Tendons and ligaments are connective tissues and a part of our musculoskeletal system. Tendons connect bone to muscle and ligaments connect bone to bone. Any injury in these connective tissues might affect our movement.
A well-balanced diet is essential to keep our tendons & ligaments strong and healthy, especially for a person actively involved in any sport. They contain muscle fibres, hence made up of proteins. Most of the injuries of tendons and ligaments are observed in sports like football, cricket, basketball, volleyball, mixed martial arts, etc.
In this article, we will talk about some of the nutrients that keep our tendons and ligaments healthy. They reduce the risk of getting any injury and promotes early recovery during injuries.
1. Proteins - Our tendons and ligaments are made up of muscle fibre that requires protein. In addition, we also need collagen to provide elasticity and flexibility to these connective tissues. Hence, the diet should be rich in good quality protein-rich foods like milk and milk products, eggs, poultry, fish, soybean, tofu, nuts, pulses and legumes. One can also opt for collagen supplements to keep the tissues healthy and strong.
2. Vitamin C - Collagen is the most abundant protein present in our body and it is required to keep our connective tissues strong. Vitamin C plays a very important role in the synthesis of collagen as it provides structure to it. Deficiency of vitamin C affects the production of collagen making our tendons and ligaments weak and prone to damage. Therefore, one should include plenty of vitamin C rich foods like amla, guava, kiwi and citrus fruits in the diet.
3. Vitamin A - In addition to vitamin C, vitamin A is also needed by our body to repair, synthesise and renew collagen protein. This helps in strengthening and improving the function of connective tissues. Some of the good sources of vitamin A are eggs, carrot, orange, liver, fatty fish, bell peppers, papaya and tomato.
4. Vitamin E - Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, which helps prevent inflammation. Increased inflammation in the body increases the risk of injury and can cause tendonitis. Hence, vitamin E rich foods like nuts, olives and olive oil are essential for keeping our tendons and ligaments sturdy.
5. Minerals - Calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc and manganese are some of the important minerals crucial for the health of our bone, connective tissues and muscle fibres. Low levels of these nutrients for prolonged duration eventually lead to degeneration of connective tissues including tendons and ligaments.
To sum up, a balanced diet with all the required nutrients is the key to keep our connective tissues strong. Any injury or harm might affect our mobility and impair functioning. One should refrain from consuming refined carbs, junk, packaged foods, foods containing MSG, sugary foods and beverages, as they are harmful to our tendons and ligaments. Instead, include the above-listed nutrients rich foods to stay healthy and for overall well-being.