You probably know that a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of a healthy life, but what you might not know is that your diet can also impact your spine health. There are many foods that support spine health and will enable it to better support your torso and maintain flexibility. However, there are also foods that may impact your spine health negatively and should be avoided.
Your spine requires the proper nutrients to stay healthy and strong, so keep reading to learn more about foods that support spine health.
Foods That Support Spine Health
There are a number of vitamins, minerals, and foods that support spine health by ensuring that your bones, muscles, discs, and other tissues receive the nutrients that they need to function properly.
Calcium is critical for spine health because it works to ensure proper bone mass, especially as you get older. Getting enough calcium in your diet will keep your bones from deteriorating and exhibiting signs of osteoporosis, a condition that increases your risk of vertebral fractures.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that you can’t just take calcium supplements or eat calcium-rich food and expect your bones to be strong and healthy. It’s important to supplement calcium consumption with other coacting nutrients. So how can you work calcium into your diet? This mineral can be found in many foods that support spine health like leafy greens, almonds, oranges, salmon, dairy products, tofu, and blackstrap molasses.
Vitamin D3 goes hand-in-hand with calcium because these two minerals work together. Without enough vitamin D, bones will lose their strength and quickly deteriorate, becoming thin and brittle. You can add this vitamin to your diet by eating foods that support spine health like fatty fish, egg yolks, liver, and some kinds of milk. Some milk, cereals, juices, and bread are fortified with Vitamin D as well.
However, even if you regularly eat these items, it may still be difficult to obtain the optimal amount of D, so you may want to speak with your doctor about taking a supplement. Spending time in the sun will increase your Vitamin D levels, so spending time outside on sunny days will help you in multiple ways.
Magnesium is important for the bone density of your spine. This mineral is used for hundreds of reactions throughout the body, and if your blood magnesium level becomes too low, it will be pulled out of your bones. It’s also important in the relaxing and contracting of muscles, so a magnesium deficiency may prevent proper muscle strengthening. It’s also very common for people to have a magnesium deficiency, so putting an effort into consuming the right foods or supplements is important.
Foods that support spine health and contain this mineral include green leafy vegetables, fish, beans, nuts, avocados, seeds, whole grain, yogurt, dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa, and bananas.
Vitamin B12 is important for the formation of your body’s bone-building cells and is required for properly forming red blood cells in your bone marrow. Anemia is commonly caused by a deficiency in Vitamin B12 and is correlated with osteoporosis.
To make sure you’re eating foods that support spine health and getting the proper amount of B12, focus on eating animal proteins like meat and poultry products, cheeses, yogurt, fish, and eggs. Unfortunately, B12 cannot be found in plants, so anyone with a vegetarian or vegan diet should speak with their doctor about taking a supplement.
Vitamin C helps form collagen, which holds the muscles, bones, tissues, and tendons together. It also plays an important role in helping your body heal injuries. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, so it’s important to your body in many ways.
You can find this vitamin in strawberries, kiwi, citrus fruits, and other vegetables, as well as vegetables like tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, red peppers, green peppers, and sweet potatoes.
This vitamin directs bone minerals by ensuring that calcium is taken from soft tissues and distributed to your bones. It’s crucial to the health of your bone metabolism and deficiency is unfortunately common.
Vitamin K2 is also a mineral that works with calcium to help keep bones in your spine as well as your body strong and healthy.
Foods that support spine health and contain K2 include the healthy fats of meat, egg yolks, cheeses, other dairy products, spinach, kale, broccoli, and other green leafy vegetables.
What to Avoid to Support Spine Health
We’ve now discussed foods that support spine health that you should incorporate into your diet in order to strengthen your spine and keep it healthy, but there are also foods that should be avoided. These foods can harm your spine in multiple ways like triggering inflammation, slowing down your body’s natural healing process, or simply causing weight gain. The following is what you should try to avoid.
These foods are considered some of the worst foods for spine health. Foods heavy in sugar are known to trigger inflammation and cause weight gain. As you probably know, excess weight gain can hurt your spine by forcing it out of alignment due to the fact that it causes your weight to be unevenly distributed.
Most vegetables contain a lot of omega 6 fatty acids, which aren’t bad or harmful for your body. However, if the amount of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids in your body is unbalanced and you have more omega 6 than omega 3, your body may trigger inflammation as a response. This can be caused by mostly cooking with vegetable oil, so you may want to consider switching to olive oil. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fats, so it’s one of the healthiest oils to cook with.
It’s best to stick to whole grains rather than refined grains. Pizza, cereal, and white bread are foods that usually contain refined grains. The good news is that there are many whole grain substitutes for these foods, so you don’t necessarily need to completely cut them out of your diet, just be mindful of what they’re made with.
Eating many foods made of refined grains can both lead to an insulin spike as well as cause painful inflammation.
Eat and Exercise Your Way to a Healthier Back
There are many foods that support spine health and taking supplements is a great way to ensure that you are getting enough of each of them. Supplements can be found for each vitamin and mineral individually, but there are also many multivitamins that include all of the necessary ones.
Proper nutrition and an active lifestyle are critical for spinal health. Watching the foods that you eat, how much water you drink, and the nutrients you consume can not only help you look and feel better as a whole but can have a direct impact on the health of your spine.
However, if you’re suffering from a condition caused by annular tears such as degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, sciatica, or chronic low back pain, changing your diet may not be enough to relieve your back or neck pain. In order to get the relief you’re looking for, you’ll need a treatment that can seal and heal your torn spinal discs.
The Discseel® Procedure is a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure that treats annular tears. If you’re ready to stop living with back or neck pain, apply for Dr. Pauza’s Discseel® Procedure today!