Foods That Strengthen Your Tendons and Ligaments

Foods-that-strengthen-your-tendons-and-ligaments

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend tweaked his finger. We weren’t entirely sure what he did to it, but he could feel a sharp pain in his palm when he isolated the finger.

I spent a few hours online trying to find a probable diagnosis and ultimately came across a great article on climbing.com called Finger Fixes.

This particular article was perfect because it outlined the different signs and symptoms of 3 very common finger injuries (A2 pulley, flexor tendon, and collateral ligament). This helped me formulate a recovery plan, but before I get into that, let’s start with the basics.

What are tendons?

Muscles tend to hog the spotlight when it comes to recovery and sports nutrition, but if you’ve ever injured a finger, then you know that your muscles are pretty useless without your tendons and ligaments.

Tendons are thick bundles of collagen that connect muscle to bone and allow movement, while ligaments are flexible bundles of collagen that connect bone to bone and protect your joints.

They have slightly different functions in the body, but they are both forms of connective tissue made up of collagen, elastin, proteoglycans (chains of sugars attached to proteins), and minerals like copper, manganese, and calcium.

Foods That Strengthen Your Tendons and Ligaments

Nutrient

Food Sources

Vitamin C

Bell peppers, guava, kale, turnip greens, kiwi, broccoli, berries, oranges, grapefruit

Manganese

Clams, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, tofu, tempeh, lima beans, spinach, pineapple

Vitamin B6

Chickpeas, salmon, chicken, turkey, potatoes, sunflower seeds, spinach, bananas

Vitamin B12

Clams, trout, salmon, beef, eggs, fortified cereals, fortified soymilk

Magnesium

Spinach, almonds, peanuts, cashews, soymilk, black beans, avocado

Zinc

Oysters, beef, lobster, pork chop, baked beans, chicken, cashews, chickpeas

The majority of connective tissue consists of a protein known as collagen. In order to make collagen, your body requires vitamin C and the mineral manganese.

Vitamins B6 and B12 support nerve function and aid in the formation of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, which are used to form muscles, tendons and ligaments.

These B vitamins are found mostly in animal products, but you can also get them in a multivitamin or B complex vitamin. If you choose to take a supplement, look for methylcobalamin (B12) and pyridoxal-5-phosphate (B6), the active forms of these vitamins.

Magnesium is a mineral that aids in muscle relaxation, bone formation, and protein synthesis. It can be found in a standard multivitamin, or taken by itself.

Zinc is another mineral that aids in protein synthesis and tissue formation, as well as immune support.

As you can see, consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables is the best way to ensure that your body is getting all the nutrients your tendons and ligaments need.

Finger Rehabilitation

Dr. J also recommends cutting back on your crimping, ditching the campus board, relying on comfrey cream, and resorting to acetaminophen if the pain is simply unbearable.

It’s best to avoid NSAIDS like ibuprofen and aspirin because they can damage the lining of your gut and weaken your immune system, which can delay healing. For more of Dr. J’s advice, visit his website.

vitalproteins_collagen

**UPDATE** If you’re finding it difficult to include these foods in your diet, you can also try supplementing your diet with these nutrients by taking LigaPlex I (for maintenance), LigaPlex II (for acute injury), and VitalProteins Collagen Peptides (for maintenance or acute injury).

 

Finger-Fortifying Kale Salad

photo1 (6)
Aicacia Young, RDN
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch of kale
  • 1 pineapple, peeled and cubed
  • 2 small avocados
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1-2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (optional)
  • Handful of unsweetened shredded coconut

Instructions:

  1. Wash kale and remove stems from kale leaves.
  2. Rip kale leaves into small pieces and place in large bowl.
  3. Massage kale until leaves soften and color darkens.
  4. Add remaining ingredients, toss, and enjoy!
  5. Top with protein of choice, if desired.

Comments

4 Comments

  • lana says:

    My ligaments are very weak and my muscles are very tight what sort of nutrition would you suggest?

  • Margie Cote says:

    My son has severe tendonitis in his knee and elbows as well as his hands. It was caused by years of being bed ridden from migraines His migraines are finaly under control. We appreciate your info on strengthening with diet as he would tear if he tried to exexercise at this time. He also suffers from severe nausea which makes it difficult for him to drink shakes . I tthought maybe if we add fresh ginger to them.Is there any other suggestions you might have as his gut is a mess from years of medication. His goal is to get off all his meds some day.We know the body can heal it self given the right nutrients. Just need to get started. Thanks for sharing!

    • Aicacia says:

      Hi Margie,
      I’m so sorry to hear about your son’s medical troubles. If he has trouble digesting protein shakes, then it’s possible that he’s not producing enough stomach acid. Low stomach acid is often a symptom of a zinc deficiency, so it might be useful to check the essential minerals in his blood. As far as healing the rest of his gut, I highly recommend PeakBiotics (a probiotic) and Immunoglobulin powder to all of my clients. He might also respond well to LigaPlex, a supplement intended to help strengthen tendons and ligaments.

  • This is great, thanks!!

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