You might think stretching is the way to get a flexible body, but no matter how hard you exercise, you won’t reach proper flexibility without the right diet. Because flexibility is highly dependent on your lifestyle and habits, it’s essential to know what to consume and what foods to avoid for flexibility to get a better range of motion.
For a healthy flexibility diet, avoid dehydrating drinks like coffee and alcohol. You should also avoid foods rich in sugar and carbs as they can reduce collagen in your body and create muscle and joint pain, resulting in loss of mobility.
Read on as we explore all the dietary points you need to consider to optimize your flexibility and reap the health benefits.
- 1 Does Food Affect Flexibility? ?
- 2 Dehydration and Flexibility ?
- 3 Collagen and Flexibility ?
- 4 What Foods To Avoid For Flexibility ??
- 5 What to Do For Flexibility ??
- 6 Bottom Line ?
Does Food Affect Flexibility? ?
First, you need to know that flexibility isn’t bending your body in unnatural angles.
Flexibility is being able to stretch without pain and injury.
Many people believe a lucky few are born with the ability to flex their bodies, but there is little evidence to support that theory.
Food and flexibility go hand in hand. If you want to increase your flexibility, you need to change how you eat. Certain exercises like stretching help flexibility, but you won’t reach your goal without a proper diet.
So, if you feel sore when stretching or doing yoga, your diet could be to blame.
Your body is like a machine, so it needs regular maintenance to operate appropriately.
You won’t stretch the right way if you overload your body with unhealthy food options like snacks and dishes full of carbs and excessive fats.
Dehydration and Flexibility ?
Now that we’ve established your diet affects your flexibility, let’s examine the primary cause of inadequate flexibility: dehydration.
It’s no secret that water is an essential element in a person’s overall diet.
But what’s more important is how crucial water is in keeping your body flexible.
According to a recent study, the more hydrated you are, the more flexible you will be—and the more dehydrated, the stiffer you will be.
Why is that?
To avoid dehydration, consume less coffee or caffeinated tea and alcohol. More on that later.
Collagen and Flexibility ?
Human bodies consist of almost 30% collagen.
Collagen is the main protein responsible for the structure of all animal bodies and contributes to muscle strength.
It’s present in connective tissues, such as tendons, ligaments, skin, cartilage, and bones.
These tissues are flexible due to collagen, the key to elasticity.
To keep your joints moving efficiently and reduce the risk of injury, you need the proper nutrients.
Therefore, daily collagen peptides reduce joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness.
What Foods To Avoid For Flexibility ??
Next, we’ll examine foods and supplements to avoid before working out.
Avoiding these will help you achieve a flexible body prevent chronic pain and muscle soreness.
You should avoid junk foods and packaged foods.
Researchers have found that drinking alcohol can result in systemic inflammation because it disrupts normal gut function.
The sustained inflammation can affect organs and tissues outside the gut.
According to various studies, excessive alcohol consumption is linked with an increased risk of osteoarthritis.
Additionally, multiple studies have shown an association between alcohol and pain related to other types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout.
All these downsides prove why you should avoid excessive alcohol if you want to live pain-free.
Having too much coffee also leads to dehydration, which leaves muscles and other tissues stiff and unable to stretch fully.
If you consume a lot of coffee each day and can’t quit, you’ll have to drink much more water than usual to make it up.
3. Sugary Foods and Red Meat
Sugar and chemicals found in crackers, cookies, cereal, pasta, bread, and baked goods damage collagen molecules, decreasing tissue quality and eroding collagen content.
You should also avoid fried foods because they cause inflammation which weakens collagen.
Soda and other sweetened beverages can also cause inflammation by causing your insulin levels to spike.
The chemicals produced by this action cause radical damage leading to the destruction of your collagen.
Other foods that can damage collagens are processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, pepperoni, and lunchmeat.
These meats contain nitrates which can also lead to inflammation and loss of mobility, so it’s better to avoid them.
4. Gluten and Cow Dairy
Dairy products are a leading cause of inflammation of the joints due to their high protein and whey content.
Dairy products are known to trigger joints to inflame.
Consuming too many animal-based products such as dairy can cause joint stiffness, gout, or arthritis.
5. Junk Food
Foods containing excess sodium make joints swell and dehydrate your body.
Too much sodium also promotes tissue and joint inflammation.
Joint inflammation can cause swelling, pain, and stiffness in the joints and difficulty in mobility or loss of joint function.
What to Do For Flexibility ??
As we said before, diet and flexibility go hand in hand. The following is a list of foods you should add to your flexibility diet.
1. Eat Nutritious And Anti-Inflammatory Foods
The following foods may benefit flexibility, lubricating joints, strengthening bones, and reducing inflammation.
Green Leafy Vegetables
There’s some evidence that sticking to a Mediterranean diet or going vegan may reduce stiffness.
In particular, make sure to include these items in your diet:
You can increase your flexibility by eating dark, green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and seaweed.
Their high water content keeps your body hydrated while flushing out acids.
Sulfur and Amino Acids
Foods with high sulfur and amino acid contents promote joint flexibility.
Sulfur plays an active role in healing and repairing connective tissues in the body. Many people refer to it as ‘the beauty mineral.’
Sulfur helps the body heal and cures soreness naturally.
MSM or Methylsulfonylmethane is a common, safe way to use sulfur.
MSM occurs naturally in animals, humans, and some plants and can be synthesized in a laboratory.
Sulfur-containing vegetables include Brussels sprouts, garlic, cruciferous vegetables, onions, egg yolks, red peppers, broccoli, onions, etc.
Experts recommend adding these foods to your diet for increased muscular flexibility.
Spirulina is an alga that contains vitamins like beta carotene and B complex.
Adding this to your smoothie before working out can drastically increase your flexibility.
Fruit smoothies and protein drinks can also help hydrate your body.
Adding foods high in protein like whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, olive oil, avocados, fish, and chicken to your diet will also improve your flexibility.
Chocolate has anti-inflammatory properties.
Cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate, is packed with antioxidants that can combat genetic predispositions to insulin resistance and inflammation.
The higher the cocoa percentage, the more anti-inflammatory power of the chocolate.
Calcium and Vitamin D
You can support bone strength and flexibility by consuming adequate calcium and vitamin D.
Including calcium in your diet can also prevent osteoporosis.
Mineral supplements, such as calcium, vitamin D, zinc, copper, manganese, and magnesium, can provide key nutrients to support bone health.
Fish High In Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids are good for the nervous and cardiovascular systems.
They have anti-inflammatory effects that help prevent muscle damage associated with exercise.
During exercise, Omega 3 fatty acids increase blood flow and reduce stiffness in the morning.
You can find it in salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines.
Stretching increases the range of motion (ROM) around a joint and has other acute effects on the neuromuscular system.
If you don’t exercise frequently, you can start with a beginner flexibility routine, as the one explained in this YouTube video:
Remember to warm up before stretching to make flexibility training effective and prevent injury.
3. Stay Hydrated
Drinking water or fluids is essential for a flexible body.
Since your muscles are 70% water, they can’t extend and contract as they should when they’re dehydrated.
They become rigid and are therefore not able to function properly.
If you are not a water fan, you can also try drinking other healthy fluids.
See our top three recommended healthy flavored water to try today.
Bottom Line ?
Although these suggestions aren’t comprehensive (because each person’s health needs and nutrition are different), they can get you started in making some lifestyle changes.
Remember that your flexibility goals, other than their purpose, can motivate you to eat healthily.
And eating healthy will keep you mentally and physically strong and motivated.
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Last update on 2023-09-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API