Nutrition for healthy connective tissue needs to focus on collagen/connective tissue building foods. The first thing you need to know is that Vitamin C is key in the healthy connective tissue department. Fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C often have bioflavonoids, which are produced by the cells responsible for photosynthesis in plants. (They account for most of the yellow, red and blue coloration in plants.) Bioflavonoids can repair connective tissue damage by assisting in the production of collagen. Additionally, bioflavonoids strengthen the capillary walls, which decrease inflammation, bruising and bleeding. We need all the capillary action which we can drum up in the largely bloodless linea alba.
Another great benefit of Vitamin C besides aiding in collagen production, is that it slows the deterioration of cartilage. Vitamin C also promotes the healing of the connective tissue and all other soft tissues because it promotes the production of elastin and neurotransmitters, which are necessary elements in the process. You can find foods with Vitamin C in a host of fresh fruit and vegetables, such as kiwis, papaya, strawberries, pineapple, kiwi, oranges, kale, red peppers, tomatoes and broccoli.
Next on the list is Zinc. Zinc is also a heavy-hitter in the realm of connective tissue repair. Zinc is essential to connective tissue production as well as that of cartilage and bone. It also neutralizes free radicals which are destructive to healthy cells. (Free radicals can come from a variety of sources from pollution to junk food, but drinks containing high-fructose corn syrup and also aspartame are big culprits.) Get zinc from oysters, prawns, scallops, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, whole grains.
Next is Vitamin E, another antioxidant. Vitamin E is critical to maintain healthy cell membranes and in assisting injured tissues to heal. This mineral neutralizes free radicals which otherwise attack the lipids in the cell membranes. These lipids help repair tissue. Get Vitamin E from sunflower seeds, almonds, eggs, asparagus, avocados and kale.
Adequate protein is important as most of the cell structure is made from proteins. Protein also plays a big role in repairing damaged tissue. Include good protein with every meal. My favorite sources of protein are grass-fed or organic meat, wild fish, nuts and eggs.
Lots of oxygen in your body also is important for the healing process. Iron is the ‘transportation vehicle’ that delivers oxygen to the body cells. Eat high quality iron-rich foods like beef, broccoli and apricots to make sure you’re getting enough.
A San Diego Center for Health paper called “Nutrition for Soft Tissue Recovery” cites the following vitamins necessary for soft tissue repair: vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, C, D, E and K. It also lists the following minerals as necessary to the process: Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Iron, Zinc, Selenium, Manganese and Copper (in small doses).