Ligaments and tendons are very important parts of the human body. These are dense connective tissues of the body that connect bones with the muscles and bones with the bones. A fibrous connective tissue that attaches a bone to a muscle is known as a tendon which also helps in the movement of the skeletal structure. A ligament is a connective fibrous tissue that attaches a bone to another bone. It also helps to hold the skeletal structure together and keep them stable. The proper functioning of the musculoskeletal system is possible when ligaments and tendons are in fine conditions.(1) The best way to get this is through diet.
Injuries in ligaments and tendons can be a very common affair. It often occurs in people who have a high index of physical activity. This is exactly why such injuries are really common for people who are into sports and other physically exhaustive activities. In order to strengthen your tendons and ligaments, your diet quality must be carefully planned.(2,3) In the course of this discussion, we will take a look at the diet program which can help you to strengthen your ligament and tendon health. It is important to look after the strength of these body parts as an injury to them can lead to really slow healing. hence proper nutrition for ligament and tendon can help you to keep such major injury and traumatic pain at bay.(3)
Diet for Strengthening Ligaments and Tendons
Proteins, vitamins, and minerals are the most essential elements you should have in your diet to strengthen your ligaments and tendons. Additionally, they can also help in the healing your injured tendons and ligaments. Let us look into details the different kinds of food that helps in strengthening the ligaments and tendons.
- Proteins: Protein is a nutrition component that is considered to be important for the general growth development and health of the body. When it comes to the development and strengthening of the ligaments and tendons, protein as a dietary element cannot be left out. Hence to look after the strength and proper growth of your ligament and tendon your diet must be considered rich in protein items. In order to provide your body with a regular supply of proteins, you must include animal proteins like fish, meat, dairy products, etc., in your diet regularly. Vegan items like whey, nuts, and legumes are also much rich in protein content.(4)
- Vitamin A: Vitamin A promotes the development of collagen in your body. Collagen is imperative for maintaining the proper health of your tendons and ligament and their proper functioning. The development of collagen is additionally helpful for the formation of cartilage and bones and their proper functioning. If you are looking to maintain a diet that is rich in vitamin A you need to include food items like mangoes, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, prunes, and kale in your diet.(2,4)
- Vitamin B Complex: B complex vitamins can be really helpful in repairing connective tissues that have been already damaged. This is a vitamin that is found in animal products like fish and meat, they are also found in a large array of vegetables and fruits like legumes, avocado, and spinach. Other food items like non-Dairy milk products and cereals are also rich in B complex vitamins.(1)
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is again considered to be a very important ingredient to maintain the health and strength of your ligaments and tendons. It helps in the production of collagen which not only strengthens your ligaments and tendons but can also help in repair once damaged. Citrus fruits like lime, lemon, and grapefruit are considered to be rich in vitamin C. You can also include other vegan items in your diet like peppers, kiwi, potatoes, and broccoli to get a regular intake of Vitamin C in considerable quantities.(5)
- Vitamin D: This is a nutritional item that is not only important for the regular development of the ligaments and tendons in the human body but at the same time it can also be elementally important in the repair and regeneration of damaged tendons and ligaments. If you are recovering and recuperating with a ligament or tendon injury you must ensure to provide yourself with a regular supply of vitamin D without which you are likely to experience very slow healing and recovery rate. Items like red meat, meat liver, oily fish like sardines, salmon, mackerel, egg yolks, cereals are rich in vitamin D.(6)
- Zinc rich Diet for Strengthening Ligaments and Tendons: Zinc is yet another nutritional element that is extremely important for strong ligaments and tendons. Food items like animal products, dairy products, legumes, nuts, and whole-grain products are rich in zinc. You must include them in your diet regularly.(4,5)
- Magnesium: Researches into the domain have clearly opined the fact that magnesium is yet another essential nutrient that is extremely imperative for proper tissue health. It helps in the repair and regeneration of tendons and this can be the mechanism continued for several years. If you are having a magnesium deficit diet then your body is likely to experience an increased level of tendon degeneration over the coming years. Food items like whole grains, green vegetables, seeds, nuts, dry beans, oat bran etc. are rich in magnesium.(2,4)
- Trace Minerals: Trace minerals will include minerals like zinc, magnesium, and copper in your diet which are required in very small amounts but they must be present in your diet. If these elements are removed from your diet for a very long time, they will not only harm the growth and development of your ligaments and tendons but the healing of injuries in such areas will also take a lot of time. This can affect your general wellbeing and health to a great extent.(2)
- Supplements for Strengthening Ligaments and Tendons: Often getting all these food and nutrient items from natural ingredients is not feasible. This is when you must depend on the supplement items. These are food supplement products that help you to get all the required food nutrients needed for your ligaments and tendons.(7)
On a concluding note, we have often heard the fact that a balanced diet is imperative for good health. It helps in the development of the body and its wear and tear. Since the ligaments and the tendons are a very important part of the body, a proper diet can also ensure their health and proper repair. You can consult a dietician and a nutritionist to understand your specific requirements depending on the deficits that your body has and take a diet to make sure that you are able to consume the food in the right amounts to strengthen your ligaments and tendons.
- Katherin Johana Quintero, Ayane de Sá Resende, Geovana Silva Fogaça Leite, Antonio Herbert Lancha Junior, An overview of nutritional strategies for recovery process in sports-related muscle injuries, Nutrire, 10.1186/s41110-018-0084-z, 43, 1, (2018).
- Cobley, J.N., McHardy, H., Morton, J.P., Nikolaidis, M.G., & Close, G.L. (2015). Influence of vitamin C and vitamin E on redox signaling: Implications for exercise adaptations. Free Radical Biology & Medicine, 84, 65–76. PubMed ID: 25841784 doi:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2015.03.018