By Dr. Igor Yusupov
There are so many considerations when it comes to the food we eat. Where did the food come from? Is it organic or fair-trade? How many calories will it add to my day? What are the benefits of eating this versus eating something else? These are probably questions you’ve asked yourself before sitting down to break bread, but have you ever wondered how your diet impacts your nervous system or bone health?
Maintaining healthy bones – especially the spine – is something that you’ll be grateful for as you age. Diet has a significant impact on the overall wellbeing of our skeletal and neurological systems, but it’s something you should think about now to ensure future health. Here are a few tips to consider:
- Cultivate a diet high in calcium. Women are at particularly high risk of osteoporosis – a disorder in the body where the bones become weak and brittle – as they age, but it can affect men as well. A diet high in calcium, along with moderate exercise, can help to stave off the disease, which can wreak havoc on the spine and hips, causing pinched and painful nerves or even spinal fractures. Talk to your doctor to see if you’re at risk and to determine if you have enough calcium in your diet. For most women, it’s advisable to take a calcium supplement that also contains vitamin D.
- Prioritize foods that are nutrient rich. A balanced diet rich in vitamins, complex carbohydrates and essential fatty acids is good for overall wellness and the long-term health of the spine and bones. Focus on whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and low-fat protein sources.
- Balance the food groups. Having the appropriate amount of sustenance from each of the five food groups will help keep your neurological system at peak performance, improving cognition, memory and focus. Additionally, eating fewer high-fat foods will prevent plaque build-up in the bloodstream that can lead to stroke.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight puts unnecessary stress on all of the joints, including the spine. This stress results in accelerated wear and tear on connective tissue. In the lower back, this can lead to various problems, including bulging or herniated discs.
- Stay hydrated. In today’s caffeine-fueled society, it can be hard to put down the coffee cup and pick up a glass of water. But our bodies are about 60 percent water, and drinking it is vital to keeping things running smoothly. Joint connections inevitably dry as we age, creating problems; but that damage can be mitigated by staying hydrated.
Many of these potential problems can be addressed with minimally invasive surgery, but it’s better to avoid surgical solutions in the first place by staying healthy and maintaining a well-balanced diet.
Dr. Igor Yusupov founded Arizona Brain and Spine Center in 2010. A neurosurgeon committed to minimally invasive techniques that allow for faster recovery, Dr. Igor’s practice also specializes in neuro-vascular, neuro-oncology, and complex spinal deformity.