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Foods to Avoid for Flexibility: 5 Important Foods to Know

    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. 

    Foods To Avoid For Flexibility

    Read on as we explore all the dietary points you need to consider to optimize your flexibility and reap the health benefits. 

     

    Does Food Affect Flexibility? ๐Ÿฅ—

    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.

    However, you should always consult your doctor or a certified dietitian before making significant dietary changes. 

    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 ๐Ÿฅ›

    Dehydration and Flexibility

    Now that weโ€™ve established your diet affects your flexibility, letโ€™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 beโ€”and the more dehydrated, the stiffer you will be.

    Why is that? 

    Water makes up 70% of your muscles. So, they can’t properly extend and contract when they’re dry. Dehydrated muscles will resist stretching and be more prone to damage. 

    To avoid dehydration, consume less coffee or caffeinated tea and alcohol. More on that later. 

     

    Collagen and Flexibility ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

    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.

    Research has shown that collagen peptides can improve joint function, including increased mobility and flexibility. 

    Therefore, daily collagen peptides reduce joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness.

     

    What Foods To Avoid For Flexibility ๐Ÿฉ๐Ÿญ

    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.

     

     

    1. Alcohol 

    Alcohol

    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.

    When drinking alcohol, your brain produces less ADH, a hormone that controls how much you urinate. Less ADH means more urination, which causes your body to lose water and leads to dehydration.

    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. 

     

    2. Coffee 

    Coffee 

    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 

    Sugary Foods and Red Meat Pastry

    Avoid sugar-rich foods and processed carbohydrates as theyโ€™ll accelerate collagen loss in your body and cause further mobility loss. 

    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 Gluten and Cow Milk

    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. 

    Joint stiffness may be more common when people consume more animal and dairy products and fewer plant-based foods. 

    Consuming too many animal-based products such as dairy can cause joint stiffness, gout, or arthritis.

     

    5. Junk Food

    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.

    Therefore, you should avoid junk foods and packaged foods before exercising as they contain a lot of sodium and sugar. 

     

    What to Do For Flexibility ๐Ÿฅฆ๐Ÿ—

    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

    Thereโ€™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: 

    • Fiber 
    • Whole grains
    • Fruits and vegetables
    • Healthy fats such as canola and sunflower oil
    • Probiotics
    • Spices such as turmeric and ginger 

    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.

    Eat healthy for 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. 

    If you want to increase your flexibility and stretching ability, you can eat vegetables that contain sulfur or take MSM as a nutritional supplement.

    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

    Spirulina

    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.

    The vitamins in this food boost muscle strength and prevent muscle cramps, making stretches easier.

     

    Protein

    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.

     

    Dark Chocolate

    Dark Chocolate

    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.

    Remember that chocolate can be high in sugar and fat, so buy at least 70% chocolate if you choose to indulge.

     

    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

    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. 

     

    2. Stretch

    Stretch flexibility

    Stretching increases the range of motion (ROM) around a joint and has other acute effects on the neuromuscular system.

    To increase your flexibility, use stretching and foam rolling in your warm-up and cool-down time if you exercise regularly. 

    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 

    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.

    Therefore staying hydrated is not negotiable if you want a more flexible body.

    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.

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    Lemon Perfect - Organic Cold-Pressed Lemon Water - Squeezed from Real Fruit, Flavored Water, Sugar-Free, Keto Certified, No Artificial Ingredients - 6-Flavor Variety Pack (12-pack)
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    Lemon Perfect Organic Lemon Water
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    Hint Water Fruit Stand Variety Pack (Pack of 12), 16 Ounce Bottles, 3 Bottles Each of: Peach, Raspberry, Watermelon, and Lemon, Zero Calories, Zero Sugar and Zero Sweeteners
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    Sparkling Ice Purple Variety Pack, Flavored Sparkling Water, Zero Sugar, with Vitamins and Antioxidants, 17 fl oz, 12 count (Black Raspberry, Cherry Limeade, Orange Mango, Kiwi Strawberry)
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    Bottom Line ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

    Get What You Work For

    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. 

    Please share our post on foods to avoid for flexibility if you enjoyed this.

    Last update on 2022-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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    James Wright

    James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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