If you are at all familiar with living a healthy lifestyle, it will come as no surprise to you that nutrition is an important part of your health. They say you are what you eat, and this stands to reason. When you eat healthy, you are healthy; in contrast, when you eat junk food, you feel like, well, junk. Your diet needs to include certain essential nutrients in order for your body to function optimally. Like any aspect of your health, your spine’s health is impacted by your diet. By following a healthy diet, you can ensure that your spine is in tip-top shape. Here are the important nutrients to keep in mind when you are trying to improve the health of your spine.

Calcium

It should come as no surprise that your spine, which is made of bone, is supported by calcium. Calcium is the most important mineral for your spine. Calcium helps you to maintain bone mass throughout your life, and is especially important as you age because your bones become more brittle with time. Calcium prevents osteoporosis, which causes the bones to weaken and can result in spinal fractures. Some foods that are rich in calcium include:

  • Dairy products – low-fat yogurt, milk, cheese
  • Dark, leafy vegetables – spinach, broccoli, kale, collard greens
  • Legumes – peanuts, black beans, baked beans, tofu
  • Fish – salmon, sardines

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is like calcium’s partner; without it, the body cannot properly absorb calcium. This means that it is just as important to prioritize vitamin D as it is to prioritize calcium. Unfortunately, it is very common for people to be deficient in vitamin D; however, there are ways you can get it in your daily life to help with calcium consumption. Some ways you can vitamin D in your daily life are:

  • Eating egg yolks
  • Drinking vitamin D-fortified milk
  • Spending time in the sun
  • Taking vitamin D supplements

Magnesium

Magnesium is a macro-mineral that plays an important role in spine health. Magnesium is partially responsible for muscle relaxation and contraction and helps maintain muscle mass and bone density. It is also helpful for your body’s use of protein. Fortunately, magnesium is found in many different foods, including:

  • Whole grains – whole-wheat bread, whole-grain pasta, brown rice
  • Beans – black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans
  • Seeds – sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds
  • Fruits – kiwi, bananas, avocadoes
  • Vegetables – spinach, broccoli, kale

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is an antioxidant that helps your immune system fight disease. It is important for your spinal health because it helps your body repair tissue and form bones, as well as use protein properly. However, be cautious about eating TOO much vitamin A, which can lead to bone fractures. You can get the vitamin A you need by eating foods with beta-carotene, which the body naturally converts to vitamin A, or eating any of the following vitamin-A-rich foods:

  • Liver (beef, calf, or chicken)
  • Dairy products – milk, cheese, eggs
  • Orange fruits – oranges, apricots, cantaloupe, and nectarines
  • Vegetables – carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green peppers, broccoli, spinach

Iron

Iron is important for spine health because it aids in myoglobin production, which is part of the muscles that support the spine. Additionally, it helps all cells in the body remain healthy because it helps them receive oxygen and get rid of carbon dioxide. You can find iron in:

  • Red meat
  • Shellfish and fish
  • Poultry
  • Lentils, beans, soy
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables – spinach, kale, broccoli

Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps the body make collagen, which helps cells become tissue. This means it is crucial to healing any spinal problems, such as vertebral discs or torn ligaments, as well as generally keeping tissue and muscle strong. Vitamin C is present in many foods, such as:

  • Fruits – strawberries, kiwi, oranges, grapefruits, tomatoes
  • Vegetables – peppers, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, spinach, broccoli

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is essential for healthy bone marrow. It also helps the body in general to grow and function optimally. Vitamin B12 is found exclusively in animal products, including:

  • Meat – liver, poultry, red meat, fish
  • Dairy products – milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs

At Blaine Health & Wellness, we offer chiropractic care so your spine can be as healthy as possible. If you need manual adjustments in Blaine, schedule an appointment with our health clinic today!