*This is a guest post from our friends at Etalon.
There are many factors that can affect your posture. Surprisingly, what you choose to eat is one of them. Certain nutritional choices can actually contribute to postural misalignment. Since the foods we eat affect the health of all soft tissue and bone, it is important that we look after our bodies with a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet. Poor nutrition can lead to muscle weakness and affect your ability to sit or stand up straight.
In this article, we will discuss how your diet can impact your posture and what you can do to ensure that you maintain healthy body alignment throughout your life.
Eat a protein-rich diet
The weaker your muscles, the less able you are to support your body and keep you upright. This is particularly true for the muscles in your back, which are responsible for maintaining good posture. When these muscles are weak, it becomes difficult to sit or stand up straight, and you may find yourself slouching or hunching over.
One way to prevent muscle weakness is to ensure that you are getting enough protein in your diet. Protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass. Good sources of protein include lean meats, fish, eggs, and dairy products. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Remember that the RDA is a minimum recommendation. This means that a woman that is 150 pounds (68kg) should be consuming at least 55 grams of protein daily. Of course, there’s no optimal amount for everyone. Your protein needs will vary depending on your activity level and overall lifestyle.
Maintain a healthy weight
Excess weight places stress on your bones, muscles, and joints and can cause an unnatural curvature of the spine. In particular, extra weight in the stomach pulls the pelvis forward, causing poor posture strain (and usually pain) in the lower back. Eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight and good posture.
Get your vitamins and minerals
Low amounts of calcium and vitamin D has been significantly linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis. In this condition, bones become brittle and fragile, often leading to a hunched posture. Good sources of calcium include dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and fortified cereal. The RDA for adults is between 1,000-1,200 mg of calcium daily, depending on your age. Do keep in mind that you can consume too much calcium. An excessive amount of calcium may cause other imbalances and even lower absorption of the mineral.
Vitamin D is also crucial for overall bone health. The RDA for adults is between 600 IU and 800 IU daily, depending on your age, though optimal amounts are likely much higher. The best food sources of vitamin D include fatty fish and fish liver oils, along with egg yolks, beef liver, and fortified cereal.
Sip on caffeine-free drinks
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), excessive intake of alcohol and caffeine is detrimental to bone health because they interfere with calcium absorption and could contribute to bone loss. If you’re a soft drink lover, fear not—not all soft drinks are bad, particularly those that are caffeine-free.
The NOF suggests limiting your consumption of colas “The carbonation in soft drinks does not cause any harm to bones. The caffeine and phosphorus commonly found in colas may contribute to bone loss. Like calcium, phosphorus is a part of the bones.” Phosphorus is often listed as an ingredient in colas. Also, watch out for names like “phosphate” or “phosphoric acid” on other soft drinks and processed foods.
Practice mindful eating
If you’re eating while watching TV or looking at your phone or computer, you’re most likely slouching (not to mention probably eating more than you realize). Posture is intimately connected to your digestive health.
To establish a healthy routine at the table, start by turning off the screens and sitting up with your back straight and your shoulders back. Other practices of mindful eating include: noticing how the food looks, tastes, smells, and feels in our bodies as we eat; acknowledging how the body feels after eating the meal; expressing gratitude for the meal. It helps to avoid overeating and waste when you serve food in modest portions. To enjoy the process savor small bites, and chew thoroughly. If you eat slowly, you are more likely to recognize when you are feeling satisfied, or when you are about 80% full, and can stop eating.
Get a little extra support
Maintaining good posture is essential for both your physical and mental well-being. By maintaining a healthy weight and making sure that you’re getting enough protein, calcium, and vitamin D, and, you can help keep your muscles and bones strong and healthy. Of course, a little extra support doesn’t hurt as well. To help train your muscle memory and improve your posture, we recommend wearing a posture corrector, like the Etalon Posture Bra, a fashionable bra with adjustable straps that looks and feels good.