Eat this, not that: a guide to spinal nutrition
You should keep your diet free from artificial trans fats, or hydrogenated fats, as often as possible. Artificial trans fats are created in the making of processed food because hydrogen is forcibly added to oils for taste, shelf life and cost savings. Our beloved fried foods, baked goods and manufactured ingredients like margarine are high in artificial trans fats, which is difficult for your body to process — creating a higher risk for cholesterol and cardiac issues. The inflammatory properties of these foods can also lead to neck or back pain. When you spot “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” on a nutrition label, take it as a warning sign.
Avoid: refined sugar
This sneaky treat can lead to back pain and weight gain. Whether it’s white table sugar or going by a corn syrup alias, processed sugar is added to all types of foods — even white bread and baby formula. This type of sugar is highly inflammatory, which can cause spinal joint damage and affect your body’s overall ability to heal itself. Adding fresh fruit to fizzy water to decrease your intake of sugary sodas is a great place to start.
Indulge: anti-inflammatory foods
Food for spine health often goes hand-in-hand with an anti-inflammatory diet. If you’ve had neck or back surgery, this way of eating can help promote good circulation to allow the incision and tissue to heal. Even if you haven’t had surgery, an anti-inflammatory diet can help prevent chronic spine pain as well as other health conditions, like cancer and diabetes. Foods like kale, salmon, garlic, blueberries and almonds are all packed with properties that fight inflammation.
Sometimes it’s hard to be health-conscious during a busy day, but now that you know the reasons why certain foods can hurt versus help, supporting your spinal health through diet can be easy. While a healthy diet combined with conservative treatments can typically improve neck or back symptoms, make sure to reach out to Laser Spine Institute if you haven’t found lasting relief.