A nutrient-rich diet is important to keep the whole body healthy. It will help the body recover from inflammation, especially if you suffer from any lower back pain or are recovering from a recent surgery.
Generally, eating junk food and fast food interfere with our health. According to this Washington Post article, a review of studies on fast food and heart health found having fast food more than once a week was linked to a higher risk of obesity, while eating fast food more than twice a week was associated with a higher risk of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and death from coronary heart disease.
The good news is that every healthy meal counts. Spine-health.com said that consuming a balanced diet with the right amount and variety of vitamins and nutrients can reduce back problems. This kind of diet nourishes the bones, muscles, discs, and other structures in the spine.
Know the nutrients that you need
Luckily, the essential nutrients that promote recovery can be found in the food aisles of grocery stores. Although there is much debate opting for organic or conventional food, the bottom line is that eating healthy fights inflammation, which is important for a pain-free body.
Here are some of the key nutrients that you need to know:
1. L-arginine -- A Medical News Today article explained that like other amino acids, L-arginine plays a role in building protein. The body can use the protein to help build muscle and rebuild tissue. As a result, researchers have investigated the effectiveness of L-arginine in the treatment of severe wounds and tissue waste in serious illnesses.
The body naturally produces this amino acid. However, aging and certain medical conditions might limit the natural production of L-arginine that the body needs. In this case, supplements and nutrition come into the picture.
Arginine is found naturally in nuts and seeds, legumes, and meats, particularly turkey meat.
Lists of glutamine-rich foods vary. But a Livestrong.com story cited that animal protein, including poultry, pork, beef, milk, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, raw spinach, cabbage, and raw parsley.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids -- An expert cited in The Daily Express article noted that omega-3 supplements can reduce the painful symptoms of backache by reducing inflammation.
The Harvard Health Publishing noted that a seafood-heavy diet is rich in the polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids -- eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Since then, investigators have homed in on omega-3s -- not just for their cardiovascular benefits, but also for their potential effects on thinking ability, vision and inflammation.
It further said that EPA and DHA are primarily found in fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, and anchovies.
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is converted to EPA by the body but only in small amounts, comes from vegetable oils, nuts, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, and leafy vegetables.
4. Nucleotides -- The National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine explained that nucleotides are required for cell growth and replication.
A Livestrong.com article said that the sources of nucleotides are grains, meats, fish, nuts, legumes, fruits and vegetables, fruit juices, and milk.
5. Antioxidants -- This Harvard Health Publishing article described antioxidants as a general term for any compound that can counteract unstable molecules called free radicals that damage DNA, cell membranes, and other parts of cells.
MayoClinic.org noted that antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E and carotenoids, may help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.Free radicals break down cells over time and can cause the body's defense to weaken against diseases. They are also responsible for causing signs of aging like wrinkling as reported by the Medical News Today.
The article went on to say that other naturally occurring antioxidants include flavonoids, tannins, phenols, and lignans. Plant-based foods are the best sources. These include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices, and even cocoa.
A healthy lifestyle is still important
Maintaining a balanced lifestyle is essential not just for the back but for the whole body. Eating right, exercising every day, sitting less, and avoiding smoking will also help you to achieve optimal health.