For those with back pain, you know the little things can make a big difference in your spine. Good nutrition and a balanced diet are important for overall health, but they can also help your back pain. The bones, muscles, and other structures in the spine need proper nutrition so they are strong enough to support the body and perform their functions. Here are some nutrition tips for a healthier back.
If you favor comfort foods over vegetables, then it is time to make a change. It doesn’t have to be an immediate change, but simply switching a cupcake for something a little more healthier will make a big difference. Gradually work in more leafy vegetables, whole grains, fish, avocados, and seeds into your diet. These foods all have magnesium, a mineral that keeps bones strong and strengthens back muscles. Another big thing to include: Protein. Protein is a critical component of bone that can be easily overlooked. It is the building block of all of our body’s structures. Daily consumption will aid in maintaining, healing, and repairing bones, cartilage, and soft tissues. We’re not saying to stop eating cupcakes. It’s all about moderation and balance. In general, eating a wide range of food help’s your body get everything you need to function at your best.
There are a few key nutrients you should go out of your way to include in your diet. Calcium and Vitamin D are key players in bone health. Calcium is the most prominent of bone minerals. It is essential for bone health and helps maintain bone mass throughout your lifespan, which is especially helpful in old age. Proper calcium intake helps prevent osteoporosis, a disorder where one has weak or brittle bones. How does this affect your back? Weak and brittle bones make it easier for you to get painful vertebral fractures in your spine. Incorporate more dairy products, like yogurt, cheese, and milk, and dark green leafy vegetables for a boost of calcium. You can also find it in some types of fish, almonds, oranges, tofu, and molasses.
Calcium alone will not give you strong bones. It must be balanced with other nutrients for strong bones. One of these is vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium. Without vitamin D, bones can be thin, brittle, or misshapen. If you’re low in vitamin D, you’re not alone. It occurs naturally in few foods, such as fatty fish, liver, and egg yokes. Some foods, like cereals, milk, juices, and breads, are fortified with vitamin D. You can also attain it by spending time in the sun or taking a supplement.
The human body is made of 60-70% water, so it is an important part of any diet. Water allows nutrients to travel to the major organs, remove waste, and maintain function in the joints, organs, and is especially important for your spine and back. The spinal discs are made up of mostly water. At birth, they are about 80% water, and that amount declines with age. Keeping hydrated helps your discs improve in flexibility so they can act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae. It is recommended to include at least 8 large glasses of water every day in addition to a healthy diet. It is also important to distribute water consumption throughout the day, rather than drinking only when thirsty or drinking it all at once.
Drinks To Avoid
Water is the most important thing to drink for a healthy back, but we know that you may want some variety in your beverages. Learning what drinks to avoid can also give your back a break. For example, cola contains phosphoric acid, which binds to calcium and magnesium in the digestive tract. Regular consumption makes it hard for your body to absorb vital nutrients, resulting in lower bone mass density. Alcohol is also a risk factor for bone loss. Alcohol lacks nutritional value and adds unnecessary sugar, which contributes to weight gain, further complicating back problems. It is found that women who regularly consumed alcohol had a greater risk of bone loss later in life, which is complicated as women are already at an increased risk of osteoporosis. It’s not that you can’t enjoy these things. Like with cupcakes, moderation is the key.
Proper nutrition is just the first step to helping back pain. For over 25 years our caring, compassionate, and knowledgeable staff has been treating patients with neck and back pain. Our goal is to restore your mobility and get you back to your normal life. Contact Dr. Capicotto to set up a consultation. Learn more about your spine, back and neck pain, and ways to reduce pain and keep your spine healthy.