Degenerative Disk Disease Diet: Consider Calories Nutrition, & Fiber

If you have degenerative disc disease, your diet can play a major role in how you feel and in the progression of your disease. The health of your spinal discs is impacted by what you eat and by what you avoid in your daily degenerative disc disease diet.Care, Degenerative Disk Disease Diet2-1

One critical piece of effectively coping with degenerative disc disease is managing your weight. Extra body weight adds an extra burden to your spinal discs, which are already under stress. Maintaining or achieving your weight within a healthy range is an important part of taking care of your spinal health. A degenerative disc disease diet can help.

Degenerative Disc Disease Diet: Calories

The number of calories you need daily in your degenerative disc disease diet depends on many factors. Some of these are:

  • Your age
  • What type of body frame you have
  • Your sex
  • Your daily level of activity
  • Your weight loss goals

Your doctor can help you in deciding how many calories you need to consume in your degenerative disc disease diet. Calories help to determine how much energy foods provide, but they have little to say about the value of the food. Some calories are “empty.” This means when you eat or drink something that has a lot of calories, like a regular carbonated beverage, it may supply energy (carbohydrates or sugar) to the cells, but doesn't provide vitamins, protein, or other nutrients the body needs.  

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Degenerative Disc Disease Diet: Nutrition

Instead of coming from “empty” calories, the primary source of energy in a degenerative disc diet comes from:

  • Lean protein. This includes skinless chicken and turkey, fish, legumes, and beans.
  • Whole grains. These are carbohydrates, but rather than being "empty," they contain fiber and other essential nutrients.
  • Low- or no-fat dairy products. Like milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese.
  • Vegetables. Fresh or steamed are best.
  • Fruit. Twice daily is best. Avoid fruit juices and fruit drinks.
  • Healthy fats: Olive oil is great for cooking, or for light salad dressings.

Degenerative Disc Disease Diet: Fiber

Painful back disorders sometimes result in constipation due to medications and decreased activity. Including fiber in your degenerative disc disease diet can help prevent constipation.

To increase the amount of fiber in your diet, make sure to consume plenty of raw fruits, raw vegetables, and choose whole grain breads and cereals. When shopping, read food labels and choose items that contain at least 2 grams per serving of fiber.

Increasing your intake of fiber too quickly can cause abdominal distress, so do this slowly to avoid cramping.

Water is also critical on a degenerative disc disease diet. Make sure you are drinking at least eight large glasses of water every day.

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