Flexibility Diet

Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D.
Stretching

Whether you're a gymnast, dancer, cheerleader, or simply want to boost flexibility to increase your quality of living, following a flexibility diet may help you meet range of motion goals. Eating certain foods might increase your odds of being able to touch your toes.

Foods That May Improve Flexibility

A healthy diet packed with anti-inflammatory foods is your best bet when you want to boost flexibility and avoid stiffening inflammation throughout your body. The Arthritis Foundation suggests the following tips for reducing inflammation as these foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants:

  • Eat omega 3-rich fish (3 to 4 ounces per serving), such as sardines, salmon, tuna and anchovies, at least twice weekly.
  • Eat at least 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruits daily.
  • Consume at least 2 to 3 cups of veggies each day.
  • Eat a handful of nuts each day.
  • Consume beans.
  • Include 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil in your meals daily.
  • Eat onions.

To reduce inflammation as much as possible and increase your chance at maximum flexibility, steer clear of inflammation-enhancing foods. These include processed foods (especially processed meats), fatty cuts of red meat, full-fat dairy foods, refined carbohydrates (white rice and white bread), sweets, chips, other highly salted foods, gluten if you're sensitive to it, excess alcohol, and artificial sweeteners.

Sample Menus

Following the sample menu plans below may help boost your body's flexibility by lowering inflammation.

Day 1

Breakfast

  • Egg white omelet with asparagus, black beans, peppers, and feta cheese cooked in olive oil
  • 1 small banana
  • 1 cup of cooked oatmeal

Snack

  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • A handful of almonds

Lunch

  • 3 ounces of tuna on a bed of leafy greens, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, walnuts, and eggs
  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa (made using olive oil)

Snack

  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt or soy yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of sliced pineapple

Dinner

  • 3 ounces of grilled chicken
  • 1 cup of cooked broccoli
  • 1 cup of cooked brown rice (cooked in olive oil)

Day 2

Breakfast

  • 1 cup of whole-grain cereal topped 1 cup of soy or almond milk and sliced almonds
  • 1 cup of cherries
  • 3 slices of uncured turkey bacon

Snack

  • A handful of walnuts
  • A plant-based protein smoothie with spinach and kale

Lunch

  • A veggie burger topped with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and avocado
  • 1 cup of black bean salad made with olive oil

Snack

  • 1 cup of sliced kiwi fruit
  • Whole grain crackers dipped in 2 tablespoons of hummus

Dinner

  • 3 ounces of grilled salmon
  • 1 cup of cooked wild rice (made using olive oil)
  • 1 cup of cooked Brussels sprouts or green beans

Day 3

Breakfast

  • Smoothie made with plant-based protein powder, soy or almond milk, a banana, and almond butter

Snack

  • Blackberries with Greek yogurt or soy yogurt

Lunch

  • 3 ounces of crab cakes
  • 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa (made using olive oil)
  • 1 cup of cooked black beans

Snack

  • 1 cup of carrot sticks
  • Handful of pistachios

Dinner

  • 3 ounces of grilled chicken breast
  • Medium-sized cooked sweet potato
  • 1 cup of onions and mixed veggies sauteed in olive oil

Boosting Flexibility

Increasing flexibility is more than simply eating a healthy diet. Drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated and regular exercise (including a variety of flexibility-boosting stretching techniques) is key when you want to be able to touch your toes with ease.

Flexibility Diet