The benefits of making an ongoing effort to keep your spine healthy will become apparent each time you have a day without significant or lingering discomfort. Not all potential sources of spine-related pain can be prevented, and some even require the need for minimally invasive spine surgery. Los Angeles spine surgeons claim the foods you eat on a daily basis can have an impact on how your spine functions and how well it’s able to sustain the regular demands of your everyday movements. Here are four nutritious foods to consider adding to your diet to keep your spine healthy.
1. Green Leafy Veggies
Spinach, broccoli, cabbage, kale, and other green, leafy vegetables are good for the spine because they are loaded with essential vitamins like A, C, E, and K that keep the bones and tissues of the spine healthy. Vitamin K helps with calcium absorption, which may reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis. The magnesium in green leafy veggies also increases bone density and muscle tone.
Many of these veggies can be incorporated into meals as:
- Side dishes coupled with lean meats
- Tasty smoothies
- Salads made with a healthy dressing with vinegar, honey, or black pepper (all of which have added spine health benefits)
Berries are loaded with antioxidants that naturally fight inflammation and reduce the risk of experiencing significant pain if you develop arthritis. Blueberries alone have more than 20 different antioxidants. There’s more vitamin C in a cup of strawberries than what you’d get in an orange, which is good news for your spinal discs. Cherries and grapes have similar benefits. Tart cherries have the most anti-inflammatory benefits of any food, according to some research conducted on the subject.
Dietary suggestions for berries:
- Have them at least three times a week (according to a Harvard study)
- Try half a cup a day either as a snack or on top of a healthy cereal
- Add berries to a cup of low-fat yogurt
3. Colorful Roots
Beets, carrots, yams, and other “earth foods” are bursting with essential nutrients absorbed from the ground. Many root veggies are full of antioxidants that promote healing of structures in cells and tissues, and they are also high in vitamins A and C and all or most of the B vitamins. Sweet potatoes and carrots are especially rich in beneficial potassium, manganese, and A vitamins that promote the growth and development of bone and tissues. Root veggies can be enjoyed:
- Roasted in the oven with olive oil
- Steamed or sautéed to minimize nutrient loss
- In raw form
Pineapples are an appetizing member of the bromeliad family with appealing pain-fighting properties. There’s research suggesting bromelain, the enzyme in pineapples, may help people manage pain from osteoarthritis. The abundance of manganese in pineapples may also prevent arthritis of the spine by strengthening connective tissues. High amounts of manganese and protein-digesting enzymes in pineapples could also benefit you by:
- Minimizing flare-ups from inflammation
- Increasing the strength of the spine and its joints
- Decreasing dependence on pain or anti-inflammatory medications
Though diet can be helpful for promoting spine health, people who are experiencing severe chronic pain may need to consider spinal fusion or certain back fusion alternatives. Los Angeles is home to The Spine Institute, where Dr. Hyun Bae and his team of expert surgeons can diagnose the source of your pain and help you find relief. Call our office today at 310-828-7757 to schedule an appointment.