First of all, what are ligaments and tendons and why is their health so important? In order to lift, exercise, and move freely, the tissues that connect organs to muscles, to bones, to cartilage, etc. must be healthy. Ligaments are the connecting tissue between bone and cartilage and joints. Tendons connect bone and muscle with flexible bands of tissue. As tough as they are, tendinitis, injuries, illness, or overuse can damage them. And though rest, physical therapy, and medical treatments help, eating the right foods is just as important in maintaining, treating or healing ligaments and tendons.
Flaxseed and Walnuts
Flaxseed and/or walnuts can be mixed into baked goods, yogurt, smoothies, cereals, and other dishes if need be – this will be good news for anyone that turned up their nose when they saw the word ‘flaxseed’. Snacking on nuts, however, is not usually a hardship for most of us. With flaxseed, users should grind it as soon as possible after purchase – definitely within 24 hours – and then simply store the rest of it in the fridge until you need it. Your joints, tendons, and ligaments are under strain every day, particularly if you carry around even a couple of extra pounds. Flaxseed, due to its fiber content, may help cut back on your appetite by enhancing satiation. Omega-3 fatty acids – we’ve all heard about how good those are for us – will be supplied through the consumption of walnuts.
Here we go again with the omega-3 fatty acids – thing is, our bodies really need this to stay healthy. Fish is another great source of healthy fats. Yes, there are ‘healthy fats’. Sardines, halibut, mackerel, flounder, lake trout, herring, albacore tuna, and salmon are all rich in omega-3 fats and the consumption of these have been determined to create an anti-inflammation diet of sorts. Of course, they are also good for heart health, but here we are focusing on tendon and ligament health. Studies have been done to promote the idea of diets specifically geared toward anti-inflammatory characteristics and they are, thus far, showing positive reinforcement for the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids to combat inflammation in ligaments, tendons, joints, and muscles.
Another beneficial source of vitamins and minerals that support tendon and ligament health are foods containing vitamin C. Vitamin C can be found in modest amounts in potatoes (with skin), cauliflower, and cabbage. Better sources of vitamin C are green/red bell peppers, brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach, and tomato products. There is, in fact, more vitamin C in one serving of red bell peppers than there is in other vegetables and fruits commonly associated with being great sources of vitamin C.
In addition to colorful fruits providing the antioxidant vitamin C, they are also a good source of minerals and other vitamins. Papaya, mangoes, guava, cherries, black currants, kiwi, strawberries, grapefruit, and of course, oranges, are all amazing sources of vitamin C. Not only does the consumption of vitamin C assist in maintaining healthy ligaments and tendons, it helps protect the body against disease and infections by strengthening the immune system.
Anyone wishing to find out more about how to strengthen ligaments and tendons, keep them healthy, or the rehabilitation of them should check out our TAP website for suggestions, classes, and an expert evaluation. Contact us today for information!