here's how to make a comfrey poultice for broken bones and how to apply it. Illustrated guide.
- How to Reduce Swelling Fast Around a Broken Ankle
The natural remedy I applied quickly reduced the swelling around my husband's broken ankle and allowed doctors to operate three days earlier than normal. He was home before most people reach surgery!!
- Broken Ankle 5 Days After Surgery
5 days after surgery to insert a plate and screws to repair my husband's broken ankle, we had a chance to assess the scars, swelling and bruising. First photo after broken ankle surgery.
- Arthritis Pain and Swelling ~ Natural Remedy for Relief
Arthritis pain and swelling in fingers and knees made my life miserable until I tried a 100% natural remedy. Here's my natural healing experience. No more arthritis, pain or swelling for me!
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