604.739.2118 spinehealth@shaw.ca

In today’s society, time is such a commodity.   The convenience of getting fast food precedes the importance over the quality of food.  What we eat makes what we are, the basic and important building blocks of life.  The type of food you eat determines how strong your spine is.  When we indulge during the Chinese New Year, we should reward our bodies with proper nutrition and a well balance diet.

proper-nutrition-for-back-painThe spine is made of 24 vertebrae.  Between each vertebra is a disc made of tough cartilage with a fluid filled center.  To keep the bone strong, Calcium (dairy products, spinach, broccoli, tofu and salmon) and Vitamin D (milk, egg yolk fish oil and sunlight) are important.  The discs are made up of 80% water which means drinking a lot of water is good.   This is also good for the spinal cord which is comprised of 60% water.  If you have a bad back, try to avoid drinking alcohol, coffee or tea.  Consuming these fluids will dehydrate the body.

Inflammation in the ligaments, tendons and muscles can also be related to what you eat.  Factors that will increase your risk for pain and inflammation are lack of omega-3 fatty acids (sardines, salmon, flax seeds and walnuts), fruits and vegetables, vitamin D, potassium and magnesium, and too much of sweets and starches (white bread, pasta and noodles), hydrogenated fats (fried food and snack food) and processed foods (luncheon meat and sausages, cookies and snack cakes, potato chips and French fries).  Even white rice is not the healthiest choice.   It is made of refined flour and offers very little nutrition in return for raising your blood sugar, and it could be loaded with preservatives too. A better choice would be a wild rice blends.  They take a little longer to cook and they do cost more, but they’re healthier and tastier. These dietary choices will help create healthier repairs for inflammation and back pain.

In addition to good nutrition, there are also other negative factors that can affect the health of our body.  Obesity can not only cause diabetes and cardiovascular disease, it can also increase stress the spine.  Smoking can decrease important nutrients and oxygen to the body that are necessary for healing.  And long term exposure to stress, such as an unhappy work place, can also decrease the ability for the body to heal and protect itself.

Eating well does not just affect your back, but it helps your whole body.  Good nutrition and a little exercise can do wonders to your health.  In the year of the snake we should aim for healthier choices.  For more information on diet or exercise, Dr. Kenny Chan can be reached at 604-739-2118 or spinehealth@rogers.com.