Fuel Your Spine

By the rediscover Patient Education Team

Did you know the spine has over 120 muscles that expand and contract with the body’s movement? Within the spine is the spinal cord, which sends millions of messages from the brain to the rest of the body like a network cable. Because of its function and structure, the spine is one of the most essential parts of the human body.

Maintaining good overall health and eating balanced, nutritionally-dense foods is an ideal way to help protect your spine’s overall health. Healthy eating, with a focus on foods rich in vitamins and nutrients, will help strengthen bones and nourish muscles. Here are some key nutrients that can help fuel the spine and some foods where these nutrients can be found:

Calcium is essential for overall bone health. Calcium helps the body maintain its necessary bone mass and helps keep bones strong. For most adults, it is recommended to consume at least 1,000 milligrams of Calcium daily1. Calcium supplements are helpful, but foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt are considered high in Calcium.

Vitamin D assists the body with Calcium absorption, so it's an essential vitamin for spine health. Our bodies make Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight; however, most Americans don't get enough sun exposure when primarily indoors and wearing sunscreen when outside. Foods rich in Vitamin D include fatty fish, like salmon or tuna, egg yolks, and fortified orange juice.

Magnesium is a key mineral found in bone structures. Without enough magnesium, our bodies pull the mineral from our bones, potentially leading to less density in skeletal bones. Without density in our bones, we may be at a higher risk for breaking bones and fractures, including the bones in our spine. Magnesium can be found in leafy green vegetables, like kale and spinach, and in seeds, nuts, and bananas. Try a little dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher) for a yummy magnesium-rich treat.

These vitamins and minerals will assist in fueling the bones of the spine and help to keep them healthy. Eating a well-balanced diet made up of plenty of fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to ensure you are getting the right fuel to your spine.


1 Calcium Fact Sheet for Health Professionals, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Office of Dietary Supplements, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/.

Important Note: The patient information presented is for general education purposes only. As with any spine surgery, there are potential benefits, complications, and risks associated with disc replacement and spinal fusion procedures. Individual results may vary. It is important that you discuss the possible risks and potential benefits of various procedures with your doctor prior to receiving treatment, and that you rely on your physician’s best judgment. Only your doctor can determine whether you are a suitable candidate for a specific surgical procedure.

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