Nutrition for Fibromyalgia
When it comes to fibromyalgia, the old phrase “feeding your pain” can be taken literally. Doctors believe that the choices you make for your diet could help to alleviate or worsen your fibromyalgia symptoms. Limited research has been done on the effectiveness of a specific diet plan; however, some simple changes with your eating habits could be all it takes. Fibromyalgia affects up to 4% of the population, mostly women. At this time there is no known cause or recognized treatment that works for everyone. That’s one reason, say experts, that so many people have turned to diet as a way to relieve some of the symptoms. When faced with chronic muscular pain, it is essential to find a means to ease your discomfort and some of the effort could be found in your own kitchen and not at the pharmacy.
Can Diet Make A Difference?
Very little research has been done regarding the impact of dietary changes on fibromyalgia symptoms, but doctors support this decision for the overall health benefits. We all know that eating a balanced diet helps our body function at its best. In general, good nutrition from a well-balanced diet will help your body to achieve overall health and improve the body’s natural ability to heal. Eating foods of high nutritional content, such as foods low in fat and high in immune-boosting antioxidants, will support the body’s efforts to maximize energy and alertness and reduce feelings of chronic fatigue. Rheumatology expert, Dr. Alex Shikhman, believes that the changes in diet may not necessarily treat fibromyalgia symptoms or pain, but actually work to correct a secondary condition or underlying health problem that may be a contributing factor to fibromyalgia symptoms. Carefully identifying any underlying health issue and addressing its needs, even through dietary restrictions, may leave a lasting impact on your struggle with fibromyalgia pains.
What Foods To Avoid
Many people have reported a significant decrease in their fibromyalgia symptoms by making some simple changes to their lifestyle and diet. According to experts, there are seven foods that people with fibromyalgia should eliminate from their diet.
- Aspartame – more commonly known as NutraSweet is an article sweetener used in many food and drink items. It is reported that aspartame impacts a pain receptor in the body known as NMDA. Aspartame is known as an excitotoxin, may encourage the opening of the NMDA and increase minute pain to levels of chronic and severe pain. With fibromyalgia patients, the NMDA receptor is already overactive, making them at a much higher risk of experiencing added discomfort.
- Additives-such as MSG and nitrates can cause severe flare-ups in fibromyalgia pain. These additives are commonly found in frozen foods, Asian cuisine, and processed deli meats. Used to enhance flavors and/or lengthen shelf life, they are considered to have the same harmful impact on the body as aspartame.
- Sugars-while there is not distinctive link to eliminating sugar and reducing pains often connected with fibromyalgia, doctors believe the greatest reason for eliminating or reducing this item is to reduce risk of yeast infection and stimulate healthy eating habits, in turn supporting appropriate blood sugar levels and body weight.
- Caffeine-is a commonly used stimulant and a source of energy for many, however the energy is only temporary and often leads to a heavy crash or period of extreme fatigue. This feeling would only aggravate the feelings of chronic fatigue already felt by sufferers of fibromyalgia.
- Yeast/Gluten- though these are two separate items, they typically appear together, most frequently in baked goods. By cutting one, you are most likely going to be cutting the other. An excess of yeast can encourage the production of the yeast fungus in the body, while too much gluten can lead to gluten intolerance. Both of these can exacerbate common muscular discomfort associated with fibromyalgia.
- Dairy- regardless of fat content has been known to increase symptoms of fibromyalgia. Milk seems to be the most common culprit. While dairy is a wonderful source, to avoid possible flare-ups, you may be to simply reduce the amount of dairy items consumed each day.
- Nightshade Plants – this category includes potatoes, tomatoes, chili peppers, bell peppers and eggplant. These are just a small sampling, as nearly 2,000 plants fall into this category. The edible varieties have been shown to cause a flare-up in fibromyalgia symptoms.