Adding Vitamins and Minerals to Your Diet to Promote Back Health

Five Quick Fixes for a Healthy Diet from the LESS Institute spinal center of excellence

You may never have considered diet as a way to promote back health, but what you eat is most certainly an influence in whether or not your back is feeling up to par. Consuming enough nutrition – through back-health promoting vitamins and minerals – is crucial in the development, maintenance, and improvement of your bone, muscle, and disc health. Review this list of vitamins and minerals – whose back relief benefits we’ve highlighted – and find out where you can access these (easy, healthy recipes linked accordingly) to start promoting your best back, today!

Vitamin A

  • Vitamin A helps repair tissue and aids in the formation of bone.
  • Examples of sources high in vitamin A include: beef liver, carrots, sweet potato, kale, spinach, broccoli
To note: more than the recommended amount of vitamin A (about 900 mg daily for men and 700 mg daily for women) can promote bone fractures, so beware of excess intake.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

  • Vitamin B3, also referred to as Niacin, can help maintain a healthy nervous system, which is important for many spine conditions.
  • Good sources: turkey, chicken breast, peanuts, mushrooms, lamb liver, tuna

Vitamin B12

  • Vitamin B12 is crucial for healthy bone marrow and for the spine to grow and function.
  • It reduces pressure in your back and eases chronic back pain.
  • Good sources: clams, beef liver, mackerel, crab, tofu, bran cereal

Vitamin C

  • Vitamin C is necessary for the development of collagen, which allows cells to be able to form into tissue.
  • It is important in the healing process for injuries involving tendons, ligaments, discs, bones, wounds, and burns.
  • It increases calcium absorption in the body to promote strong bones and protects your back from damaging free radicals.
  • Good sources: oranges, red peppers, kale, brussels sprouts, broccoli, strawberries

Vitamin D

  • Vitamin D is important for the development of healthy bones, aiding in calcium absorption to help prevent osteoporosis.
  • It produces new bone cells, decreases inflammation in the body, and can lessen spasms in the lower back.
  • Good sources: sunlight, sardines, salmon, mackerel, tuna, soy milk

Vitamin E

  • Vitamin E can help alleviate lower back pain as a powerful antioxidant that fights off free radicals.
  • It increases the antioxidant reaction in your body and reduces muscle pain and soreness by repairing damaged tissue.
  • Good sources: almonds, spinach, sweet potato, avocado, wheat germ, sunflower seeds

Vitamin K

  • Vitamin K is needed for the bones to properly use calcium, which in turn aids in the strength of healthy bones.
  • Good sources: dried basil, kale, onions, brussels sprouts, chili powder, asparagus

Calcium

  • Calcium is essential for bone health and building strong bones, helping to maintain the necessary level of bone mass and prevent osteoporosis.
  • Good sources: watercress, mozzarella, milk, yogurt, bok choy, tofu

Iron

  • Iron aids in the production of myoglobin, an important element of healthy muscles needed to support the spine.
  • Good sources: squash and pumpkin seeds, chicken liver, oysters, mussels, clams, nuts

Magnesium

  • Magnesium helps maintain muscle tone and bone density, which can aid in the prevention of back problems.
  • It is also a factor in prevention of calcium deficiency and osteoporosis.
  • Good sources: raw spinach, squash and pumpkin seeds, mackerel, soy beans, brown rice, avocado

Omega-3 fatty acids

  • Omega-3 fatty acids can help inflammation that cause back pain.
  • Good sources: cold pressed flaxseed oil, salmon, chia seeds, walnuts, caviar, mackerel

Other sources that could be helpful…

Devil’s Claw

  • Devil’s Claw comes from a native African plant and can reduce flare-ups of chronic low back pain.
  • The ingredients in this plant may be effective in reducing back pain, because it’s chemicals may decrease inflammation and swelling that cause the pain

Capsaicin

  • Capsaicin is the agent that gives hot peppers their heat, and this ingredient can be applied, using a cream, to relieve back pain.

Turmeric

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