Diet & Inflammation in the Body : The Connection between diet, physical therapy and the healing process

Heather Whiting DPT, CSCS

Heather Whiting DPT, CSCS

Diet & Inflammation in the Body 

with Heather Whiting, PT, DPT, CSCS, CFMT

Is there a connection between diet, physical therapy and the healing process?

There is a significant connection between what you consume into your body and the healing process. Your food is the building block and fuel for your body. You wouldn’t build a house with a crumbling concrete foundation, and consuming foods that lack nutritional value is the same when it comes to building a healthy body. In physical therapy, we are breaking down bad tissue and trying to rebuild healthy tissue and improve strength. The best way to aid this process is to eat foods that promote tissue growth and the laying down of muscle.

Which types of foods are best to reduce inflammation and promote recovery?

A few key nutrients and minerals can help decrease inflammation and promote a faster recovery. Vitamin C is important in the production of collagen in the body. Collagen is the building block for tendons, ligaments and muscles.  After an injury where these tissues have been damaged, vitamin C is good to consume to help improve collagen synthesis. Omega 3 rich foods are good to consume while in physical therapy due to its systemic anti-inflammatory properties. Concentrated cherry juice is another great systemic anti-inflammatory with its rich antioxidants, anthocyanin and melatonin. Magnesium helps with nerve conduction and muscle contraction, especially when used with vitamin D. Everyone these days seems to have a vitamin D deficiency and are put on large amounts of vitamin D supplements with very little improvement in blood work levels. Vitamin D cannot be converted without magnesium in the system so adding either magnesium supplements or magnesium rich foods to your diet will help with not only nerve conduction but also bone growth. Of course no new supplements or vitamins should be added or changed without your physician’s supervision.

Tell me a little bit about the difference between an acidic and alkaline pH?  

Your body is very sensitive to pH changes in the body and likes to stay at a comfortable 7.4 pH balance for optimal function. Our diets can throw off this balance and lead to impaired healing. A body that has a more acidic pH (<7.4) can have more joint pain, chronic fatigue and osteoporosis. Sounds like a lot of us, and that’s because our diets are filled with less fruits and veggies and more meats and dairy than we need. A more alkaline diet will bring your body back to our happy pH balance. The vast majority of the Westernized world is dealing with an acidic body and could benefit from a more alkaline diet.

Can you recommend any resources to find out more information about this?  

Some great resources on what foods are acidic and which are alkaline are: or

For more information on the role of diet and healing the body, Cheryl Wardlaw has written a great resource, Taming Pain: Lessons from the Trenches, that explains pain in a way everyone can understand.

Elite Health Services, located in Old Greenwich, CT is a world-class provider of certified functional manual physical therapy, personal fitness, golf & triathlon performance training, massage therapy and wellness related services.  Our team of highly skilled and dedicated professionals take a no-excuses approach to providing exceptional care, and delivering exceptional results. To learn more visit

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