There are many causes of back pain including poor posture, having to stand or sit for long periods of time or injury. It is important to keep both joints and bones healthy to minimise pain and inflammation, so here are some nutrition tips and suggestions to support your skeletal system:
- Eat a varied, wholefood diet. Include whole grains such as brown rice, millet, quinoa, vegetables, beans, pulses, soya products, fish, seeds, free range eggs and fresh fruit.
- Eat a variety of calcium rich foods. Include limited amounts of dairy produce as well as grains, sea vegetables, sesame and pumpkin seeds, almonds, dried figs, broccoli and dark green leafy vegetables.
- Include oily fish, nuts and seeds. These foods contain the essential fatty acids vital for bone and joint health.
- Include soya beans and soya products. These foods contain nutrients which help to improve bone mineral density.
- Ensure that stomach acids are maintained. Over the age of 40 our ability to produce stomach acid and digest foods well diminishes. Poor digestion can lead to poor absorption of essential for vitamins and minerals. Sipping a dessertspoon of lemon juice in a small amount of warm water 10 minutes before eating can aid digestion.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Approx 6-8 glasses. Image
- Food to avoid or reduce in your diet
- Animal protein and starchy carbohydrates. These foods contribute to the acid environment in the body causing calcium to be leached from bones.
- Salt. This causes increased amounts of calcium to be excreted.
Refined carbohydrates. Foods such as sweets, cakes, pastries etc lack essential minerals and are generally low in nutrients.
- Stimulants. Foods such as sugar, tea, coffee and alcohol have been linked to bone loss.
- Leave half an hour after eating before drinking tea because it can affect vitamin and mineral absorption from your food.
- Foods that cause inflammation. These include red meat, dairy produce, fried food and saturated fats.
- Self help tips
- Take regular weight-bearing exercise. This is essential for healthy bones. Weight-bearing exercise includes, brisk walking, skipping, tennis, aerobics. However, do not exercise excessively – take professional advice from a personal trainer or your chiropractor as to which exercises are suitable for you.
- Expose the skin to sunlight. This stimulates the synthesis of vitamin D, a vital nutrient for calcium absorption but make sure you use sunscreen where necessary.
- Do not smoke.
- Keep stress at bay.