You don’t normally think to go to the chiropractor to get dietary advice. In fact, to most people’s ears, chiropractic and dietary advice sound pretty far apart, and sound like they don’t have anything in common.

The reality, though, is that proper nutrition plays a major role in the healing process. In fact, according to a recent survey, 80 percent of the chiropractors who responded indicated that they did indeed provide some form of nutritional counseling as part of their service, with half of the respondents indicating that they considered proper diet to be a crucial part of their overall treatment plan.

While it’s true that everyone’s dietary needs are different, there are a few general guidelines that are healthy and highly recommended, no matter who you are. Here are a few key points to remember:

• Your gut health impacts your overall level of health. Did you know that your own cells are a minority in your body? You’re outnumbered by bacteria by a factor of at least 10:1. Most of those bacteria are beneficial and do an amazing number of things including helping to regulate your sleep cycle, helping to digest your food and bolstering your immune system, which facilitates healing.

Given this reality, probiotics are a vital part of any healthy diet. Some foods are especially powerful probiotics, including fermented foods (sauerkraut and kimchi), and yogurt. If you like either of these, eat them in whatever quantity you like, guilt free. They help to foster the “good” bacteria in your body, and crowd out the bad ones.

• The Mediterranean Diet is a great thing to consider. People in this part of the world are healthier and live longer than just about everyone else on the planet, and their diet plays a major role in this. It’s heavy on fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and light on meat. That makes it significantly different than the standard American diet, which places meat at center stage with the rest playing a supporting role.

• Stay away from High Fructose Corn Syrup. This stuff is used by big companies as a sugar substitute because it’s cheaper. It’s also incredibly toxic and just awful for you, providing nothing in the way of nutritional value. Avoiding HFCS means reading some food labels, but it’s well worth the effort to do so, your body will thank you for it!

The bottom line is that proper diet helps you heal from any injury more quickly by giving your body the raw materials to facilitate that healing.