There are widespread tender spots and widespread discomfort associated with fibromyalgia. The symptoms often overlap with other diseases, making a correct diagnosis challenging. In addition, it is often difficult to treat. This is why choosing a doctor specializing in fibromyalgia care is essential.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an estimated 5 million Americans have the illness, with women disproportionately affected. Alterations to one's way of life, such as one's food, may be helpful for some people in controlling their symptoms.
Eat a Variety of Healthy Foods
Any person, who has fibromyalgia or not, can benefit from sticking to a healthy eating plan. However, a 2018 research review found that persons with fibromyalgia benefit significantly by consuming a balanced diet. Antioxidant-rich diets that supply sufficient amounts of nutrients like vitamin B12 have been linked to improved symptoms.
Essential components of a healthy diet include:
- Fresh vegetables and fruits
- Good fats
- Whole grains
- Low-fat dairy products and lean proteins like fish and poultry
Low-nutritional-value foods, such as those high in saturated fat and those prepared through processing or deep-frying, can have severe consequences for your health and should be avoided at all costs. Likewise, try to reduce the amount of salt and sugar you consume.
Eat for Energy
Fibromyalgia can cause fatigue and exhaustion. Certain foods can provide you with tremendous energy throughout the day. To slow down carbohydrate absorption, mix them with protein or fat. Choose whole, fiber-rich foods that are low in added sugars, such as:
- Nuts and seeds, like almonds
- Broccoli \ beans
- Tofu \ oatmeal
- Dark leafy greens
Avoid sweets, which only provide a temporary sugar boost. Your body will burn through them quickly, and you will immediately crash or lose that high-energy feeling.
The effects of nutrition on fibromyalgia have been the subject of several older studies. A small study conducted in 2000 suggested that switching to a raw and vegan diet could help with symptoms including stiff joints and insomnia. In 2001, another study was conducted. An article from a reputable source published in what is now called BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine (formerly known as BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies) discovered that a vegetarian or vegan diet reduced pain levels.
Foods including salads, carrot juice, almonds, and fruits made up the bulk of their diets. The advantages of a raw and vegetarian diet have been lauded by modern science as well. A 2019 literature review found that after following this diet for a couple of months, many people had positive changes in areas such as:
- Poor quality of sleep and early stiffness
- Morning stiffness
- Raw food diets are highly restrictive and unsuitable for everyone, even though they are generally nutritious and rich in plant antioxidants.
Before switching to a raw food diet, you must consult with a doctor or a nutritionist.
Don’t Eat Foods That Trigger Your Symptoms
Although the lack of a universally accepted "fibromyalgia diet," studies have shown that some persons with the condition may react to specific foods or food components.
Among these are:
Foods high in gluten excitotoxins, also known as fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-, and polyols (FODMAPs), are a type of carbohydrate additive. Some people relieve their symptoms when they eat (or refrain from eating) particular foods. Keeping a food journal can help you identify which foods worsen or alleviate your symptoms.
Keep Your Weight in Check
Weight control is another issue that can be mitigated by eating healthily. When people with fibromyalgia and obesity reduced weight, they reported an improvement in their quality of life, according to research published in Clinical Rheumatology in 2012.
After losing weight, they felt less pain, less stress, less painful areas, and better sleep. The results of this study support the idea that reducing body weight helps treat fibromyalgia. A 2019 assessment of the research confirms that slimming down and cutting back on calories can help reduce pain and inflammation, leading to overall better quality of life.