The Best Foods to Promote Healing and Recovery | Caroline Lewis-Jones

The Best Foods to Promote Healing and Recovery | Caroline Lewis-Jones

The Best Foods to Promote Healing and Recovery | Caroline Lewis-Jones 

If you’re someone looking to improve your overall well-being, the food you eat plays a crucial role in how your body heals and recovers. Let’s dive into some of the best foods to include in your diet to support your body’s healing and recovery processes. Caroline Lewis-Jones takes us through her best tips and tricks, with Beyond the StEPS!


Colorful Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and promote healing. The more colorful your plate, the better! Here are some top picks:

Berries (Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries): High in antioxidants like vitamin C, which helps repair tissue.

Leafy Greens (Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard): Rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron and magnesium.

Cruciferous Vegetables (Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower): Contain sulfur compounds that support detoxification and reduce inflammation.

Bright Orange and Red Veggies (Carrots, Bell Peppers, Sweet Potatoes): Loaded with beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A, crucial for immune function and skin health.

"Really focus on color in general. Look for the salad that has the most color, and if not, add it to it."

Lean Proteins

Protein is essential for repairing tissues and building new ones. Aim to include a variety of lean proteins in your diet:

Chicken and Turkey: Great sources of lean protein and essential amino acids.

Fish (Salmon, Tuna, Mackerel): Packed with omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation and support heart health.

Plant-Based Proteins (Lentils, Chickpeas, Quinoa): High in fiber and nutrients, offering a great alternative for those who prefer plant-based diets.

"You have to pay attention to what feels good when it goes in. If it doesn't feel good going in and going out, then it's not the right answer."

Healthy Fats

Healthy fats are crucial for reducing inflammation and supporting brain health. Incorporate these into your meals:

Avocados: Rich in monounsaturated fats and vitamins E and C.

Nuts and Seeds (Almonds, Walnuts, Chia Seeds, Flaxseeds): Provide omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein.

Olive Oil: A staple in the Mediterranean diet, known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Whole Grains

Whole grains are a great source of complex carbohydrates and fiber, providing sustained energy and supporting gut health:

Quinoa: A complete protein that’s also gluten-free.

Brown Rice: Offers more fiber and nutrients than white rice.

Oats: Great for breakfast, providing long-lasting energy and supporting heart health.


Don’t forget about the importance of staying hydrated! Water is essential for every bodily function, including healing and recovery. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day, more if you’re active. You can also include hydrating foods like cucumbers, watermelon, and oranges.

Melissa shares that she enjoys having a water bottle with little reminders on when to drink your water, or a time stamp on the side of the bottle to keep you accountable for your daily hydration! 

Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices not only add flavor to your meals but also offer healing benefits:

Turmeric: Contains curcumin, known for its powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Ginger:Helps reduce inflammation and soothe the digestive system.

Garlic:Boosts the immune system and has anti-inflammatory properties.

"We know that the more diversity of plants and color we have in our diet, the stronger our microbiome is, and our microbiome, is our gut health."

Practical Tips for Healing and Recovery

Meal Prep: Plan and prepare your meals ahead of time to ensure you have healthy options readily available.

Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how different foods make you feel. If something doesn’t sit well, make a note of it and adjust accordingly.

Stay Consistent: Building healthy habits takes time. Start with small changes and gradually incorporate more nutritious foods into your diet.

Rest and Hydrate: Ensure you get adequate sleep and hydration, as these are crucial for recovery.

"When you sleep, that's when your body heals and that's when you're going to perform at your best the next day."

Real Life Situations:

Traveling can be stressful nowadays, and trying to keep not only our bodies fueled for success, but our families as well, can seem like a daunting task. Caroline shares some tips on how to handle traveling like a pro, while keeping health and ease in mind.

Pack your own meals! Whether you're traveling by plane, train, or automobile, taking control of your food options can make all the difference in staying healthy on the go. Here's how you can apply Caroline's approach to your own life:

  1. Plan Ahead: Before your trip, take some time to prepare nutritious meals and snacks that are easy to pack and carry. Think sandwiches, salads, fruits, nuts, and veggies with hummus.
  2. Pack Smart: Invest in quality lunch boxes or containers that are portable and easy to clean. Make sure each family member has their own stash of goodies to avoid any food envy or arguments!
  1. Avoid Airport Pitfalls: Airport food can be tempting, but it's often unhealthy and overpriced. By bringing your own meals, you'll save money and avoid the temptation of fast food places.
  2. Be Flexible: While it's essential to plan ahead, be prepared for unexpected delays or changes in schedule. Pack some extra snacks just in case, and don't stress if things don't go according to plan.

What are your favorite healthy-go-to-snacks, or do you have any tips you’d like to share with us? Let us know below in the comments! 

Remember, everyone's body is different, so it’s important to find what works best for you. Incorporating a variety of these nutrient-dense foods into your diet can help promote healing and support your overall health and well-being. Happy eating!

Read More about Caroline here!

Caroline Lewis-Jones from South Carolina, has been dancing for over 35 years. She is a mom of two little boys, married to her Hance, and is a certified Holistic Health Coach through IIN. She trained at The Southern Strutt under her mentor, Nancy Giles. At the age of 18 she moved to New York City where she performed professionally for six years.Although successful as a commercial dancer, her true passion lies within contemporary company work. She also choreographs for studios around the country, and teaches for Adrenaline Dance Convention and Verve The Intensive. Caroline also founded Unbound Dance Company in 2008 with Susan Dabney Hancock in Columbia, South Carolina. Her goal as Artistic Director of UNBOUND is to inspire and give dancers young and old,a new outlet to perform. Caroline also has a deep passion for inspiring healthy living and disease prevention. 15 years ago she joined a community called Health Made Simple and partnered with a company called Juice Plus. Her mission in life is to encourage and inspire healthy living around the world.  Her motto is if you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live? 

Watch our Beyond the StEPS Episode on: “The Best Foods to Promote Healing and Recovery” With our hosts Bri and Melissa, and special guest Caroline Lewis-Jones!

Continue your Education for yourself and your students with the StEPS Initiative Course!

About the StEPS Initiative Course

This course started in part with our charity event we created to save dance studios. Then we decided to keep it a free resource for the dance community. You can learn all about it below.

As part of our commitment to education and creating a safe space for all dancers, we are excited to introduce the StEPS Initiative Course. This has been curated by Apolla and donated from experts and professionals in each topic. 

Our goal in creating this course is to give dance teachers continuing education/professional development, give dancers the power of education, and provide parents the knowledge to see red flags. Each section has actionable items that can unite dance studios focused on equity and creating a safe space for every dancer. This course gives evidence-based information, some perspective & qualitative information, dance history, and further resources that can help you learn something new that helps progress and strengthen your studio OR solidify what you already have in place. There is something for everyone! 

This course is free for EVERYONE (Apolla has covered the cost and the presenters have donated the course content). These are meant to be introductions and actionable items for you. We know this is not a silver bullet to fix every issue or topic that needs to be addressed in dance. Each topic is deep and broad on its own. However, we aim for this to be the first step for some of us in these topics and even serves as a small catalyst for change in our industry. You will see there are also many resources that can allow you to expand your journey further in any of the subjects. With all that 2020 has thrown at all of us, we are determined to heal through listening, grow from adversity through action, and rise up by bringing everyone together. In the end, we will create a space open wide for the new generation of artists and athletes to ring in the new decade stronger and safer than ever!

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