In Western nutrition, foods are evaluated based on their caloric, carb, protein, fat, vitamin, and other nutritional contents. In Chinese Medicine every food has nature, movement and flavor. A food's nature is its effect on the temperature of the body. Thus, a food can be either hot, warm, neutral, cool or cold. Since Chinese Medicine works on the basis of restoring balance to the body, if someone suffers from a hot disease they should avoid hot foods and eat more cool and cold foods, and vice versa.
In Chinese medicine food is considered more than just substance; it contains therapeutic properties and is prescribed by TCM doctors. Foods are selected and prepared appropriately to tonify, cleanse and regulate the body. Whether something is good or bad for any individual person is entirely dependent upon that person's constitution. Therefore certain foods are unsuitable for consumption when you have a sports injury. These foods should be temporarily eliminated from your diet or strictly limited while the injury is still healing.
Cold foods slow the healing process. They tax the available energy by drawing on it to warm the food for assimilation. Cold causes contraction and coagulation, obstructing circulation and blocking the flow of blood. Therefore cold foods should be avoided with sinew injuries and in the earlier stages of fractures (you also should never ice your injuries)
Cold temperature foods such as iced drinks, ice cream, and fruit juices are particularly harmful, but foods that are classified as cooling such as shellfish, raw vegetables, and fruits, should also be avoided or limited until the injury heals. One common mistake that many people make is to eat large amounts of raw vegetables and fruits or juiced vegetables and fruits (read Are raw foods damaging your health?). Cooked vegetables are far more nutritious than raw vegetables. The cell walls of plaster incredibly strong and difficult for the human digestive system to break down. Cooking vegetables break down the nutritional components bound up in the cells of plants so that they can easily be absorbed and assimilated by our digestive systems.
In Chinese Medicine the astringent nature of sour foods tend to tone the sinews. This can be important in helping to restore the integrity of overstretched tendons and ligaments. However, in the early stages of sinew injuries sour foods are contraindicated. Their action of astringing and tightening the sinews can contribute to cramping and pain. Although we tend to think of fruits as being sweet, most fruits are also considered to be sour in nature, as well as energetically cold. Intake of fruits should be reduced when one is recovering from a tendon or ligament injury.
Before you start cutting out sour foods altogether, remember that the sour flavor also acts to tone or give integrity to organs and soft tissue, therefore they are a necessary part of a balanced diet. In fact, sour foods can be beneficial in cases where the tendons and ligaments are overstretched owing to chronic or repeated injury, thereby endangering the integrity of the joint. The traditional chinese dietary therapy for this situation is beef tendon cooked with vinegar. Beef nourishes the muscles and sinews while the vinegar help to string the soft tissue.
In Chinese Medicine spicy foods accelerate the circulation and push blood toward the surface of the body, therefore they should not be eaten in cases of injuries with large open wounds or after surgical procedures.
Shellfish tend to be cold and therefore restrict circulation and contribute to coagulation of the blood and fluids. Their consumption should be restricted when there is an injury to the sinews. There is also an other problem with shellfish: even the more nourishing shellfish such as oysters or mussels are traditionally prohibited when one is recovering from a sinew injury because they are considered to contain an element that interferes with the healing process. Once the injury is fully healed, shellfish can be consumed safely again.
Consume nourishing foods (soups, stews, bone broth) while recovering from an injury. Have plenty of protein to help replenish your stores from the blood loss, zinc to help with wound healing and turmeric to help with the inflammation.
Source: A tooth from the tiger's mouth by Tom Bisio