Fibromyalgia Diet | Foods You Need To Eat And Avoid To Alleviate Symptoms
Could a simple change in your diet actually help you deal with fibromyalgia? Some science seems to think so. Here's what we know so far.
Continue reading to find out what foods to avoid and what foods to add to your grocery list.
RELATED: 7 Helpful Tips To Relieve Joint Pain
Foods to Consider in Your Fibromyalgia Diet
Fibromyalgia Diet | Do's
1. Balanced Diet
A balanced diet is the easiest one to achieve. It doesn't focus on restricting foods. Instead it encourages eating a variety of healthful food.
It's widely accepted that the lack of the following nutrients are associated with muscle pain:
- amino acids
- vitamins B, D
FM patients also usually experience fatigue or are low in energy. Make sure to get some healthy snacks to munch on throughout the day.
A good balance between carbs, protein, and healthy fats may help you combat fatigue.
Enjoy a hearty avocado toast on whole wheat bread for breakfast and a flavorful bowl of fruity oatmeal. Snack on some almonds in the middle of the day when you're feeling peckish.
2. Mediterranean Diet
A Mediterranean diet focuses mostly on eating plenty of quality foods. This may include fish, olive oil, herbs, nuts, and spices. It also occasionally includes red meat and strictly avoids sugary foods.
Doctors usually recommend this diet for those at risk of a heart attack. But some research shows that it may help with FM patients too.
A study found that it may help with bone health in women with FM. It could also reduce the impact of osteoporosis in women.
Scientists believe that changes in gut flora could lead to degenerative diseases and chronic inflammation which includes FM. However, another study found that the diet had no significant effect on the intestinal bacterial flora.
On the other hand, a study found that a Mediterranean diet rich in tryptophan and magnesium may help improve
- emotional processing in FM patients
3. Vitamin D-Rich Diet
One study found that 40% of FM patients have a vitamin D deficiency. Because of this, they think that vitamin D might play a role in FM management.
Studies suggest that there's a link between low levels of vitamin D and anxiety and depression. While other study results find that patients low in vitamin D tend to have
- impaired short term memory
- mood disturbance
- sleep disturbance
- restless leg syndrome
Current research tells us that vitamin D could play an active role in FM. And so testing for vitamin D levels in patients might be useful in managing or treating the symptoms.
DISCLAIMER: This article is only for information purposes. Do not take as absolute medical advice.
Fibromyalgia Diet | Do Not's
4. Food Additives
There may be more reasons why doctors warn us against fast food and sugary sweets.
Excitotoxins are amino acids that stimulate your tongue's taste receptors. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) and aspartame are prime examples.
MSG is usually added in fast food and processed foods. You can usually find aspartame in your soda.
MSG and aspartame are quite controversial in the food and health industries. There's an ongoing debate whether they're harmful or not. And it looks like the case against the two is piling up.
A small study found that a excitotoxin-free diet lead to an improvement in FM patients. However when these were brought back to their diet, their symptoms also came back.
Another case study found that those that stopped consuming aspartame felt less pain and did not recur.
At this point, however, it's still difficult to say if there is a connection. But if proven to be true, simply removing these food additives could help FM patients. And this could be a complementary therapeutic step that comes at no cost to the patient.
5. Low-FODMAP Diet
FODMAPS are carbs that the body absorbs poorly. They include
- free fructose
A low-FODMAP diet could be helpful in treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). And since FM patients may also suffer from IBS, scientists think that the diet may also help treat or manage FM. The diet may help
- ease symptoms of FM (pain scores)
- reduce gastrointestinal disorders
- decrease body weight
- decrease waistline
Scientists are finding more and more similarities between FM and gluten-related disorders.
They share similar symptoms like
- chronic pain
- abdominal pain
- mood disturbance
They also manifest somewhat similarly with conditions like
- chronic musculoskeletal pain
A small study found that even in patients without celiac disease (gluten sensitivity), they still showed an improvement in FM symptoms. The patients reported reduced pain and improvement in quality of life.
Because of their findings, researchers believe that non-celiac gluten sensitivity may cause FM.
7. Veggie-Rich Diet
A cauliflower burger steak may surprise you with its savory and tender texture. It might also surprise you that substituting this with your steak could help ease your pain.
Research finds that removing or lessening animal products in your diet may be good for FM patients. It may help with
- joint stiffness
- quality of sleep
The subjects also showed improvement in health assessment questionnaires, general health questionnaires, and in a rheumatologist's own questionnaire.
The diet also helped with weight loss with significant reductions in the subjects' body mass index (BMI).
Another study on living food (uncooked vegan diet) found that the diet helps in diseases involving inflammation. The subjects also showed improvement in joint stiffness, pain, and self-experienced health.
Whatever improvements came from the diet could be because of the health benefits of plant-based foods in general. They contain large amounts of antioxidants, fiber, minerals, and vitamins. With their anti-inflammatory properties, this could be why vegetarian or vegan diets are considered for FM patients.
Is There Such Thing as a Fibromyalgia Diet?
A 2020 systematic review found that until now there's not much proof that nutrition plays a key role in FM. Without a cure for FM, patients may benefit from a multi-faceted approach to managing their symptoms. Both physical and psychological alike.
And this could include nutrition.
The secret to a long and healthy life is regular exercise and a balanced diet. It could help with your symptoms and make you feel better and healthier overall.
Will you embrace lifestyle changes? Do you think nutrition will help? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
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