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World Spine Day: Foods That Will Help You Recover Faster From Spinal Cord Injury

A person is said to have spinal cord injury when there is damage to any part of the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal cord, leading to temporary or permanent changes in its function. The symptoms may include loss of sensation, loss of muscle function or autonomic function in the parts of the body.

The most common causes of spinal cord injury are violent acts, motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, falls, and other diseases such as osteoporosis, inflammation, arthritis, and cancer.

A person with spinal cord injury should consume nutrient-rich foods as they help in the recovery process.

Foods For Faster Recovery From Spinal Cord Injury

1. Oily fishes

A study showed that omega 3 fatty acids found in oily fishes could play an important role in speeding up recovery and help promote bone regeneration after spinal cord injury [1] . Consume oily fishes like salmon, mackerel, trout, and sardines as they are a good source of vitamin A and D as well.

2. Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits such as oranges, kiwis, grapefruits, and strawberries contain vitamin C which is vital for healing injured muscles, ligaments, tendons, and intervertebral disc. It also aids in the formation of collagen found in the bones, skin, muscles and tendons [2] .

3. Dark leafy greens

Magnesium found in green leafy vegetables like kale, collard greens, and spinach help in promoting bone growth and neurological health, which is necessary for the recovery of spinal cord injury [3] .

A study showed that eating green or yellow vegetables can help people with spinal cord injury recovery. Broccoli, avocados, Brussels sprouts and collard greens contain vitamin K2 and magnesium and calcium which helps in the formation of bones in the spine [5] .

4. Nuts

Include nuts into your diet as they are packed full of omega 3 fatty acids, fibre, calcium, vitamin E, magnesium, and phosphorous which are essential for the formation and strengthening of bones. Have nuts like cashews, almonds and walnuts as they will help in the recovery process.

A study found that almond skins aids in reducing the development of inflammation and tissue injury, which is useful in the treatment of spinal cord injury [4] .

10 Health Benefits Of Eating Soaked Almonds In The Morning

5. Beans

Beans contain magnesium, fibre and protein that aid in the recovery of the spinal cord injury. Also, people with spinal cord injury experience bladder and bowel problems. So, including beans in your diet aids in digestion and prevents constipation.

6. Dairy products

Dairy products like cheese, yogurt and milk are an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D which aid in building and maintaining strong bones. It also assists in maintaining bone density and strengthens the muscles that support the spine [5] .

Tips For People With Spinal Cord Injury

  • Consume 15-30 grams of fibre per day.
  • Drink 1.5 litres of water every day.
  • If you experience gas, limit the consumption of foods like cauliflower, radishes, dried beans, Brussels sprouts, raisins, bananas, peas, onions, celery and cabbage.
  • Avoid foods that can cause constipation like white bread, cottage cheese, skimmed or low-fat milk, and meat.

Always keep in mind that eating foods rich in a high amount of nutrients benefit your physical and mental health. A healthy diet, body and mind are necessary for a happy recovery.

View Article References
  1. [1] Lim, P. A., & Tow, A. M. (2007). Recovery and regeneration after spinal cord injury: a review and summary of recent literature.Annals-Academy of Medicine Singapore,36(1), 49.
  2. [2] Wang, W. G., Xiu, R. J., Xu, Z. W., Yin, Y. X., Feng, Y., Cao, X. C., & Wang, P. S. (2015). Protective effects of Vitamin C against spinal cord injury-induced renal damage through suppression of NF-κB and proinflammatory cytokines.Neurological Sciences,36(4), 521-526.
  3. [3] Süzer, T., Coskun, E., Islekel, H., & Tahta, K. (1999). Neuroprotective effect of magnesium on lipid peroxidation and axonal function after experimental spinal cord injury.Spinal cord,37(7), 480.
  4. [4] Mandalari, G., Genovese, T., Bisignano, C., Mazzon, E., Wickham, M. S. J., Di Paola, R., ... & Cuzzocrea, S. (2011). Neuroprotective effects of almond skins in experimental spinal cord injury.Clinical Nutrition,30(2), 221-233.
  5. [5] Tsunoda, N., Inayama, T., Hata, K., & Oka, J. (2015). Vegetable dishes, dairy products and fruits are key items mediating adequate dietary intake for Japanese adults with spinal cord injury.Spinal cord,53(11), 786.
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