Fibromyalgia Food Factors
Dietary changes can yield tremendous results when dealing with a whole host of medical conditions. Dietary changes are often recommended for heart problems, diabetes, cancer, you name the disease or condition and there is probably some sort of lifestyle changes prescribed for coping with it. Fibromyalgia is no different. There definitely foods that can either heal or hurt fibromyalgia symptoms.
There are some obvious choices that fit into this category like sugar, caffeine, acidic foods (like citrus), and processed foods. With or without fibromyalgia we have all been warned to avoid them for their many harmful effects on the body. Caffeine and sugar both induce the “fight or flight” response of the body. This is why we feel a “boost” in energy when we first consume them and then about 30-45 minutes later we feel a “crash” in energy. This crash usually draws us back to the coffee pot or fridge to reach for the next caffeine fix and starts the cycle all over again. The problem with this cycle is that it leaves our adrenal systems depleted and it blocks its ability to rejuvenate. Caffeine and sugar also rob the body of proper rest. Most people with fibromyalgia suffer from chronic fatigue and never feel properly rested. Think of people who have had too much caffeine, they are a bit jumpy and it would probably be a bad idea to sneak up on them. Now transfer your thinking to a much smaller scale and picture a tiny little nerve and how large amounts of caffeine are affecting it. The nerves are overreacting and jumpy just the same. The goal for people with fibromyalgia is to keep the nerves calm because calm nerves equal reduced pain. Acid build up is harmful because of the erosion it can cause on the nerves protective outer structure. A good mental picture would be to imagine a piece of M & M candy. It has the hard outer shell and a softer substance on the inside. If you drop that piece of candy into an acidic solution, whether it be weak or strong, that acid will eat away at the hard candy shell. Once it is past the outer protective wall it will deteriorate the inside structure at a much faster rate. The nerves are very delicate and we can help protect them by avoiding substances that will break them down.
While these foods make the list of obvious things we want to avoid there are some not so obvious ones as well. Foods that would normally be healthy to consume but are not good for fibromyalgia are:
- Dairy products
- Wheat or barley
- Green peas
- Citrus fruits
Our bodies have the ability to heal themselves when given the proper tools. Proper nutrition plays a vital role in our healing ability. If you have fibromyalgia you will want to focus on building the immune system and calming the nervous system. These are the major goals in achieving mental and physical comfort. Food that will give the immune system a boost are fresh fruits and vegetables except those mentioned above. You want to avoid citrus because of the acid. Fresh fruits and vegetables are best and if possible get organic. Buying fresh will guarantee the highest amount of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals needs to build a healthy immune system. Antioxidants are important because they attack the free radicals that introduced to the body through air we breathe and foods we eat. Free radicals attack the nerves protective walls similar to the M&M analogy and antioxidants help rid the body of free radical activity.
Berries are an excellent natural source of antioxidants and so are green and herbal teas.
Protein like chicken, turkey and fish are excellent boosters of the neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters and amino acids like tyrosine, dopamine, and serotonin have been known to be very low in people with fibromyalgia and can contribute to anxiety and depression. Fish is also a great source of Omega 3 fatty acid which not only reduces inflammation but also increases brain activity, assertiveness and mental focus. Magnesium is an important mineral that calm the muscles. Foods that contain magnesium are green leafy vegetables like spinach or broccoli. Fruits like banana or papaya are also great sources of magnesium. It is important remember to eat foods intentionally meaning anything eaten should have some form of benefit to the body.
Treat Yourself Kindly
The effects of fibromyalgia can be very tiresome. Be kind to your body and make healthy choices. Go for a short walk in the evening. Take a bath before bed time to help ease your muscles so you can sleep better. Eating well and clearing your mind will help you manage stress levels and will help to reduce painful symtpoms.