Cure more than your need to eat with smarter choices and a leaner lifestyle that supports your SPINE HEALTH.
We’ve heard the old saying, “You are what you eat.” It’s a truer statement than you may realize.
Our bodies are an active chemical laboratory that continuously converts input (food, air, water) into energy that’s used for everything from walking to the refrigerator to repairing the body when it is injured. And never stops working.
That’s why nutritionists say that what you eat dictates everything about your health and wellness. I’m not just talking about your weight or whether you can still fit into your college clothes. What you eat translates all the way to your spine. And if your spine health is threatened, so is the rest of your body. This is how it happens.
Consider the condition of your body if all you eat consists of fatty foods and sugary snacks. It’ll lack the energy it needs to keep muscles healthy and trim. It won’t have the power to keep bones strong. Eventually, your entire musculoskeletal system may be threatened as it gradually loses its ability to support and stabilize your body.
Over time, if poor dietary habits are not rectified, your ability to move will be impaired as cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and joints slowly erode as they take up all the pressure and stress of supporting your body. And here’s something that may be a surprise to some: you don’t even need to be overweight to see damage to the spine from a lifetime of poor nutritional habits.
The spine is an extremely complex component of the body. There are 33 bones in this vital support system, and most of them are structural. That means your spine is the anchor point of what it takes to support and stabilize your body. In this way, your musculoskeletal system is entirely dependent upon the health of your spine.
Will better nutrition help you avoid spine problems? Yes. Even if degenerative disc disease runs in your family, you can at least delay the need for therapy or surgery. Good muscular support distributes structural pressure, much like interior and exterior walls work together to support a building. Even if a few floors are in bad shape, sound walls distribute support stresses and help keep the structure standing.
And all of this, from lifestyle choices that affect your nutritional intake.
There’s hope for remediation. If you come to see me at my office in Beverly Hills, CA, you’ll find that I’m a firm believer in rational fitness and nutrition as a means to help repair the body. You don’t have to be an athlete to reverse a lifetime of poor habits. You just have to have a willingness to be greater than better.
I’ll probably introduce you to one of my nutritionists who will introduce you to our 80-20 rule: fitness is 80% kitchen and 20% gym. What this means is that your intake of food is the most critical factor for your health and wellness. I’ll still encourage you to engage in some exercise, but your consumption of food is essential for healing your body.
You’ll be encouraged to avoid multi-ingredient foods like bread, muffins, bagels, pastries, cereal, and so on. We’ll guide you away from baked goods that include yeast, sugar, mold, and gluten. You’ll avoid packaged diet foods that advertise low or no fat and low or no sugar. These foods encourage inflammation of the joints. We don’t want that.
We’ll want you to drink plenty of water. Nutritionists advise that you should be drinking between one-half ounce to one full ounce of water per each pound you weigh, per day. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking between 10 to 19 cups of water! Per day! The simple version: eight servings of eight ounces of water per day; otherwise known as the “8×8” rule.
Depending on the state of your present metabolism and other considerations, a healthy meal can include high-fat fish (for protein), one starchy carbohydrate (sweet potatoes, rice, yams), organic poultry, fresh fruits, and fresh vegetables. There’s a debate about red meat among nutritionists. My personal experience following many of the suggestions I offer my patients is that moderation works: a moderate portion of lean steak or chicken now and then is also fine. Remember to save the biggest protein meal you eat at night several hours before bed to give your body time to rest and use resources to repair your muscle tissue.
My nutritionists advise that we all try to eliminate as much dairy from our diets as possible. Again, moderation: a splash of milk in your coffee (1-2 cups a day) is okay. Got a cappuccino habit? Limit yourself to one per day.
What do we want to do about those between-meal cravings? Consider moderate portions of raw unsalted nuts (e.g., almonds) with a piece of fruit like an apple or cup of berries. But avoid all multi-ingredient bags of crunchy snacks – even the ones that advertise “low fat” or “organic.” Most of these snacks are very high in sodium; some have quite a lot of sugar. Also in the “avoid” category: sport or energy drinks. Nearly all are loaded with sodium and sugar. They often contain caffeine to give you that “spikey” feeling, but about 2-3 hours later, you’ll crash with all that sugar still circulating around in your body.
Can we do everything we need for our spine health through nutrition? No. But it’s a big start in the right direction. Your move!