Are you a Blink-182 fan? If so, you might already know about the deadly plane crash that their drummer, Travis Barker, barely survived. As a vegan, his skin wasn’t very responsive to the grafts he needed for his second- and third-degree burns. It wasn’t until he began a high-calorie/high-protein diet that the skin grafts worked.
This and other scenarios have caused a massive debate in the medical community. Some experts claim that red meats, cow’s milk, and other foods are better for the body. Other experts, however, call this old-fashioned thinking. Here’s what these experts believe about how a vegan diet can help your body heal itself.
The Protein Myth
One review in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition from 2013 found that milk protein is better than soy since it contains more of the 20 amino acids your body needs for muscle-protein synthesis. Neal Bernard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and associate professor of medicine at George Washington University, says otherwise.
Bernard argues that plants have more than enough protein for this process, citing massive and powerful vegan animals like bulls and elephants. If these animals can build mass and repair their muscles on a daily basis, then so can humans. In fact, broccoli contains more protein per calorie than a steak.
Part of your body’s healing process is fighting off inflammation. This process is vital to protecting your body, but too much inflammation is counterproductive. Barnard argues that adding in animals or animal byproducts can increase your levels of inflammation, while plants held to reduce it.
Of course, several studies show that animal products aren’t the only causes of increased inflammation. Some show that carbohydrates contribute more than meat, for instance. While plants do help, it takes more than just being vegan.
The Right Diet
Vegans, when dieting properly, must remain diligent about their protein and nutrient intake. Simply cutting out animal products isn’t enough. The close attention vegans pay to their diet can help them make the right choices and create a healthier body altogether.
Back to the protein, there are several studies that show this organic compound does play a vital role in healing the body. One 1998 study in the Journal of Burn Care and Research found that increasing protein intake helped burn victims increase body weight and muscle strength.
Another study from 2006 in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery saw recovery rates in male rats with bone fractures dramatically increase with proper protein intake. When vegans are getting their protein from strong plant sources, namely dark greens, their potential to heal is greater than that of a meat eater in most cases because their intake is greater.
While the jury is still out and more studies are needed, experts do agree that diet manipulation is an excellent way to speed up the healing process. Doctors working with catastrophic injury lawyers often adjust protein intake to help those clients heal. So, amp up your protein intake the next time you have an injury. Try it with meat, then try with just veggies the next time and see which is better for yourself.