24 March 2019
A well-balanced diet is the foundation of health. Photo: Reuters
A well-balanced diet is the foundation of health. Photo: Reuters

Diet and nutrition for a healthy lower back

A well-balanced diet is the foundation of health. Many ailments can be corrected through proper meal planning. Here is a list of food nutrients that are indispensable to our health and especially to a healthy lower back.

1. Protein

Protein makes up the bulk of ligaments and muscles. It strengthens muscles and bones and helps repair strained muscles and reduce fatigue. It also contributes to blood formation. Deficiency in protein may cause insufficient blood supply and poor blood circulation. Protein is abundant in the following food items — soy products such as soybean and dairy products such as cheese, eggs, and milk.

2. Vitamin B-complex

Vitamin B-complex has proven to reduce muscle pain and fatigue. Some vitamin B-complex rich food includes cereal grains such as whole grain products, brown rice, and malt; nuts such as almonds and peanuts.

3. Vitamin C

Back strain is usually caused by weak and inelastic waist disc muscles and ligaments. The formation of connective tissues between intervertebral discs requires massive vitamin C. An adequate intake of Vitamin C builds strong connective tissues which help prevent back injury. Rich vitamin C can be found in vegetables like green pepper and cabbage.

4. Vitamin D

Deficiency in Vitamin D is associated with the loss of bone density, which causes pain in limbs and upper back. Vitamin D can facilitate absorption of calcium and prevent bone loss. Food items that are vitamin D rich include meat products, milk, fruits, vegetables, cheese and egg yolk.

5. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is essential for normal neurological function. It also helps dilation of blood vessels and improves blood circulation which can alleviate the lower back pain caused by exposure to cold weather.

A sufficient intake of vitamin E can soothe out the tightness in muscles and relieve lower back pain. Food items that are high in Vitamin E content include cereal grains such as wheat germs and brown rice; nuts such as almond, peanut, and sesame.

6. Calcium

Lower back pain in middle-aged or senior citizens is closely associated with osteoporosis. The mineral is a crucial building block of bone structures. A total of 1000mg of calcium is the recommended daily intake for adults whose bone mass is slowly but consistently losing as they age. Food with high calcium content includes soy products, dairy products, milk, seaweed, dried shrimps, oysters, leafy green vegetables and small dried fish.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Jan 31

Translation by John Chui

[Chinese version 中文版]

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