Can a Right Diet Help With Fibromyalgia

Understanding Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a medical condition where the muscles and the connective tissue of the body experience a substantial amount of pain. Fibromyalgia was discovered recently and there is still a lot of research being carried on it. Various therapies have been recommended by medical experts such as holistic natural therapies and following a specific fibromyalgia diet to help alleviate the discomfort and symptoms, which the patient experiences in fibromyalgia. Other than following specific diets, the patient’s eating habits also need to be modified and a healthier lifestyle needs to be adopted, as the main aim of dietary modifications is to make the patient more comfortable. Losing weight is also beneficial in fibromyalgia, but due to the pain experienced in this condition, the patient may find it difficult to exercise, so by following a healthy diet, the patient is able to lose the excess weight and alleviate one’s symptoms.

Fibromyalgia Diet Ingredients

Can a Right Diet Help With Fibromyalgia

Some of the ingredients used in the recipes of fibromyalgia diet should be the ones which you are used to consuming, as making drastic changes in your diet can worsen your condition. Having a balanced diet and nutrition is important for proper functioning of the muscles and to manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia. As nutrition is the primary aspect of the fibromyalgia diet, it should comprise all the food groups such as grains, fruits, poultry, vegetables, dairy, and especially protein. Proteins are the building blocks of the human body and are important for the growth and preservation of tissues and cells. Proteins also help in the production of hormones, enzymes, and antibodies in the human body. Proteins derived from animals are easily digestible; for this reason poultry products and lean meats should be included in the fibromyalgia diet. Individuals who are vegetarians should consume meat substitutes and high protein foods such as tofu, soy and legumes. It is the belief of some experts that insufficient quantity of proteins in the diet may cause worsening or complications of symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia Diet Ingredients

Are there any foods which should be avoided in Fibromyalgia?

There are some foods which may worsen the symptoms of fibromyalgia and should be avoided. There are some regular foods which should be ideally avoided; however, if you are unsure which foods to avoid, then you can identify the foods, which are aggravating your symptoms and stay away from them. Foods which should be avoided in fibromyalgia are: high calorie foods such as chocolates, fried foods containing increased amounts of saturated fats, refined foods such refined flours and sugars, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, caffeine, tobacco products and other sugary items like candies.

Foods which should be avoided in fibromyalgia are: high calorie foods

There are many people suffering from fibromyalgia who may feel energized after consumption of caffeine; but, it has been observed that in the long run, caffeine consumption acts as a hindrance to getting uninterrupted sleep. You should gradually give up coffee, as abruptly stopping it may cause withdrawal symptoms which can be difficult to deal with. Fibromyalgia patients should consume foods, which help in fighting inflammation and control the serotonin production, as both are associated with fibromyalgia symptoms.

There are seven food groups which are better avoided in fibromyalgia:

Caffeine containing products such as colas, coffee, tea, and chocolate should be completely eliminated from the diet

  1. Aspartame (NutraSweet): This may worsen your pain and should be avoided.
  2. Food additives such as MSG (mono sodium glutamate) and nitrates: This can increase the intensity of the pain and should be avoided.
  3. Sugar, fructose, simple carbohydrates: Avoiding these foods helps in reducing symptoms such as pain and fatigue.
  4. Caffeine containing products such as colas, coffee, tea, and chocolate should be completely eliminated from the diet, as they are false sources of energy and actually worsen fatigue.
  5. Yeast and Gluten: Yeast may cause or exacerbate the pain in the joints and muscles. Intolerance to gluten results in various stomach ailments and digestive problems and may also cause fatigue.
  6. Dairy products: Although they contain calcium and protein which are beneficial for bones and muscles, but some patients with fibromyalgia may experience exacerbation of their symptoms after consuming dairy products.
  7. Nightshade Plants: Such as tomatoes, potatoes, chili, bell peppers, and eggplant may be nutritious, but can trigger a flare up of fibromyalgia symptoms.

Finding out the right diet if you are a Fibromyalgia patient

Individuals suffering from Fibromyalgia can find out their food sensitivity and what diet works for them by trying out an elimination diet. This is done by keeping a food diary, tracking pain and symptoms. This helps in eliminating those foods which are triggering pain. Your diary should be compared to the foods which are known to trigger fibromyalgia symptoms and in this way you can discover which foods trigger your allergies or pain. The following diets can be tried out to find out which foods to avoid:

The Elimination Diet: This diet consists of avoiding those foods, which you think may be causing your fibromyalgia symptoms or an allergic reaction. So, what you do is replace that food item with other foods which contain the nutrients. For example, if corn is causing you problem, then it can be replaced with another carbohydrate such as beans. The diagnosis can be confirmed when the allergy symptoms go away after a particular food item is excluded from your diet, and symptoms come back when you start eating that food again. Generally, this diet is tried under the guidance of a dietitian or a doctor.

The Rotation Diet: This diet is helpful if you are allergic to a variety of foods. This diet works by you eating those foods which you are not allergic to on a 4-day rotation basis. This time will give your body a recovery period before you eat the same food again. It will also decrease the likelihood of developing an allergy to other foods. This can be quite a restrictive diet and is usually done under the guidance of a doctor or dietitian.

Which foods are good for you and which cause worsening of symptoms or produce an allergic reaction can be found out by observing how your body reacts to different types of foods. This will help you in creating a diet which works best for your fibromyalgia. Good luck!

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 5, 2018

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