Neck and back pain are common conditions that affect millions of people worldwide. According to recent statistics, low back pain is the leading cause of disability globally, with an estimated 540 million people affected at any one time. Neck pain is also a significant burden, with a global prevalence of around 10-20%. These conditions can have a significant impact on quality of life, leading to reduced mobility, missed work, and increased healthcare costs. Risk factors for neck and back pain include poor posture, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet, obesity, and genetics.


Healthy aging involves maintaining physical and mental health and function throughout the lifespan, often through lifestyle modifications such as exercise, healthy eating, and stress reduction. On the other hand, inflammaging refers to chronic, low-grade inflammation that accelerates the aging process. It is associated with a range of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, hormonal imbalance, and degeneration of discs leading to neck and back pain. Unhealthy diets, characterized by high intake of saturated fats, sugar, and processed foods, can contribute to inflammaging by promoting oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. This chronic inflammation can lead to the development of age-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and neurodegenerative disorders causing neck and back pain and reducing overall mobility.

Intervertebral discs in the spine are subjected to significant stress due to their location between spinal vertebrae and their role in cushioning and supporting the spine. This stress can lead to wear and tear on the discs over time, causing degeneration. Recent studies show that there is strong evidence of inflammaging causing acceleration of intervertebral disc degeneration by promoting oxidative stress and inflammation within the discs. This can lead to a loss of disc height, decreased flexibility, and increased risk of disc herniation and nerve compression. Preventing inflammaging through healthy lifestyle choices may help slow the progression of disc degeneration.

There has been an increase in the consumption of fast-food items like biryani, potato fries, chicken nuggets, and chicken fries in India in recent years. This trend may be attributed to the changing dietary habits and the influence of Western culture. However, consuming such fast-food items regularly can have negative health implications due to their high levels of saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars.

Biriyani, which can be a delicious and satisfying meal, is often high in saturated fats, sodium, and calories. Eating a diet high in biryani and other processed foods may contribute to chronic inflammation and an increased risk of chronic diseases. One way to prevent inflammaging is through a healthy diet. The foods we consume impact the inflammation levels in the body. Here are some dietary strategies that may help prevent inflammaging:

A. Choose Anti-Inflammatory Foods:


Certain foods have anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce inflammation in the body. These include:

  • Fruits and Vegetables: They have a high content of antioxidants and polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Choose a colourful mix of fruits and vegetables like green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, cauliflower, etc.
  • Whole Grains: High in fiber content, whole grains help reduce inflammation in the body. Choose whole grain bread, pasta, and rice, as well as whole grain cereals like oats and quinoa.
  • Healthy Fats: Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, as well as walnuts and flaxseeds, have anti-inflammatory properties. Monounsaturated fats, found in olive oil, nuts, and avocados, may also help reduce inflammation.

Avoid Pro-Inflammatory Foods:

Certain foods can promote inflammation in the body and should be limited or avoided. These include:

  • Processed and Fried Foods: These foods are often high in saturated and trans fats, which can promote inflammation.
  • Sugar and Refined Carbohydrates: High intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates can cause blood sugar spikes and promote inflammation in the body.
  • Red Meat and Processed Meats: These foods are high in saturated fat and can promote inflammation in the body.

B. Maintain a Healthy Weight:

Being overweight or obese can contribute to chronic inflammation in the body. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise can help reduce inflammation and prevent inflammaging.

C. Stay Hydrated:

Dehydration can contribute to inflammation in the body. Aim to drink plenty of water (35 ml/kg of your body weight) throughout the day, and limit intake of sugary drinks and alcohol.

D. Limit Alcohol Consumption

Excessive alcohol consumption can contribute to inflammation in the body. Limiting alcohol intake can help reduce inflammation and promote overall health.

Age Gracefully with the Anti-Inflammaging Effects of a Traditional Indian Diet

  • Turmeric is a spice commonly used and its active ingredient curcumin, has been found to reduce inflammation in the body and may help prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Turmeric can be used in curries, rice dishes, and soups, or taken in the supplement form.
  • Ginger contains compounds called gingerols and shogaols, which have been found to reduce inflammation in the body and may help prevent chronic diseases. Ginger can be used in tea, smoothies, or added to soups, stews, and stir-fries.
  • Legumes, such as lentils, chickpeas, and kidney beans, are a staple in Indian cuisine and are a rich source of plant-based protein and fiber. Legumes have been found to have anti-inflammatory properties and may help minimize risk of long-term conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Legumes can be used in curries, soups, and salads, or as a vegetarian protein source in main dishes.
  • Kanji is a traditional fermented rice dish from India that has been enjoyed for centuries. It is made by fermenting cooked rice and water with a starter culture of yogurt or whey, which transforms the rice into a tangy and slightly sour porridge-like dish. Kanji is a popular dish in South India, and it is often served as a cooling and refreshing food during hot weather. Kanji is a particularly good source of probiotics, as it is made with a live culture of yogurt or whey. Yogurt and whey are both rich in beneficial bacteria that can help support the gut microbiome and reduce inflammation in the body. In addition to its probiotic content, kanji is also a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

In addition to these dietary strategies, regular exercise, stress reduction, and adequate sleep can also help prevent inflammaging. Exercise can help reduce inflammation and improve overall health, while stress reduction techniques like mindfulness meditation and deep breathing can help to lower stress levels and reduce inflammation in the body. Getting adequate sleep is also important for overall health and can help regulate inflammation levels in the body.

Preventing inflammaging through a healthy diet involves choosing anti-inflammatory foods, limiting pro-inflammatory foods, maintaining a healthy weight, staying hydrated, and limiting alcohol consumption. These dietary strategies, combined with regular exercise, maintaining good posture, and avoiding prolonged sitting or standing, stress reduction, and adequate sleep, can help reduce inflammation levels in the body and promote the overall health of the spine.


Dr. Dilip Chand Raja.S
Consultant Orthopedics and Spine Surgeon
Kauvery Hospital Vadapalani