World Spinal Cord Injury Day is observed on 5 September every year. Initiated by the International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS) in 2016, the day aims to increase awareness amongst the general public, to facilitate an 'inclusive life for persons with disability and ensure greater chances of success of prevention programmes.'
The 2020 theme for SCI Day is Covid-19 and SCI: Staying Well, with an elevated focus on the prevention of Covid-19 for persons with spinal cord injury. The spine acts as a link between your brain and the body. Spine has been often an overlooked part of our body, no matter whether we consider daily care or special care.
Read on to know about the foods for a healthy spine.
Nutrition And Spinal Health
A healthy diet is vital for the healthy functioning of the spine. Consume foods that are rich in calcium and other nutrients and vitamins that can play a significant role in preventing spinal problems like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis . While looking for tips for spinal health, you can never go to any other successful steps without including a healthy diet on the top list.
Eating a balanced diet with the right amount and variety of vitamins can help reduce the risk of developing spine-related issues by nourishing the muscles, bones, discs and other parts in the spine . It is essential to add all the necessary vitamins and other nutrients in your diet; however, today, we will be focusing on exploring the suitable diet beneficial for spinal health.
Health experts point out that spinal health is directly and intensely related to nutritional status. That is, the body's ability to digest and absorb nutrients can directly affect spinal pain, skeletal integrity and the healing of the spine from surgery or any injury .
Certain foods are packed with what your back needs to remain healthy and strong, and they are as follow. Let's take a look.
1. Calcium Foods
Termed as the single most necessary mineral for your bone health, calcium plays a significant role in improving your overall health as well. The mineral is critical for growing new bone and maintaining your bone strength . A proper level of calcium in your diet can help prevent osteoporosis, suggesting the importance of including calcium-rich foods into your daily diet.
For calcium in your diet, add the following foods into your diet:
- Leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, collard greens, kale, and spinach 
- Legumes like black beans, peanuts and baked beans 
- Fishes like sardines and salmon
- Dairy products like milk, yoghurt and cheese
2. Vitamin D Foods
Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin plays a major role in calcium absorption into the bones and a deficiency of this vitamin can result in softening of the bones . Vitamin D and calcium go hand-in-hand because your body needs Vitamin D to absorb calcium properly . You can incorporate the following foods into your diet for the required amount of the vitamin and thereby avoid the onset of any spine-related issues.
- Fishes like mackerel, salmon and tuna
- Dairy products like milk, butter and yoghurt
- Cod liver oil 
- Orange juice
- Soy products like soy milk, soy chunks, soy butter etc.
3. Magnesium Foods
Magnesium is a key mineral in the structure of the bone matrix and plays a central role in the health of your spine . It also helps to maintain muscle mass right along with bone density. For a good amount of magnesium supply through foods, incorporate the following foods in your diet.
- Seeds such as sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and flax seeds
- Pinto beans, black beans and chickpea
- Fruits like kiwi, avocado and bananas
- Whole grains such as brown rice, whole-grain pasta and whole wheat bread
- Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach and broccoli
4. Plant-based Proteins
If you are a vegan or a vegetarian (or even a non-vegetarian), incorporating plant-based protein to your diet is a great way to improve your spine health . One of the plus points of plant-based protein is that unlike animal-based proteins, these do not cause inflammation in the body . Get your protein from foods like chia seeds, lentils, tofu, chickpeas and beans.
5. Herbs And Spices
Studies show that certain herbs and spices are useful for improving spinal health . Turmeric, cinnamon, rosemary, basil and ginger are some of the most effective herbs and spices that help fight inflammation and fix damaged tissues. You can include these in your diet by adding in salads or any dishes and also by making herbal teas like ginger tea, turmeric tea etc.
Several studies have stated that avocados are essentially beneficial for spinal health . Avocados are packed with healthy fats, fibre and potassium - making it one of the best foods for your spine . However, do keep in mind not to overeat (more than 2 per day) as avocados are 'fatty' foods.
Some of the other foods that can be beneficial for improving your spinal health and preventing the onset of spinal health problems are as follows :
- Vitamin B12 foods such as eggs, fish, poultry or meat products, and dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese.
- Iron-rich foods such as liver, pork, fish and shellfish, red meat, and poultry; green leafy vegetables; and lentils; beans; soy; eggs; and whole grains.
- Vitamin C (necessary for collagen) foods such as strawberries, kiwi and citrus fruits (oranges, guavas, grapefruits), as well as in many vegetables such as tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, red and green peppers, and sweet potatoes .
Note: As vitamin B12 is not found in plants, vegetarians should consider supplementing to prevent anaemia.
On A Final Note…
Remember that there is no point in trying for supportive measures after your spine is in danger. So, make spine care a part of your daily routine as this will help prevent any future complications.