What Foods Are Good for Spinal Health?
If you have been experiencing back pain or other spinal issues or are simply looking to be proactive in your spine health, nutrition is a good place to start. In fact, the foods you eat can play a big role in influencing the health of your spine. When you are intentional with your nutrition, you can pack your diet with foods that have all the things your back needs to stay healthy and strong. Conversely, eating lots of foods with bad nutritional quality can over time, cause damage to your back’s structural components. Here’s a look at some of the best foods for spinal health.
Proteins are overlooked in their role in bone health. However, they are essential for maintaining and healing damaged bones and soft tissues. Proteins are composed of amino acids of which there are 20 total. Our bodies are able to naturally create 11 of them with the remaining 9—referred to as essential amino acids—being drawn from our diets. A “complete” protein is one that contains all of these essential amino acids.
Plant-based proteins can be favorable to animal-based proteins, as they cause less inflammation. One of the most common misconceptions surrounding plant-based diets is that they lack enough protein. However, in reality, plant-based proteins are packed with amino acids and provide great health benefits for not only the spine but the whole body.There are several plant-based foods that have all 9 essential amino acids, including quinoa, buckwheat, hemp, and soy—to name a few. Not only will these foods provide necessary proteins, but they also have wonderful nutritional benefits all of which, will help your spine health
Calcium gets a lot of attention for its role in bone health—and for good reason. This mineral is essential for bone health, playing an instrumental role in maintaining adequate bone mass throughout your life and specifically, in old age. Proper calcium intake is especially important for preventing osteoporosis, a condition that causes weak and brittle bones in the back. Some of the best food sources of calcium include:
- Dark leafy green vegetables, such as kale
- Fish, such as salmon or sardines
Food with High Magnesium Content
Magnesium is an essential mineral for a healthy spine. It plays a key role in the bone structure and is required for over 300 reactions in the body. When magnesium levels get low, it is pulled from the bones. It is fairly common to have a magnesium deficiency and supplementing your diet with magnesium-rich foods is a great way to maintain bone density and prevent back problems. Some food with high magnesium content include:
- Seeds and nuts
Foods with Vitamin C
The body needs vitamin C to make collagen, which is responsible for providing structure to the bones, muscles, and tendons and transforming cells into tissue. Therefore, it’s essential to have adequate vitamin C intake to properly heal injured discs, muscles, ligaments, and other structural components in the back. Some food with high vitamin C content include
- Citrus fruits, like oranges
- Sweet potatoes
Consult the Team at OLSS for Help with Your Back Pain
If you are struggling with chronic back pain that isn’t resolving with nutrition, lifestyle changes, or other conservative methods, it’s essential to consult a skilled spine specialist. When you schedule an appointment at your local Orthopedic and Laser Spine Surgery branch, you will receive an expert medical diagnosis. At all of our facilities, you’ll find highly skilled board-certified surgeons who are trained in cutting-edge medical procedures for neck and back treatment. We pride ourselves on our ability to orchestrate personalized care plans that serve the unique needs of our patients.