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Not all people realize the link between good nutrition and a healthy spine, but watching what you eat really does help keep your spine healthy.
By now most people understand the meaning of the statement, “You are what you eat” but did you know that good nutrition can have a direct impact on your spine and how well it can deal with and recover from injury?
What role does nutrition play in spinal health?
In early years when we are developing, nutrition determines how strong our bones and connective tissue will be when our bodies mature. Although it is true that what we eat as our bodies are developing greatly affects how we feel today, it is not too late. Adjusting your diet to bring in the proper nutrients now is still of great use.
On a daily basis, your body needs to replace some of its tissue due to normal wear and tear. Injury and recovery from surgery further require the body to replace and repair its tissues with even more demand. What the body requires for this to occur comes from our diets; nutrients such as Vitamins C, B, D, K, along with calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, boron and manganese are some of the more important nutrients needed for our bone and tissue health. And do not forget about water, as it is essential to stay adequately hydrated when recovering from injury.
One of the most common spine conditions exacerbated by poor nutrition is degenerative disc disease – an arthritic type of bone breakdown. Without the proper nutrients that support strong bones, wear and tear of the vertebral discs that provide cushioning and flexibility in our backs are accelerated.
What are good sources of Calcium and Vitamin D?
We have heard many times that healthy bones mean finding enough Calcium and Vitamin D in our diet. Milk and milk products such as cheese and yogurt are great sources of Calcium. Unfortunately, most foods that we consume do not contain Vitamin D; the exception being not so easy to eat regularly like cod liver oil and some forms of fish. But you can find foods fortified with Vitamin D. Items such as milk, cereal, and orange juice are commonly fortified. Be proactive and read labels and be on the lookout for fortified foods.
By making sure that you are consuming a healthy and nutritious diet you will find that you are less prone to injury and bone degeneration, and when aches and pains show themselves, they are likely to last for less time. It is never too late to change your diet and lifestyle. In addition to positive effects on your spinal anatomy, nutritious eating will also show effects throughout all the systems in your body. So eat well, and enjoy that increase in energy and well-being!