Eating Right for Your MSK Health

Date:  November 4, 2015


Eating Right for Your MSK Health

Are you eating to maintain a healthy body? Currently, 1 in 4 people suffer from musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions, and these conditions increase with unhealthy lifestyle choices. In previous blog posts, we have discussed ways to not only prevent MSK conditions, but also lifestyle choices to improve your overall health, such as increased physical activity. One key component to obtaining a healthy lifestyle and decreasing your risk for MSK conditions is eating a proper balanced diet, high in vitamins and minerals. Combine regular physical exercise with a healthy diet and you’re well on your way to reducing your risk for MSK conditions!

A lack of proper nutrients increases your risk for bone, muscle and joint disease1; therefore it is important to know which foods can help ward off the risks and set you up for a positive, healthy lifestyle. Physical activity and a balanced diet may also reduce the occurrence of injuries and accidents, and may reduce the development of musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis2.

According to the International Life Sciences Institute, osteoporosis can result from inadequate consumption of calcium and vitamin D intake and they are recommended as part of a healthy diet. Both nutrients are important to help improve MSK health; calcium helps build bone tissue, whereas vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium itself3.

As reported by the International Osteoporosis Foundation however, they are not the only means to the prevention of MSK conditions and positive health; listed below are a few nutrients and why they are good for your MSK system, as well as some food sources to consider for your diet4.


Why it’s important:

Protein is necessary to gain bone mass during childhood and adolescence, and helps to preserve bone mass as we age.

Foods High in Protein:

  • Fish – e.g. salmon, mackerel, sardines
  • Legumes – e.g. kidney beans, lentils
  • Chicken
  • Nuts and seeds – e.g. almonds, cashews, pine nuts, flaxseed
  • Dairy – e.g. Greek yogurt, cottage cheese
  • Eggs

Fruits and Vegetables

Why they’re important:

Adding fruits and vegetables to your diet has many benefits to your health. They contain an array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and alkaline salts. Studies have shown higher fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with positive effects on bone density in elderly men and women5.


Why consumption is important:

Do you know that magnesium plays an important role in forming bone mineral? In fact, magnesium contributes to the structural development of bone. As you age, magnesium absorption decreases, and may increase risk of fractures.

Foods High in Magnesium:

  • Green vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Fish
  • Nuts & seeds

Vitamin K4

Why it’s important:

Maybe this is one you haven’t considered. We think about adding vitamin C and vitamin D to our diet, but vitamin K is equally important. Vitamin K is needed for the mineralization of bone.

Foods High in Vitamin K:

  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Cabbage
  • Soya bean products


Why it’s important:

For bone tissue to renew and mineralize, zinc is required. Severe deficiency is usually associated with caloric and protein malnutrition, and contributes to impaired bone growth in children. Milder degrees of zinc deficiency have been reported in the elderly and could potentially contribute to poor bone structure due to its role in regulation of bone formation and resorption. You can supplement with zinc, but there are also ways to add it into your regular diet.

Foods High in Zinc:

  • Red meat
  • Poultry
  • Whole grain cereals
  • Legumes

These are just a few nutrients to consider as you prepare your food for the day. Adding some key elements to your diet could help play a preventative role with certain MSK conditions, especially as you age.

Find out how your chiropractor can help you prevent MSK conditions.

1. International Osteoporosis Foundation, Nutrition,
3. International Life Sciences Institute, Healthy Lifestyles, Diet, Physical Activity, and Health: Europe Concise Monograph Series,
4. International Osteoporosis Foundation, Nutrition,
5. Tucker KL, Hannan MT, Chen H, et al. (1999) Potassium, magnesium, and fruit and vegetable intakes are associated with greater bone mineral density in elderly men and women. Am J Clin Nutr 69:727-736