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Best and Worst Foods for Fibromyalgia Pain

While there is no magic food to prevent fibromyalgia pain, doctors and scientists do recommend a few adjustments in your diet, which can make a huge difference in controlling the daunting symptoms. 

One strong recommendation is to improve your overall health, which has a positive effect on fibromyalgia pain. Along with living a healthy lifestyle, there are some foods that should be on the table all the time—and a few to be avoided.

DO EAT:

Eat Fruits & Veggies

Eating lots of fruits and vegetables can improve the health of a fibromyalgia patient. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber and antioxidants. Vitamins A, C, and E are found in fresh fruits and veggies, and these also fight free radicals to keep your body normalized. Plus, they also lack added preservatives and artificial coloring that often aggravate fibromyalgia patients.

Eat Omega-3s

The “healthy fat” in cold-water fish and walnuts can have anti-inflammatory properties. According to Jeffrey Thompson, MD, an associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine “Omega 3’s may not offer pain relief across the board, they’re a worthy addition to any diet.” So seek out fish and nuts, adding these to your diet on a regular basis.

DON’T EAT:

Avoid Corn

Corn, despite what you were taught in school, is not a vegetable. Corn is found everywhere these days. Did you know your chicken nuggets frequently have corn breading on them? Corn syrups, corn sweeteners, and corn starches may aggravate a fibromyalgia patient’s health.

Avoid Peanuts

Avoid peanuts. While nuts in general are healthy, peanuts are the exception. Because of the way peanuts are grown and stored today, they often top the list of foods that can cause inflammation

Avoid Simple Carbs, Whole Wheat & Whole Grains

Fibromyalgia patients often experience general hypersensitivity which translates into increased sensitivity to blood-sugar highs and lows. Avoid simple carbs like white sugar, white flour, and even wheat if possible. Also, be cautious with whole grains, since they can quickly elevate blood-sugar levels.

Avoid Foods Labeled ‘Gluten Free’

Foods labeled ‘gluten free’ can be tricky. These frequently include gluten-free substitutes that shoot blood-sugar up. Common ‘gluten free’ substitutes are starchy flours such as potato flour and tapioca flour. It’s not that these are necessarily bad, but your body may react to them with unpleasant digestive symptoms.

Avoid Caffeine

Sleeplessness is a common side effect of fibromyalgia, so if you wake up exhausted after a terrible night’s sleep, it is tempting to down the coffee. However, this may be a mistake. Using caffeine to compensate for a lack of sleep can contribute to circulatory problems, and the ‘solution’ of the caffeine then causes more sleeplessness. Caffeine highs also set patients up for a crash that can disrupt their sleep schedule. Decaf green tea may be an antioxidant rich healthier alternative for some patients.

Avoid Gluten & Yeast

Gluten intolerance frequently accompanies other fibromyalgia issues. It is also frequently associated with fatigue in patients with fibromyalgia.

In the case of yeast, several doctors say it fosters the overgrowth of the yeast fungus in the body. This contributes to joint and muscle pain experienced by people with fibromyalgia. Research in ongoing on this topic.

Avoid Food Additives

This including MSG (monosodium glutamate) and nitrates. While MSG enhances flavor, it can increase pain for patients. Experts say MSG causes a reaction similar to aspartame, which is classified as an excitotoxin and has the same potential for affecting NMDA receptors. Foods with added nitrates commonly include lunch meats, ham, bacon or bologna. These should be avoided.

One Diet Does Not Fit All

Finding the best diet for your fibromyalgia pain can be a challenge. Medical professionals strongly feel that diet has an effect on patients, however finding the exact diet for each individual takes time, requires experimenting, and needs effective use of a  food journal. Doctors encourage patients to record what they eat and how they feel afterwards documenting foods and combinations of foods that have positive or negative reactions on their health. This can be tremendously helpful in assisting fibromyalgia patients to understand their own bodies and create a diet that works well.

According to Kent Holtorf, MD, the medical director of the Holtorf Medical Group Center for Endocrine, Neurological and Infection Related Illness in Torrance, California, “We’re at the point now where we know diet plays a role in this disease — it’s just not the same diet for everybody. And not everybody is helped in the same way.”

Read more about common ‘healthy foods’ that should be avoided by fibromyalgia patients.

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