A special spinal stenosis diet won’t be able to correct the narrowing that has already occurred in the disorder, but keeping your diet within a healthy range can help reduce the stress on your spine. Keeping your discs, vertebrae, and back muscles healthy and as stress-free as possible can help decrease pain and other symptoms caused by spinal stenosis. Diets that promote gradual weight loss if needed while providing essential nutrients, like a spinal stenosis diet, are essential for good health.
Spinal Stenosis Diet: Carbohydrates and Fats
A low-fat diet that contains adequate amounts of complex carbohydrates provides your body with energy without adding extra calories. A spinal stenosis diet includes plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, whole-grain breads and cereals, and dried beans.
The majority of a spinal stenosis diet is made up of vegetables and rounded out with fruit and whole-grain carbohydrates. Whole-grain carbohydrates include foods like whole-grain pastas and breads and brown rice. Avoid anything baked or prepared with white flour.
A spinal stenosis diet means avoiding full-fat dairy products. Instead, substitute low- or no-fat dairy. Instead of animal-based fat, like lard, use plant-based oils, like olive oil, on a spinal stenosis diet.
Spinal Stenosis Diet: Protein
Protein is necessary on a spinal stenosis diet to help maintain muscle. Your spinal health depends on strong back, leg, and abdominal muscles for support and posture. Grown men need 56 grams of protein daily and 46 grams are needed by adult women on a spinal stenosis diet.
Sources of protein to include in a spinal stenosis diet include:
Spinal Stenosis: Minerals and Vitamins
Including adequate amounts of essential vitamins and minerals in your spinal stenosis diet may help reduce the inflammation and pain caused by the condition. The following foods are especially good choices and should be eaten often:
These food items all contain calcium and vitamins A, C, D, and the B-complex vitamins. Calcium is vital for your bone health and may help prevent the degenerative conditions common in spinal disorders. You need vitamin D in your spinal stenosis diet to help your body absorb calcium.
Spinal Stenosis Diet: What to Drink
Water! If you have spinal stenosis, hydration is especially to your spinal stenosis diet. When the spinal (intervertebral) discs degenerate and dehydrate, they lose the ability to cushion and protect the bones of the spine. This can lead to spinal cord or nerve root compression, pain and loss of movement.
Stay hydrated by drinking frequently throughout the day and with meals. You need at least eight large glasses of water daily in addition to other beverages you drink on your spinal stenosis diet. If you don’t enjoy plain water, try flavoring it with a squeeze of lemon, or pour ice water over a slice of lime, fresh berries or mint leaves.
Avoid or try to limit caffeine and alcohol in your spinal stenosis diet. These beverages can contribute to dehydration.
A healthy spinal stenosis diet may seem complicated, but you don’t have to make all the recommended changes at once. Take it slow. Make one change at a time in your spinal stenosis diet to reduce your pain and improve your quality of life.
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