Eat Your Way Away From Degenerative Disc Disease
No, this isn’t a prescription to enter a pie-eating contest! But there is actual science backing up the theory that the way you eat may help ward off the debilitating effects of degenerative disc disease, and possibly even back surgery down the line. Nutrition obviously plays a large role in maintaining overall health but it seems rather strange that it could play an important role as well in your spine health!
According to the website Spine-Health, making sure the proper nutrients get to your spine and the supporting muscles and connective tissues is important to manage the progression or even onset of degenerative disc disease. For example, keeping your discs hydrated by drinking plenty of water can help prevent tears in the outer disc layers, which lead to loss of fluid and disc herniations or other painful conditions, potentially leading to back surgery as a last resort to manage pain or neurological impediments.
Some important nutrients for spine health include:
- Calcium – found in black beans, dairy products, black strap molasses, dark leafy greens like kale and spinach, salmon, tofu, sardines and almonds. Calcium is especially important to prevent the loss of bone mass during the aging process that can lead to vertebral fractures.
- Vitamin C – found in citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli, potatoes and peppers. It helps to develop collagen needed so that cells can form into tissue such as tendons, ligaments and vertebral discs during the healing process.
- Iron – foods providing iron are meat products, fish, poultry, legumes and green leafy vegetables. Iron is necessary for cells to receive oxygen and purge carbon dioxide for optimal health. It also helps with producing myoglobin for muscle health necessary to support the spine.
- Vitamin A – this vitamin is an anti-oxidant that boosts the immune system, aids in the body’s efficient use of protein and helps the body repair damaged tissue and form bone in the back. It is found in cow and chicken liver, dairy products, orange colored fruit and veggies such as cantaloupe, carrots and sweet potatoes and greens.
Maintaining healthy nutrition and incorporating the elements your spine needs to stay healthy, also leads to a healthier overall bodyweight. We featured a story earlier this year about medical research out of the University of Hong Kong, which confirmed obesity and excessive body weight as risk factors for worsening degenerative disc disease. So, to avoid back surgery (and maintain overall improved health) EAT nutritiously!