Are you or someone you love living with Fibromyalgia? If so, you aren’t alone. In fact, over four million US adults, roughly 2% of the population, have been diagnosed.
This disorder can cause widespread pain, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, headaches and migraines, emotional and mental distress, and abnormal pain perception. Though, surprisingly little is known about what actually causes it.
Thankfully, many natural remedies can help reduce the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. And, nutrition plays a major role. Keep reading to learn what you should eat and avoid to improve your daily lifestyle with Fibromyalgia.
Start With the Facts
If you want to improve Fibromyalgia symptoms, the first step is finding out exactly how your body is being affected. A comprehensive way to find out is through detailed blood analysis as part of a larger natural treatment plan.
Once the different imbalances in your body have been identified, you’ll be able to map out a symptom-reducing Fibromyalgia diet. This approach is known as functional medicine or nutrition- and it’s a research-backed drug-free way to help you feel better!
This type of nutritional evaluation can reveal more than just vitamin and mineral deficiencies, helping to understand which foods are triggering inflammation in the body. And, managing inflammation is the secret to reducing the painful symptoms of Fibromyalgia.
What to Eat
Eating a well-balanced diet is essential, even for perfectly healthy people. But, as part of a Fibromyalgia nutrition plan, it’s absolutely mandatory.
You should focus on foods that are rich in antioxidants and essential vitamins. And, you should ensure that each day’s meals include a healthy mix of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats.
Because Fibromyalgia can make you feel tired, it’s also a good idea to eat for energy. Combining carbohydrates with protein and fats can help choose fresh, whole foods that are high in fiber and don’t contain added sugar. Instead of sweets, reach for broccoli and dark leafy greens, avocado, oatmeal, tofu, beans, seeds, or nuts.
Some recent studies also indicate that eating a vegetarian diet may help with symptom reduction.
Even if you maintain a healthy diet, there is a chance that you are missing out on a few essential vitamins. Some of these vitamins can be linked to chronic health issues – for example, Vitamin D.
While there is no evidence that this vitamin is linked to Fibromyalgia, some patients with deficiencies have reported similar symptoms. Vitamin D deficiencies can also lead to a wide variety of serious health concerns impacting the body’s immune system.
Likewise, a shortage of Vitamin B12 can lead to serious symptoms. Lack of B12 is a fairly common concern, even among people with a healthy diet. And, the symptoms of a B12 shortage can include exactly what people suffering from Fibromyalgia hope to avoid – fatigue and low energy levels.
Antioxidants are beneficial because they slow the process of oxidation and reduce free radicals that can damage the body’s cells. One specific antioxidant, Coenzyme Q10, is essential to cell function. Some early studies have found evidence that adding it to the diet may improve fibromyalgia symptoms.
What to Avoid
If you only read one of our tips for living with Fibromyalgia, make it this one! Stop eating junk. Simply put, unhealthy and processed foods can contribute to your symptoms – and while it might sound like a challenge, cutting them out entirely is the best approach.
As part of your Fibromyalgia lifestyle, it’s best to avoid low nutrition foods and foods with excessive amounts of unhealthy fats. These foods include anything that has been processed or fried. It is also beneficial to reduce the amount of refined sugar in your diet.
These changes can also help moderate body weight, which may be a factor when it comes to Fibromyalgia. In fact, some research indicates that even minor weight loss and changing to a low-calorie diet can reduce pain and inflammation and improve quality of life.
Other Inflammatory Foods
In recent years, gluten-free diets have gained popularity. And they might be beneficial to people living with Fibromyalgia.
Some studies show that a non-celiac sensitivity to gluten may be an underlying cause of Fibromyalgia. This same research indicated that people with Fibromyalgia who tested negative for celiac disease still saw significant symptom improvement when following a gluten-free diet.
FODMAPS, or fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, have been known to contribute to inflammation for decades. Gut bacteria ferment these carbohydrates in the digestive tract. This process may promote Fibromyalgia symptoms in some people.
Foods high in FODMAPS include dairy products, beans, bread and pasta, barley and rye, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower, and some fruits including apples, peaches, and pears.
Excitotoxins are used to add extra flavor to food by stimulating the tongue’s taste receptors. And, while there is no direct evidence that they contribute to the symptoms of Fibromyalgia, some patients have linked them to pain and inflammation. It’s also worth mentioning that people have been reporting allergic-type symptoms, including inflammation to these additives, for ages.
Common examples of Excitotoxins include:
- MSG or monosodium glutamate
- the artificial sweetener aspartame
- altered proteins like those found in protein isolates and hydrolyzed protein.
These ingredients are found in processed foods, so they will be easy to remove from your diet as part of a Fibromyalgia lifestyle plan.
Living With Fibromyalgia
Now that you know a bit more about how nutrition might be affecting your Fibromyalgia symptoms, it’s time to make a change. Cleaning up your act can be easy, so long as you make small incremental changes to your diet. And don’t get frustrated if you struggle at first—it’s totally normal!
Living with Fibromyalgia is a challenge, but you have the power to take back your life! Natural medicine like functional nutrition can help.
If you don’t know where to start, contact us today for more information or to book a free nutritional evaluation. We can help guide you to down the path to decreased pain, more energy, and better health! Why not start today!