Our bodies rely on the nutrients from the foods we eat to function, repair and heal, and for maintenance. For people dealing with spine conditions such as lumbar disc herniation, proper nutrition is important. A disc herniation is a result of a crack in the spinal disc, causing the gel-like material to protrude, causing pain and nerve irritation.
While medical treatment is essential, adopting a healthy diet can also support the healing process for lumbar disc herniation patients and help with easing the symptoms of the condition. Before incorporating new foods into your diet, make sure to consult with your doctor first.
In this blog, we will explore some of the foods that can help lumbar disc herniation patients reduce pain and inflammation levels in their body and support better spinal health.
Choose Anti-inflammatory Foods
Inflammation is one of the key factors contributing to pain and discomfort associated with lumbar disc herniation. Certain foods have the potential to affect your body’s inflammatory response and immune system. An increase in inflammatory response can also cause an increase in pain, the same way lowering the levels can help with decreasing pain.
It is advisable to steer clear of foods that trigger the release of inflammatory markers and instead choose those that combat oxidative stress. Examples include:
- Fatty Fish: Omega-3 fatty acids have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which fish like salmon, sardines, anchovies, and tuna are rich in.
- Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, and cherries are packed with antioxidants, which may help in managing inflammation levels in the body.
- Leafy Greens: Spinach, kale, and other leafy greens can also help fight inflammation.
- Turmeric: This golden spice contains a compound called curcumin, which has potent anti-inflammatory effects. Indian dishes such as curry are rich in turmeric.
- Ginger: Known for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, ginger can be consumed fresh, as a tea, or in capsules.
Choose Nutrient-Dense Foods
Nutrients boost your body’s healing process. Opt for nutrient-dense foods that provide your body essential vitamins and minerals, such as:
- Lean proteins: Chicken breast, turkey, tofu, and beans are excellent sources of lean protein necessary for tissue repair.
- Whole grains: Incorporate whole grain products, such as brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat bread, to provide essential fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
- Healthy fats: Avocado, nuts, and olive oil contain healthy fats that support the body’s natural anti-inflammatory response.
- Dairy or alternatives: Choose low-fat dairy products or alternatives like almond milk or oat milk, which provide calcium and vitamin D for bone health.
Keep Yourself Hydrated
Water helps transport nutrients in the body and keeps the spinal discs lubricated. Drinking at least eight glasses of water per day is the general guideline. To increase hydration levels, eat hydrating fruits such as watermelon and cucumbers.
Limit Consumption of Inflammation-Causing Foods
While it’s important to focus on anti-inflammatory foods, also try to limit or avoid foods that may increase levels of inflammation in the body, such as:
- Processed and fried foods: Fried chicken and French fries are examples of fast food items that are typically high in unhealthy fats and may be inflammatory.
- Sugary foods and beverages: There are studies that show a connection between excessive intake of sugary food items and metabolic disorders like diabetes, which cause chronic inflammation and may worsen back pain symptoms.
- High-sodium foods: Studies have also shown that a high sodium diet prompts immune cells to produce more proinflammatory cytokines. High sodium food items are smoked and cured meats, canned meats, and salted nuts.
- Trans fats: Found in many processed snacks and fast food, trans fats are known to promote inflammation. Foods high in trans fats include baked goods, microwave dinners, and butter.
Lumbar Disc Herniation Doctor in Rochester Hills, MI
For the comprehensive treatment of painful lumbar disc herniation, schedule an appointment with Dr. Bradley D. Ahlgren at Ahlgren Spine – one of the premier spinal surgeons in the region. Dr. Ahlgren will create a treatment plan just for you, which will include individualized recommendations on nutrition and other advanced pain-relieving techniques.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Ahlgren, call our office today at (248) 215-8080 or use our online form. We look forward to helping you achieve relief from lower back pain.