Do you suffer from back pain? Did you know that 8 in 10 people in the UK are affected with back pain at some point in their lives? Could what you eat affect your back pain? If you are suffering from chronic back pain, whether it’s upper, middle, or lower back, then this blog is for you. Read below and find out more!
Back pain is one of the most common health concerns, with over 50% of the UK population suffering from the condition.
This condition can vary from muscle aches to stabbing sensations, shooting pain, and even tingling. It is possible for these sensations to increase with either walking, prolonged standing, bending, and lifting.
Some of the causes of back pain include:
- Bulging or rupturing of disks
- Muscle or ligament pain
What to eat for back pain?
The majority of the time, chronic pain is the result of chronic inflammation; during an injury, your body usually sends the immune system a message to send white blood cells to the affected areas to fight the infection or repair. When this is fixed, inflammation subsides, but there are occasions where the immune system stays ‘on’, and over time, this can damage healthy cells as well as the pain in muscles, tissues, and joints.
Below is a list of foods to eat to reduce inflammation which will aid in managing back pain.
- Essential fatty acids found in cold-water, oily fish: salmon, tuna, halibut, sardines. These are great in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Use oils like olive oil, coconut oil, and rapeseed oil.
- Fruits including berries and pineapple (contains anti-inflammatory bromelain)
- Vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens (lots of cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts).
- Flax seeds, hemp seeds, and chia seeds.
- Some herbs contain strong anti-inflammatory properties which are great for back pain.
- Ginger – can help with joint and muscle pain; rich in phytochemicals, which reduces inflammation. The active components in ginger include gingerol, shoal, and paradol.
- White willow bark – contains pain-relieving properties similar to aspirin, salicin. When ingested, this is converted in the body to salicylic acid.
- Turmeric – the active component of turmeric is curcumin which reduces inflammation. My tip is to have turmeric with black pepper as this can increase the absorption in the body. Another way to increase the bioavailability of turmeric is to consume a source of omega-3 fat, (avocado, nuts, fish, etc.). This allows curcumin to be directly absorbed into the bloodstream. Below are some tips on how to add turmeric into your meals:
- Add pepper and turmeric to scrambled eggs
- Use in soups
- Add to salad dressing
- Blend turmeric into smoothies
- Add to rice
Top vitamins and minerals for back pain
- Vitamin C – helps reduce back pain, and also increases the absorption of calcium. Also, this water-soluble vitamin helps to heal fractures, broken bones, and wounds.
- Vitamin D – studies show that vitamin D intake can lessen the spasms in your lower back.
- Vitamins B1, B6, and B12 – findings show that these vitamins reduce your lower back pain; they do this by healing inflamed nerves and also strengthen and nerves to help them heal and prevent further damage.
- Magnesium – promotes relaxation, lowers muscle spasms, and maintains proper nerve and muscle function.
- Calcium – known as a building block for bones.
What foods should I be avoiding?
- Refined carbohydrates (like white bread and white pasta)
- Tried foods (trans fats)
- Soda and other artificially-sweetened beverages
- Red meat, especially very fatty meat
- Processed meat
- Excessive alcohol
- Foods high in sodium
Some of my favorite anti-inflammatory recipes
I have included some great anti-inflammatory recipes, which I hope you will all enjoy. If you have any allergies or intolerance to any of the ingredients in the recipes, then please avoid and replace them with what you can tolerate.
Spice roasted chickpeas and edamame beans – perfect for snacking on!
- 400g can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
- 400g packet frozen edamame, thawed, podded
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 2 teaspoons ground paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- Pinch cayenne pepper
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper.
Spread chickpeas on a double thickness of paper towel and gently rub to remove as much moisture as possible. Repeat with the edamame until dry. Transfer the chickpeas and edamame to a large bowl.
Spray with oil and coat.
Sprinkle it with turmeric, paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper.
Bake, tossing halfway for 40 minutes until crisp.
Creamy coconut rice
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked white jasmine rice*
- 2 1/4 cup low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup shallot, finely diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 cups roughly chopped baby bok choy (or any other cruciferous veg)
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp sea salt, more to taste
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 2–3 green onions, diced
Firstly, cook the rice. Stir the rice with the vegetable broth; bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Heat a large pan.
Pour in the olive oil, then slightly reduce heat and stir in the shallot and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then stir in bok choy, spinach, and all of the seasonings. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Reduce heat and pour in coconut milk.
Stir and allow to simmer with the vegetables for 5 minutes.
Turn off heat, and stir in rice once it is done cooking.
Vegan chili (anti-inflammatory)
- 2 tsp avocado oil
- 2 leeks, white part only
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large butternut squash, peel and diced
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary
- 4 cups kale, chopped
- 2 cups quinoa, cooked and cooled
Add 1 tsp avocado oil to the skillet over medium heat. Add sliced leeks and minced garlic cooking for 3-4 minutes until tender.
Add cubed butternut squash and cook 5-8 minutes until browned.
Pour in vegetable broth and add minced rosemary. Bring to a simmer then lower to medium. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the squash is tender. Add more broth if needed to keep the squash just covered.
Once squash is cooked, add chopped kale and simmer for additional 2-3 minutes until wilted. Turn off heat and add cooked and cooled quinoa.
If this resonates with you then…
Take advantage of our 15-minute sessions either with a Nutritionist, designed to give you the support you need with your concerns and to get you started on your road to recovery. Find very quick and effective results!
At Perfect Balance Clinic, our Nutritionists will provide you with an important assessment of your condition and discuss many routes to explore for optimum health. Our assessment covers important aspects that most practitioners seem to miss in normal sessions with their clients. This allows us to accelerate your recovery!
Simply use the contact form below to provide us with your details to get booked in.