What Helps Tendons & Ligaments Heal Faster?
Tendons and ligaments are vital for movement and movement is a key component of a healthy lifestyle.
What you eat and drink affects how you feel and how well you perform in your daily activity and in life. When you are working to achieve your health and fitness goals, it is essential to have a solid fueling program.
Tendons and ligaments make up the vital parts of your musculoskeletal system. Both tendons and ligaments are made of denser and more fibrous tissues than muscles, called collagen and elastin. However, unlike muscles, they are not very elastic and don’t have a lot of space to stretch.
Tendons provide an anchor for your muscles to connect to your bones so that your muscle contractions can make movements of the bones of your skeleton, while ligaments attach neighbouring bones (bones to bones) to keep the skeleton intact. You could consider ligaments and tendons as the support wires that connect bone to bone and muscle to bone, allowing the body to move wherever and whenever you want while keeping everything aligned in the right way. Every muscle has a tendon and every joint has at least one ligament.
Your fueling plan majorly affects your tendons and ligament health, and getting enough of several vital nutrients helps keep these tissues functional and healthy.
Best Foods for Tendon Strength
- Protein: Protein is one of the essential nutrients for your tendons and ligaments. Collagen helps to make your tissues strong, while the protein elastin in ligaments gives elasticity. Protein from your diet lets your body produce new collagen and elastin to help keep your tendons and ligaments strong. As an active person, you might need 0.5-0.75 gm of protein per pound of your bodyweight – like you will need between 100-150 gm daily if you weigh 200 pounds – and for more professional athletes with a higher training load sometimes the needs can even go up to 200 gm (1 gram per pound).
Good Sources of Protein: lean poultry, meat, fish, eggs, lentils, beans and high protein dairy products like Greek yoghurt. It’s best for you to divide protein throughout the day at each of your meals and snacks, to optimize the absorption of the amino acids in the body.
- Vitamin C: Tendons and ligaments also need vitamin C, a nutrient which is found in several vegetables and fruits, because both tissues consist of large amounts of collagen. Vitamin C plays a vital role in new collagen production, and a deficiency of Vitamin C can weaken your tendons and ligaments by preventing collagen synthesis. Try to consume at least 90mg of Vitamin C daily, which is very easy to get with a diet rich in vegetables and fruit.
Good Sources of Vitamin C: strawberries, red bell peppers, grapefruits, oranges, broccoli, and tomatoes.
- Vitamin E: Vitamin E decreases inflammation and may help to reduce tendonitis.
Good Sources of Vitamin E: wheat germ, fatty fish, nuts, olive oil, and eggs.
- Vitamin A: Vitamin A is essential for cell division, collagen renewal, tissue repair, and vision. This vitamin enhances the elasticity of collagen, maintaining the strength of tendons and ligaments.
Good Sources of Vitamin A: eggs, leafy greens, fatty fish, and yellow and orange colour vegetables.
- Minerals: Eating foods high in essential minerals also helps to maintain healthy tendons and ligaments. Tendons consist of small amounts of calcium and manganese, as well as the trace mineral, copper. Calcium helps to maintain healthy bones, helping to prevent bone disorders that could interfere with the function of tendons and ligaments. Consume 1,000 mg of calcium and do remember that Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium.
Good Sources of Calcium: dairy products, dark leafy greens, tofu, and fortified products.
Good Sources of Manganese: lentils, pineapple and chickpeas.
Good Sources of Copper: seeds and nuts.
- Omega-3 fatty acids
After an injury, the first phase of wound healing always needs some inflammation which is beneficial and needed for proper healing.
However, if this inflammation remains too high for very long, it might slow down your recovery.
One method to prevent excess inflammation from delaying your recovery is to eat a good amount of omega-3 fats.
You can also prevent excess or prolonged inflammation by restricting your intake of omega-6 fats, which are usually found in corn, canola, soy, cottonseed, and sunflower oils.
Consuming too many omega-6 fats may enhance inflammation, especially if your intake of omega-3 fats is low.
Good sources of Omega 3 fatty acids: fish, algae, walnuts, flaxseed, and chia seeds.
Having strong tendons and ligaments is needed for the proper and smooth functioning of a joint. Strong tendons and ligaments also help to keep the joints strong and prevent any injuries.
For tendons and ligaments to be strong, the body needs to be refurbished with vitamins and minerals which not only help in the synthesis of protein but also facilitate the production of collagen which is vital for tendons and ligaments. The foods mentioned above need to be incorporated into the diet and will go a long way in making strong tendons and ligaments.