Maintaining a healthy diet is crucial in controlling symptoms for those diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Food is fuel that provides energy to the body, and making healthier choices improves all body functions.
Fibromyalgia is like a symptoms-complex and each person affected by this disease can react differently. While treatments that work for one person very frequently do not work for another, natural health practitioners do agree that following a gluten- and dairy-free diet can help combat symptoms. Most believe food sensitivity is responsible for some of the pain and fatigue linked to fibromyalgia.
While there may not be a single set of dietary guidelines that are right for all fibromyalgia patients, there are certain foods − or food groups − that seem to make a difference for many people. But remember, avoiding certain foods is not a guarantee that symptoms will change; avoiding one group may offer benefit while another may make no difference at all.
Getting enough protein in your diet is especially important for fibromyalgia sufferers because our everyone’s body needs it for growth and maintenance. Animal-based proteins (such as milk, meat, fish, poultry, and eggs) will give you the nine essential amino acids your body needs to build protein. Include vegetarian sources of protein (such as beans, soy-based products, tempeh, milk alternatives, nuts, and seeds) or the above animal-based options in each of your three main meals each day. Vegetarian sources of protein should be combined with grains or starchy vegetables to create a complete protein combination. For example combine beans and rice or tofu with corn.
Fibromyalgia sufferers need to include fats in their diet and should aim to eat a total fat intake of 20-35 percent of calories consumed. In choosing foods, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats from fish, nuts, and vegetable oils are the best option. When eating other types of fats, opt for lean, low-fat, or fat-free varieties of meat, poultry, dry beans, or milk products. Less than 10 percent of total calories should be in the form of saturated fat as they interfere with circulation, leading to increased inflammation and pain. Saturated fats come mainly from: rich dairy products, fatty meats, sweets, salty snacks. Limit or avoid these foods in your diet.
Fibromyalgia sufferers often have a hard time digesting carbohydrates. Those battling fibromyalgia must be contentious to not overdo their daily fibre intake and to ensure they drink plenty of water. Eating a variety of raw and lightly cooked veggies each day with lean protein sources is the best route. Small servings of gluten-free grains such as amaranth, rice and quinoa are the most easily digested carbohydrates, while fresh fruits, nuts, seeds and rice cakes or crackers make ideal snacks.
Fibromyalgia: Seven foods to avoid
1. Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners including Splenda
2. Food additives including MSG (monosodium glutamate) and nitrates
3. Sugar, fructose, and other simple carbohydrates found in many pre packaged foods
4. Caffeine; found in coffee, tea, colas, and chocolate
5. Yeast and gluten. Although these are two separate food substances, they frequently appear together − particularly in baked goods like cake, donuts, and bread.
6. Dairy. Be they low or high fat, some experts say, dairy products − particularly milk − have been known to bring on the symptoms of fibromyalgia
7. Nightshade Plants such as tomatoes, tobacco, chili and bell peppers, potatoes, rhubarb, and eggplant
Avoiding these foods can help to alleviate symptoms caused by digestive issues and distress. Each person with fibromyalgia will respond differently to various diets. Keeping a food journal and charting symptoms will help sufferers learn more about their trigger foods. Chart everything including symptoms experienced, water intake, and daily bowel habits. This will help any individual listen to their body and seek solutions to improve symptoms.
By living a healthy lifestyle patients of fibromyalgia can improve their chances of relieving the pain and discomfort associated with this disease. Outside of the foods that fibromyalgia sufferers’ eat each day, they may also choose to supplement their diet with magnesium since it works as a natural muscle relaxer. A simple fasting glucose test is often recommended as fibromyalgia patients have an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
It’s very important that fibromyalgia clients maintain a good working relationship with doctors and specialists. There are many co-existing health conditions that have a tendency to occur in people with fibromyalgia, often with overlapping symptoms. These include gluten intolerance, gout (a form of arthritis), and restless legs syndrome. I also encourage clients to participate in online forums that discuss fibromyalgia and ask other sufferers how they deal with symptoms. Remember your health is your responsibility!