There’s no denying that we are what we eat. We learned that saying from early childhood, but we sometimes forget it as adults. We opt for what’s convenient over what our bodies need. Poor nutrition can take a toll on our bodies, including our spines.
The solution is to ensure that your diet allows you to get the proper nutrients to keep your back strong and healthy. Here are five essential nutrients to add to your diet.
You probably already know that calcium plays an important role in building and strengthening bones. Calcium deficiency is one of the key drivers of age-related bone loss and osteoporosis. Some of the foods that are rich sources of calcium include dairy products, leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts, and canned fish that includes edible bones. (Sardines are a good example.)
Like calcium, magnesium is a mineral that helps to strengthen bones. In fact, between 50% and 60% of the magnesium in your body is found in your bones. Magnesium deficiency is one of the most common mineral deficiencies among Americans and can be a contributing factor in bone loss, heart disease, and other health issues. A study from 2013 found that magnesium supplementation reduced back pain and improved lumbar spine range of motion.
The average diet is too low in magnesium. To get what you need, try adding almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, and dark chocolate to your diet.
#3: Vitamin D
Vitamin D is sometimes called the sunshine vitamin because one of our best sources of it is exposure to direct sunlight. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and it also plays a key role in building and strengthening collagen.
People who aren’t sensitive to UV rays can get the Vitamin D they need by spending approximately 20 minutes a day in the sun. There are not very many foods that are good sources of Vitamin D, although it is possible to find Vitamin D-enriched milk. Otherwise, take a nutritional supplement.
Phosphorus is a mineral whose importance is sometimes overlooked, but it works with calcium to help build bones and improve bone density as we age. Both men and women need to be certain to get sufficient phosphorus in their diets.
The best dietary sources of phosphorus are Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and cheese.
#5: Healthy fats
It can be difficult to sort through the conflicting information about dietary fat. Eating too much saturated fat can be dangerous and may contribute to heart disease. However, eating healthy fat, specifically Omega-3 fatty acid, is essential for bone health. Studies have found that Omega-3 prevents demineralization of bones as we age. It’s important to take care of your spine…
Spinal health is important at any age, but it’s essential to protect your spine as you get older. While diet alone may not be enough, it is undeniable that eating a diet rich in the five minerals we have listed here will ensure that your body has the essential nutrients it needs to prevent bone loss and demineralization and minimize the risks of spinal injuries.