Optimizing your Connective Tissues

Just as the name implies, connecting tissues are tissues in the human body that connect and act as support for other tissues, organs, joints, bones, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, among other parts in the body. They are generally supporting elements in the human anatomy which are an integral component that ensures organs and tissues are well functioning. Connecting tissues are made up of loosely packed cells which are protected by an extracellular matrix (ECM). These key tissues in the body are important because they keep the body healthy and active, giving off a youthful look. Maintaining optimized connective tissue health is, therefore, key to healthy living.

There are four main categories of connective tissues: Loose Connective Tissue, Dense Connective Tissue, Cartilage, Bone, and Blood.

In this article, we will take an in-depth look at all you need to know about connecting tissues and how to keep them optimized and healthy.

How do They Work?

Connective tissues are an invaluable component of the body, they come in a variety of categories and serve multiple purposes in the body. These functions have been grouped into the following:

  • Support: Connective tissues provide support for other tissues in the body by wrapping around them, forming a covering membrane over organs and muscles. Connective tissues also support bones, connecting them to muscles by forming tendons and ligaments.
  • Recovery: Connective tissues also provide healing and recovery after injury by forming scar tissue and replacing injured spots. The make-up of connective tissues also functions as a protection against bacteria and foreign agents in the body through the process of inflammation.
  • Padding: Connective tissues serve as thermal insulation for organs in the body by providing a form padding. This also functions as an energy reserve.
  • Circulation: Fluid connective tissues aid in the circulation and distribution of body fluids and nutrients such as oxygen.

Why Should You Care?

As earlier explained, it is important to maintain healthy connective tissues in your body because they offer a range of health benefits including aiding movement and activity and providing general protection. Everyone should care about their connective tissue health for a prolonged, youthful and healthy life and body.

Better Connective Tissue Health through Nutrition

Connective tissues perform several functions in the body, so it is important that they remain fully nourished to carry out these functions. Here are some key nutrients which should be included in your diet for the nourishment and strength of your connective tissues.

  • Collagen

Collagen is the most essential nutrient for healthy connective tissues. Collagen is the main protein found in all types of connective tissues in the human body. Therefore, diets rich in this essential nutrient help with maintaining healthy connective tissues. Collagen can be found in meals such as chicken, fish, berries, eggs, garlic, and more. Collagen supplements are also a preferred source as the collagen content in most foods might not be as potent. 

  • Vitamin C

This rejuvenating nutrient is helpful in building and replacing collagen in the body. Vitamin C also has other benefits including immune activation. This vitamin can be found in citrus fruits such as oranges, pineapple, berries, and more. Vitamin C supplements are also a great source to provide the necessary amount of nutrients for the body.

  • Glucosamine

Glucosamine is an amino sugar found in connective tissues. This key nutrient is generated by the body and then circulated in the system. Glucosamine supports the formation of extracellular matrix (ECM) in connective tissues. it also helps in the reduction of breakdown in the tissues. Glucosamine can be found in foods such as shellfish.

  • Chondroitin

Chondroitin is another essential constituent of some connective tissues such as cartilage. This nutrient ensures the connective tissue is resistive to external forces, it is what gives the tissue an elastic and bouncy texture, and this helps with physical endurance. Chondroitin can be found in foods like liver oil.

Other nutrients of note include Sulfate, Bioflavonoids, and Glycosaminoglycans.

Stronger Connective Tissue Through Exercise

Exercise has been known to be quite beneficial in staying fit and healthy. Another advantage of exercise is that it helps maintain stronger connective tissues. However, certain types of exercise which target connective tissues are more effective in building stronger connective tissues. Some of these exercises include skips, jumps, pushups, lunges, and other routines which involve explosive movements, these exercises are called explosive plyometric exercises. it is also important not to put too much strain on your joints and other connective tissues, as this can be damaging and counterproductive.

Now that you know all about connective tissues and their importance, practice these measures to maintain a healthy and active life sustained by strong connective tissues.