The Back Pain-Fighting Pantry: 15 Vitamin and Mineral-Rich Foods to Stock Up On

The Back Pain-Fighting Pantry: 15 Vitamin and Mineral-Rich Foods to Stock Up On


Back pain is very common, with some stats showing that almost everyone experiences it in their lives. But there’s no one-way to treat it. So, what can you do? Eating nutrient-rich foods can help fight the causes of pain.

To make shopping easier, here’s a list of 15 must-buy foods! These foods can reduce inflammation, ease stress, improve posture, and boost bone health. Start stocking up on these vitamin and mineral-packed items if you’re fighting chronic back pain!

Vitamins and Minerals for Back Pain

Many seek relief from back pain through medications and treatments that can be pricey. Eating a nutrient-dense diet, however, can be just as helpful! Vitamin B12, Magnesium, and other vitamins and minerals have been linked to a decrease in back pain. This article shares 15 of the best vitamin and mineral-rich foods that can help reduce back pain symptoms. Stock up on them for relief!

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, found in egg yolks, oily fish, and fortified milk, is key for absorbing calcium. Calcium helps keep bones strong, reducing back pain. Vitamin D can also reduce inflammation, aiding in fighting back pain.

Dairy products, like yogurt and cheese, provide vitamin D for healthier bones. Fortified juices and cereals, salmon, sardines, mackerel, and tuna are also great sources of this nutrient. If not enough vitamin D is taken from food, it can be taken as a supplement in recommended doses. Talk to a doctor before beginning any supplement regimen.


Magnesium is a must-have mineral for your body. It helps with calcium to keep your muscles, bones, heart and nervous system healthy. But if you don’t get enough magnesium, it can cause back pain and other aches and pains. Eating foods with magnesium can help you get back on track.

Good sources of this mineral include:

  • Buckwheat and quinoa
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Lentils
  • Black beans
  • Almonds
  • Banana
  • Avocado


Calcium is the most abundant mineral in our bodies. It’s vital for good bones and joints. It also regulates muscles, helps with pain management, and might even be linked to improved heart health. Adults need 1000-1200mg per day.

You can find calcium in dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese), fortified foods (like orange juice), canned salmon/sardines (with bones), almonds, kale and broccoli. But, take care! Too much calcium can lead to hypercalcemia – with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, confusion and muscle weakness. Speak to a doctor before taking more than 1000mg per day.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is key to fighting back pain. It’s a powerful antioxidant and helps reduce inflammation. Get it from fruits and veggies like oranges, bell peppers, kale, strawberries and broccoli. Plus, take it in supplement form.

Vitamin C blocks production of interleukin-1 which reduces the severity of swelling from injury and joint diseases. It repairs connective tissue damaged by back pain or physical activity. And it increases absorption of iron which aids in cell repair and oxygenation of muscle tissues. All this contributes to better spine health and lower injury risk during periods of muscle stress.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that impacts red blood cell formation, DNA synthesis and nerve health! Research on the correlation between B12 and back pain has been inconclusive. But, lower levels of B12 in people with chronic pain conditions may reduce their chances of achieving relief.

Good sources of vitamin B12 include:

  • Clams
  • Beef and lamb liver
  • Trout
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Oysters
  • Shrimp
  • Crab

Additionally, fortified cereals and non-dairy milks are also great sources of B12.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are a must for reducing inflammation and promoting effortless movements. Wild fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring contain these special fats, as well as pressed seeds like hemp and flax. If you can’t eat these foods, try a supplement with adequate Omega-3s (EPA/DHA).

Phytonutrients and antioxidants are also anti-inflammatory. Quercetin, anthocyanadins, flavonoids – all found in berries, onions and garlic – protect cells from external and internal damage. And dark leafy greens, such as kale and collards, have high chlorophyll content for better digestion and less bloat.

Foods Rich in Vitamins and Minerals

Studies prove diet and nutrition can reduce and stop back pain. Eating a balanced diet with lots of vitamins and minerals makes bones, muscles, and tissue stronger and healthier.

Here are 15 vitamin and mineral-rich foods to combat back pain. Stock up!

  • Leafy greens
  • Citrus fruits
  • Berries
  • Whole grains
  • Oily fish
  • Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Seeds
  • Beans
  • Yogurt
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Avocados
  • Dark chocolate

Dark Leafy Greens

Kale, spinach, and collard greens are dark leafy greens full of nutrients. They include vitamin A and K, calcium, magnesium, iron, folate, and manganese. These minerals help keep bones and muscles healthy. Eating them regularly can reduce inflammation in the body, which can help with back pain or stop it from happening. Plus, they give fiber to your diet and are low on calories.

For the most benefit, include them in a meal every day. Like, a salad of dark leafy greens and nuts or seeds! A power punch of nutrients in one meal!

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds offer a wealth of vitamins and minerals. Examples include zinc, magnesium, B vitamins, Vitamin E, potassium and calcium. Eating different types of nuts and seeds helps you get enough of these important nutrients.

  • Almonds are great for manganese and Vitamin E.
  • Walnuts provide omega-3, folate and vitamin B6.
  • Pumpkin, flaxseed, and chia seeds are especially beneficial due to their high fiber and mineral content.

Nuts and seeds are simple to prepare, but they’re packed with nutrition. They make a great addition to any family meal or snack.


Fish is a must for a balanced diet to battle back pain. It provides vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids which reduce inflammation. Oily fish like salmon and mackerel are best. They contain B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.

Smaller species like sardines and anchovies also provide minerals such as calcium. Shrimp has zinc for muscle function; crab has selenium for immunity; and oysters have iron to transport oxygen.

For non-fish eaters, there’s eggs for choline and dairy for calcium. Nuts like almonds offer magnesium for muscles and seeds like sunflower and pumpkin are filled with zinc and other minerals for joint mobility.

Beans and Legumes

Beans and legumes are a great source of protein, vitamins, minerals and anti-inflammatory compounds. Small white beans have the most nutrition – one cup of cooked beans has the RDA of molybdenum, manganese, phosphorus, copper, and folate. Plus, 27 grams of protein! Fiber helps digestion and reduces risk of hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, inflammation and back pain.

Popular varieties include string beans, lentils, chickpeas, black-eyed peas and kidney beans, all low in fat but with lots of dietary fiber and vitamin A. Potassium, magnesium, and iron too. Eating them daily helps your bones, and provides energy.

Add legumes to soups and salads for a protein boost. Or try vegetable curries for international flavor.

Whole Grains

Whole grains are super important for good health. They provide vitamins and minerals, which are essential for us. Whole grains are more packed with nutrients than refined grains. Examples of these grains are oats, bulgur wheat, quinoa, barley and buckwheat.

To make sure you’re getting whole grain products, like pastas and breads, check the label. The first ingredient should be a whole grain.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits possess a plethora of vitamins and minerals which can help fight back pain. Vitamin C contributes to the fabrication of collagen, which makes up spine connective tissues. Folate, a water-soluble type of Vitamin B, is abundant in citrus fruits and can reduce inflammation.

Research has shown that citrus fruits have key nutrients such as Vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and some trace minerals like copper and zinc. These are essential for health. Here’s a look at some of them:

  • Oranges: 70 mg of Vitamin C in a medium orange.
  • Grapefruits: 53 percent of the RDI for Vitamin C.
  • Mandarins: 21 mg of Vitamin A and 42 mg of Vitamin C.
  • Lemons & Limes: 16 mg of Vitamin C; limonoids may reduce inflammation.
  • Tangerines & Clementines: 40 percent RDI for Vitamin C.

These delicious fruits are a great way to receive more vitamins and minerals, while offering protection against back pain! Enjoy them for breakfast or in-between meals.


Berries are packed with nutrition and dietary fiber. They’re loaded with vitamins A, B-complex, C and K. Plus, they provide manganese, selenium, zinc and magnesium.

Choose berries that are bright and have soft skin. Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are perfect for snacking or smoothies. Blackberries make tasty cobblers or pies.

For maximum nutrients without excess sugar or calories, choose powdered berry extracts. These are more concentrated than fresh berries and cost less too!


Avocados are a great source of vitamins and minerals such as potassium, folate, Vitamin K, magnesium, and Vitamin E. They contain lutein, which is good for eyesight. Plus, they have healthy fats to support your brain and reduce inflammation. Avocados are packed with omega-3 fatty acids too, controlling hormones to stop back pain.

Try them in guacamole or a smoothie bowl for a yummy way to get the nutrients you need.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower and kale are superb sources of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. They also contain carotenoids which protect cells from damage. These veggies have high amounts of vitamin C, folate, vitamin K, and potassium. Plus, they are loaded with phytochemicals that guard against cancer and other diseases.

Broccoli is the most popular cruciferous veggie. It is brimming with vitamins A, C and E, as well as the powerful antioxidant, sulforaphane. Eating a serving of fresh or cooked broccoli offers around 55% of the daily-recommended requirement of vitamin C. To get more out of this veggie, add tahini or soy sauce for extra flavor.

Cauliflower is another common cruciferous vegetable that has plenty of vitamins B6, C, and K. It also contains manganese, magnesium, and copper. Eating this veggie raw or lightly cooked helps retain the most nutrients. It can be roasted or grilled for different flavors, but still with the same nutritional benefits. Additionally, its dietary fiber helps reduce blood sugar after meals and promotes a healthy digestive system.

Kale may even have more nutritional benefits than its cruciferous cousins. It contains almost twice the amount of vitamin A than broccoli. It is high in vitamin K, folate, and other B vitamins. Boiled kale is softer than raw kale, but you can easily add garlic, ginger or lemon juice for a different flavor.


Yogurt is a great source of minerals and vitamins, like calcium, magnesium, zinc, A and B-12. It’s also full of protein, making it a suitable snack for those with back pain.

Eating yogurt helps build bones and muscles, which are important for posture and spine support, and aids digestion. Yogurt also contains probiotics, which are good for gut health, and can help with back pain-related digestion problems.

Sprinkle some cereal or nuts on your yogurt for extra Vitamin D, zinc, iron, and protein. Try to go for plain or low-fat yogurt when you buy it – flavoured varieties may have more sugar, which could worsen inflammation.


Garlic is a powerful health booster! It’s one of the most widely used foods around the world. It adds flavor to dishes and is packed with vitamins and minerals like manganese, selenium, vitamin C and more. It also contains allicin, an organosulfur compound that has potent antimicrobial and antiviral benefits. Plus, anti-inflammatory properties. Eating garlic could also help boost your immune system and reduce inflammation related to back pain.

You can find garlic supplements in stores and online. Look for ones made from raw garlic in powder or oil forms for the best nutrition.

Bone Broth

Bone broth is packed with minerals, like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. Plus, it contains gelatine, chondroitin sulphate, glucosamine and amino acids, such as arginine and glutamine. All of these are helpful in repairing joint cartilage, reducing chronic inflammation and aiding in the recovery of chronic pain in the neck, shoulder or back.

Making bone broth at home is easy. Get some bones from your local butcher. Roast them over a low heat to preserve the vitamins and minerals. Simmer them in water for 24 hours, with some salt but not too much! You can also add herbs, like thyme or rosemary, for flavor. Freeze the broth and you’ll have pre-made meals ready to go when you need them.


Turmeric is a golden-yellow spice, with many uses – in food and medicine alike! It’s also full of minerals and vitamins – making it great for those wanting to add nutrition to their diet.

Vitamins: It has vitamin B6 which helps the body use sugar for energy. Plus, it’s got vitamin C, thiamin, niacin and riboflavin.

Minerals: It’s also packed with minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. Calcium is great for strong teeth and bones – while iron helps oxygen get around the body. Magnesium aids muscle relaxation and potassium keeps blood pressure healthy.

In short, turmeric is anti-inflammatory and is a great way to get more vitamins and minerals. Use it in dishes or take it as a supplement – either way, add it to your routine!


Shellfish, like shrimp, crab and lobster, provide tons of vitamins and minerals. They have protein and good fats. Plus, they are full of vitamins A, B12, C and E. And you can find iron, zinc, potassium and magnesium. Even better, shellfish is low in calories and full of nutrition.

Make sure to go for wild-caught shellfish, not farm-raised. That way, you avoid antibiotics and pollutants.


Mushrooms are a great option for vitamins and minerals, especially for vegetarians and vegans. They’re affordable and easy to add to meals. They have B3 (niacin), B2, vitamin D, and other vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for healthy cells. Plus, mushrooms are a source of fiber too! Good for digestion and anti-inflammation.

They make a delicious omelet or risotto, and some can even be eaten raw on salads or cooked in stir fries.


Stock up your pantry with nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory foods and drinks. Both plant-based and animal-based vitamins and minerals should be included in a balanced diet. Healthy fats, dark leafy greens, dairy products, whole grains, citrus fruits, seeds and nuts are all nutritious items to add to your meals.

Speak with your doctor or healthcare professional before making changes to your diet or trying any supplements or medications. They can suggest the best dietary plan for your particular symptoms. Eating clean with nourishing foods can help reduce signs and symptoms associated with back pain.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are some of the best vitamin and mineral-rich foods to help fight back pain?

A: Some of the top foods to stock up on include leafy greens like spinach and kale, nuts and seeds like almonds and chia seeds, and fatty fish like salmon and tuna.

Q: Can certain vitamins or minerals specifically target back pain?

A: While no single nutrient can cure back pain, getting the recommended daily intake of important vitamins like vitamin D and minerals like magnesium can help support overall spine health and reduce the risk of chronic inflammation.

Q: Are there any foods that can worsen back pain?

A: Some studies suggest that high intake of processed or sugary foods can increase inflammation in the body, which could contribute to back pain. Additionally, excess caffeine or alcohol can disrupt sleep, which is important for healing an injured spine.

Q: How much of each nutrient should I aim to get each day?

A: Specific nutrient needs can vary depending on age, activity level, and health status. However, getting the recommended daily allowances of key nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium can help improve spine health and alleviate back pain. Consult with a healthcare provider for personalized recommendations.

Q: Can I get enough of these nutrients through food alone, or should I consider supplements?

A: While it’s possible to get enough of these key nutrients through food alone, supplements can be a helpful addition to a healthy diet for people with specific nutrient deficiencies or who have difficulty meeting their nutrient needs through food. Consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplements.

the back recovery program by alex larsson
Jane Smith is a natural health enthusiast on a mission to uncover effective methods for achieving pain-free living. Through her personal journey with chronic back pain, she has become well-versed in holistic approaches such as yoga, Pilates, and essential oils.

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