Foods To Avoid With Fibromyalgia
Managing pain for fibromyalgia can be tricky. Narrowing down what causes your flare ups is the first step to gaining relief so you can go on leading a normal life. There are certain foods you should avoid that can help prevent symptoms from occurring. Start tracking your flare ups with a food journal. This will assist you in determining which foods and/or additives to avoid. The following are just a few examples of certain foods or additives that have been known to cause flare ups.
The nightshade family of fruits and vegetables or Solonaceae are very complex and contain approximately 2,000 species including: tomatoes, bell peppers, white potatoes, eggplant, chilies and paprika. They are thought to have been named nightshade vegetables because they grow in the shade of night rather than during the day. The main debilitator in the nightshade family of fruit and vegetable is called Solanine. Solanine is is a glycoalkaloid poison and is primarily displayed by gastrointestinal and neurological disorders. It’s produced naturally by these plants as a defense mechanism and has fungicidal and pesticidal properties. Research shows that 74 to 90 percent of people who had inflammatory conditions like arthritis or fibromyalgia suffered from increased inflammation and pain after eating nightshade fruits or vegetables.
Aspartame and Food Additives
One of the foods additives that can adversely trigger certain receptors located within the nervous system is aspartame. A published study in the Journal of Rheumatology discovered that nerves were stimulated when people who were diagnosed with FMS were given aspartame. Food additives such as monosodium glutamate otherwise known as MSG as well as other food additives equally seemed to increase pain symptoms in many individuals. People with fibromyalgia should try to avoid food additives, and in particular, aspartame and MSG.
Chocolate and Coffee
This is a painful one but fibromyalgia sufferers should stay away from foods containing caffeine, including chocolate and coffee. Caffeine increases the heart rate and blood pressure, placing additional strain on muscle tissue. Chocolate and other caffeine-containing foods can also disrupt productive sleep, which is essential for managing fibromyalgia-related pain.
Like saturated fats and sugars, fried foods contribute to feelings of fatigue. They also inhibit circulation and increase the sensitivity of nerve endings to pain. Fibromyalgia sufferers should avoid fried foods entirely. The one exception would be, of all things, potato chips. Since potatoes are a nightshade vegetable and contain Solanine, they are not a good option, but the healthiest way to eat potatoes is fried. The deep frying process destroys a good percentage of the solanine since it is close to the surface of the potato skin. This is not a ringing endorsement for eating potato chips and French fries but if you are going to eat potatoes, deep frying them would be the best option for fibromyalgia sufferers.
White flour can aggravate the pain symptoms of fibromyalgia. The body converts white flour, which is a simple carbohydrate, into sugars. These sugars promote fatigue, disrupt sleep patterns and increase pain. White flour can also contribute to weight gain, placing additional stress on the joints and muscles. Using whole wheat or almond flour would be a great alternative.
Red meats tend to be high in saturated fats. The saturated fats in red meats interfere with proper circulation and increase sensitivity to pain. They also contribute to fatigue, making it difficult for fibromyalgia sufferers to get the exercise they need to promote muscle flexibility and range of motion. White meat found in chicken and fish are the best to eat. Fish contains healthy omega oils which help combat certain symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Making it Easier
It makes sense for people with fibromyalgia — just like everyone else — to try to eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables (aside from nightshades), whole grains, and lean protein. A well-balanced diet can give you more energy to stay physically active and can potentially improve your overall health.
If you’re struggling with pain and exhaustion, however, it’s hard to cook nutritious meals. Make is easier on yourself by seeking out healthy foods that don’t require much preparation.
Make sure you eat breakfast, which should include some protein and whole grains.
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 to vary your diet.
Choosing the right foods may help you keep your energy level more consistent and prevent fatigue and flare ups. It’s not the easiest thing to do in our chaotic world but with a little planning and preparation, it can be done.