CAN DIET AFFECT FYBROMYALGIA?
There is an old saying “you are what you eat” and there may be a lot of truth to this statement. Another one “garbage in, garbage out” can also be very enlightening. With these two statements in mind, let’s consider the influence that diet has with fybromyalgia. Could there be certain foods that can actually help promote or worsen pain and other symptoms?
While there is little research exploring this idea, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence from other people that confirm that food does play a role with symptom duration and intensity. Here are some of the ways doctors say food can play a role in fibromyalgia and tips on how you can tweak your diet to support your overall health.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
The first tip they will tell you is to pay attention to how food makes you feel. I know certain foods make me feel tired after I eat them compared to other foods. For example, if I eat foods with a lot of carbohydrates and not much protein, I will drag my feet as time goes by. My body is wired in that I need more protein and less carbs in order to function properly. Not everyone fits this tab. We are all individuals. That is where you have to listen to what your body is telling you.
A lot of people with fibromyalgia have sensitivities to particular foods, but it varies from person to person. You might be sensitive to MSG, certain preservatives, eggs, gluten, dairy, or other common allergens. In fact, in a survey published in the journal Clinical Rheumatology, 42% of fibromyalgia patients said their symptoms worsened after eating certain foods.
So how do you start to find out what worsens your symptoms? A good way to start identifying the foods that may aggravate your symptoms is by keeping a daily food journal. Try to keep a journal of everything you eat for about 2-3 weeks and also write your symptoms for each day as you progress. You will be surprised how this system works and brings to light foods that are causing the symptoms of your fybromyalgia.
Once you find the foods that seem to worsen or give symptoms, keep them out of your diet. This is called an elimination diet. Simply remove them and don’t eat them for a time. If you want to confirm the results of your little experiment, add them back in again, for a time, and see if your symptoms come back or worsen. Then you will know for sure that these foods are the culprits.
If you think you might have food sensitivities or allergies, talk with your doctor. In some cases, they may refer you to an allergist for food allergy testing. You may also want to consult a dietitian to make sure you don’t miss out on essential nutrients when you eliminate certain foods from your diet.
EATING HEALTHY MADE EASY
In our hurry-scurry world, eating healthy can be time-consuming and just not practical. It’s so easy to just swing into a fast food eatery and order the #1 favorite but by doing so, you will not be helping yourself as many of these places use a lot of artificial chemicals and additives to their foods. So what can you do? Plenty. First of all, seek out healthy foods that don’t require much preparation. Buy vegetables that are pre-washed and cut up. If you have a health food store nearby, go to the deli section and buy small portions of pre-prepared foods like beet salad or quinoa to vary your diet. Also, use a crock-pot or dutch oven to prepare entire meals that more or less cook themselves. And, of course, there are healthier choices when it comes to fast food eateries. Now that our nation is finally becoming aware of the results of fast food, the fast food places are even offering healthy choices to bring back the health food customers.
USE FOOD TO FIGHT FATIGUE
Choosing the right foods may help you keep your energy level more consistent and prevent fatigue. It has been found anecdotally that certain dietary choices, like eating small meals frequently throughout the day, can help energy levels. For example, it can help to eat a snack with a little protein when you’re feeling tired at two in the afternoon.
Make sure you eat breakfast, which should include some protein and whole grains. A boiled egg and some oatmeal is an excellent choice for breakfast that will prevent your blood sugar from spiking and will give you the right kind of energy to get you going through the morning, even if your body is aching and you’re feeling tired. Of course, diet is not the only factor in how much energy you have. Getting enough sleep and being active during the day can also help.
As you work toward a healthy diet, keep in mind that people with fibromyalgia tend to benefit most from taking a variety of approaches to managing their symptoms. Along with a healthy lifestyle (including a good diet) and taking any medications your doctor may prescribe for pain or other symptoms, there are many other therapies worth exploring. Check out yoga, massage, and deep-breathing exercises. By using a variety of methods, you will find the solutions that will give you the best possible quality of life.