Cervical spondylosis is a common condition in which the vertebrae, discs and ligaments in the neck or cervical spine become worse. It is also known as cervical osteoarthritis, arthritis of the neck or the degenerative osteoarthritis.
Role of Diet in Controlling Cervical Spondylosis
Calcium, Vitamin D, phosphorus and a host of hormonal, emotional and dietary factors play an important role in the integrity of locomotor system (also known as human musculoskeletal system).
The delicate balance b/w these factors permit many things to go wrong in this system.
Ratio of Phosphorus can cause demineralisation of bones. Healthy diet should be consumed to maintain the bones and joints in a healthy condition.
Vegetarian and non-vegetarian both diets have their unique roles in maintaining the bones mineral metabolism of the body.
Meat is a rich source of sulfur which can change the pH of your blood. Same impact is observed in case of fried foods, sour and spicy foods.
Meat contains the heaviest acid load due to its rich sulfur contents, which increases the acidity of blood leading to the demineralization of bones.
Many surveys reveals that post-menopausal vegetarians women have a higher bone mineral content as compared to the non-vegetarian women.
Furthermore, there is a strong relationship b/w the joint pains like frozen shoulder, cervical spondylosis and the kind of food eaten.
Fried, oily and spicy foods, excessive meats and refined foods like confectionery products, sweets, bread and other refined wheat products are the main incriminating factors in the joint diseases.
The kind of food leads to excess acid load in the blood, in which the kidneys are unable to cope with. Hence this acid causes inflammation of all joints, deterioration of intervertebral discs and hence the disc compression.
Constipation also initiates the formation of toxins in the gut, which get absorbed into blood and increase its acidity. It also contributes along with other factors in the development of cervical spondylosis and bone demineralisation.
Hormones like testosterone, oestrogen, adrenocortical, thyroid and growth hormone also play major role in the maintenance of normal body structure and the function.
An Strong link found b/w the hormonal activity and the kind of food we eat has been established in several studies.
A vegetarian diet, which is rich in fibers and in uncooked form, contains a lot of minerals and vitamins proves it beneficial as it prevents the constipation, removes toxic matter from gastrointestinal tract, thereby preventing the increased acidity of blood.
Increased amount of vitamins and minerals in the vegetarian diet contribute smooth functioning of the bone metabolism.
The acidity (sulfur related) of a non-vegetarian diet initiates and perpetuates bone demineralisation as seen by serial bone mineral density studies done by direct photon absorptiometry.
In contrast, vegetarian diet, which contains predominantly uncooked food doesn’t have this disadvantage.
However, spicy, fried foods and excessively sour foods-whether vegetarian or non-vegetarian are detrimental to bone, joint integrity and cartilage.
It is a common conception that vegetarians lack the calcium in their diets and as a result they suffer from bone demineralisation leading to osteomalacia and osteoporosis.
It’s not true in case of a lacto vegetarian because milk and other dairy products are a rich source of calcium.
However, there are many reports that describe as age advances the digestion of milk becomes more and more difficult owing to decreased gastric acid and enzyme contents.
The maldigestion of milk not only gives you gastrointestinal discomfort, but also gives an increased acid burden to the body, which leads to the joint pains and aggravation of arthritis.
Cottage cheese (also known as clabbered milk or paneer) and whey (the water obtained during the preparation of cottage cheese) are the excellent sources of calcium for vegetarians and are much less toxic than the non-vegetarian sources of protein.
Many reports shows that the vegetarian diet prevents the progression of shoulder and neck pain and the demineralization of bones due to high vitamin, fiber, mineral contents and low acid contents.
Vegetarian Sources of Calcium
- Cottage cheese
- Swiss Cheese
- Cheddar Cheese
- Seeds especially Sesame , Sunflower
- Pulses (though bound to phytate)
- Soybeans and related products like TOFU (bean curd)
Factors Preventing Calcium Absorption
- Foods containing oxalic acids. e.g. spinach, lotus stem, horsegram
- Lack of Vitamin D.
- Overuse of proteins like meat, fish, poultry, eggs, etc.
- Excessive use of common salt, coffee, tobacco, alcohol and soft drinks containing phosphorus.
Easy Dietary Tips for CS
Apart from the physical workout, yoga and meditation, diet plays an important role in decreasing cervical spondylosis problem.
Patient must have four meals a day, which includes raw vegetables, salad of steamed vegetables, milk and whole-wheat bread sprouts.
Take lemon juice, mixed with salt at least 2 to 3 times a day. Additional intake of chebulic myrobalan following meals are also found very effective.
Habitual consumption of 2-3 cloves of garlic in the morning decreases cervical spondylosis problem.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables that contain vitamins C & A fight against the free radicals, responsible for inflammation and help to reduce the painful swelling around the neck.
Fish, nuts and oil seeds are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E acting against inflammation.
Avoid coffee, red meat and white potatoes as they increase acid load in the body. Include fruit juice and vegetable soup in your routine diet.
Diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acid also helps to reduce the inflammation. Avoid spicy, hot, oily and spicy food. Replace rice with wheat.
Add more bitter vegetables like bitter gourd and drum stick in your daily routine diet.
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