UMA Global Foods

Nutrition and spine health


Blog > Nutrition and spine health

Nutrition and spine health

The spine is made up of 33 individual bones, with a myriad of tissues, muscles, joints, roots and intervertebral discs that interplay together to help in our daily movement. While there are several types of spinal injuries, we want to focus on the issue of disc health.

These intervertebral discs are mainly made up of collagen and proteoglycans, gel-like substances that hold the spines together and function as a shock absorber. To understand disc health is to understand the chemistry between the two.

Disc degradation happens as part of everyday wear and tear. When damaged, our body naturally synthesises and replaces the collagen and proteoglycans. When this homeostatic process is disrupted, our discs begin to degrade and eventually tear, leading to painful disc herniation (or slipped discs).

Researchers have yet to uncover the exact details of how this disruption occurs, but it appears that chronic inflammation is the primary cause. So, avoid processed foods, foods with excess sugar and refined carbohydrates. Look for whole foods in grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts.

Today, we dive back into foods with high anti-inflammatory properties. Let’s pay the farmer, not the pharmacy.

Turmeric: essential for your kitchen pharmacy
The compound curcumin in Turmeric is a proven anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory & antioxidant. In particular, scientists have researched its effect on intervertebral disc inflammation, concluding curcumin as an attractive complementary remedy. A simple way to include more turmeric in your diet; mix ¼ tsp of turmeric with warm water and lemon juice.

Vegetables: Eat fresh and lightly cooked for anti-inflammatory phytonutrients
We might sound like a broken record here, but there’s no underscoring how important vegetables are for our diet! To make sure you benefit from their unique anti-inflammatory benefits, make sure to purchase high-quality vegetables, consume them fresh and cook lightly. Go for dark green leafy vegetables like Spinach, Kale, Bok Choy and Arugula.


Flaxseeds: easy everyday food rich in omega-3s
Flaxseeds come out on top for their omega-3 content (2 tbsp provides 130% DV!), particularly in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is has been found to be heat-stable up to 150C, making ground flaxseeds an easy addition to muffins and other breads. ALA is the simplest of the omega-3 fats and is the key building block for eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which provide inflammatory protection.

Mangosteen: beautiful and delicious ‘Queen of Fruits’
A thick purple outer skin protects the tender white flesh inside. Native to tropical South East Asia, it’s a true delicacy – juicy sweetness with a hint of tartness. Mangosteen contains good amounts of the antioxidant xanthone, that reduces inflammation, protects cells from damaging free radicals. It’s considered ‘cooling’ for digestion in traditional Chinese medicine, often used as traditional remedies for sore throats and high blood pressure.