There is a great deal to be shared about foods to avoid for fibromyalgia, so consider this a primer. In my 37 years of practice as a Chiropractor, I have seen many, many women come into my office with the symptoms generally associated with this painful disease. Widespread muscle pain without specific cause is the most common problem described by those who suffer from fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is characterized as a syndrome or group of associated symptoms.
- Difficulty with sleep
- Irritable bowels
- Painful menstrual periods
- Temperature sensitivity
- Sensitivity to loud noises and bright lights
- Brain fog
- Restless legs syndrome
All or some of these symptoms, along with general muscle pain, round out the group of symptoms most often reported.
There also seems to be a connection between endometriosis and fibromyalgia. Many women suffer with both of these diseases. There seems to be some correlation between the menstrual cycle and immune disorders. This could be related to thyroid issues as well, though the jury is still out on that.
Women who are between 20 and 50 years old are most likely to show up in a chiropractors office complaining of symptoms characteristic of fibromyalgia. Men and children can also get the disease, however, of the 80 – 90 million people who suffer from this ailment, 80% are women.
Very often, those that show up to see a chiropractor have already been diagnosed by another physician and are seeking alternative treatment. One of the most obvious treatments for managing this disease is learning how to manage your diet. There are foods you will want to include and foods to avoid for fibromyalgia.
5 Foods To Avoid For Fibromyalgia
- Processed Foods And Foods With Additives – These may be the most important foods to avoid for fibromyalgia. Some people don’t even think of processed foods or foods with additives to be “real” food. Complex chemicals which are added to foodish substances by flavorists (biochemist lab rats) will make things much worse for your condition. These cleverly designed addictive chemicals may have you reaching for comfort inside a box of cereal, bag of chips, or crackers, but, will rob your body of the very nutrients it needs to heal and may make your condition worse. Stay organic with your food choices. If you can’t afford organic foods, at least make sure you are purchasing real food. The way to identify real food is if it occurs naturally.
- Sugar – All processed sugars should be removed from your diet. They may provide a fast burst of energy, but will promote weight gain causing additional pain and suffering. Get your sugar fix with fiber (choose fruit). Like many you may actually be addicted to sugar. And like most addictive substances, it has bad consequences if you abuse it.
- Gluten – Remove refined wheat pasta and breads. Gluten is also found in barley, wheat, and rye products. You may want to eliminate them for a period of time and then add them back one at a time to see how your body responds. You may likely find yourself experiencing far less pain in your joints. Gluten intolerance and fibromyalgia may overlap in some people. More and more it is possible to find gluten free alternatives to things you enjoy.
- Alcohol and Caffeine – It may be tempting to reach for a cup of coffee when feeling the tiredness often associated with fibromyalgia. Restful sleep is crucial for eliminating the painful symptoms of fibromyalgia so try to substitute a calming tea instead.
- Artificial Sweeteners – Aspartame is one of the worst artificial sweeteners of all. NutraSweet and Equal are simply brand names for Aspartame, but they are all used to sweeten drinks and should be completely removed from your pantry and diet. Other sugars like, agave nectar and even stevia are not necessarily all that good for you. Diet soda’s are horrible for you. Don’t take my word for it, watch this video:
Foods To Include For Fibromyalgia
A good diet to heal your fibromyalgia should include a wide variety of fruits, green vegetables, healthy proteins and fermented foods.
- Fermented foods top the list as they have gone through a process of lactofermentation. This is where natural bacteria feed on the sugars and starch to create lactic acid. The end result of this process creates beneficial enzymes, B vitamins, various strains of probiotics, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Fermented foods are much easier for your body to digest and create a healthy environment in your gut. The healthier you can keep your intestines the more likely you will be able to manage the overall inflammation associated with fibromyalgia. (after all 80% of your immune system is in your gut!)
- Clean lean protein is essential for the repair, maintenance, energy and proper function of connective tissue and smooth muscle. (Like that found in your intestines) Plant-based amino acids derived from a fermented food source would be the best choice. Super Amino 23 is a pre digested plant based protein supplement that cuts down the burden placed on the digestive system, liver, and kidneys while repairing inflamed tissue.
- Green vegetables provide essential minerals like magnesium, micro-nutrients, enzymes and vitamins. They also provide fiber to keep things moving through your intestines.
- Aloe Vera is an excellent food that can soothe and heal the digestive tract.
- Omega 3 fats, as mentioned earlier, can reduce inflammation and pain that may be associated with fibromyalgia. Try to eat healthy fats like those found in avocados and coconut oil.
- Fruits, vegetables and herbs all contribute vital antioxidants required to counter the inflammatory processes associated with fibromyalgia. Tart cherry juice packed with bioflavanoids (vitamins A, C, and E) is an excellent addition to your diet as well. It will help you sleep as it also has natural melatonin.
Conclusion: Know that support is always available for those who suffer from fibromyalgia. Knowing what foods to avoid for fibromyalgia and which foods help heal you make a huge difference in how you approach the healing process.
The best support you can give yourself during a flare up of fibromyalgia is to slow down and be aware of the foods to avoid for fibromyalgia. A healthy and well balanced diet will help you restore balance. Your body is trying to send you a message when these debilitating symptoms appear. Listening to your body and incorporating these additional suggestions will help.
- Get the sleep your body needs. The difference between seven and eight hours of sleep a night has been shown to play a significant factor in your ability to think better. Practicing nightly rituals and going to sleep at the same time each night also help you to form good sleep habits. ‘Good sleep‘ allows your organs to rest and allows you to awaken to a new day feeling good and energized.
- Gentle exercise has also been proven to be an effective aid in supporting overall well being as part of a treatment for fibromyalgia. Walking, even if it is only around the block, every day is one of the best things you can do to support your health. You get to breath fresh air, get a vitamin D dose and get your body moving. You don’t have to go crazy here, just get moving.
- Pay special attention to foods to avoid for fibromyalgia and eat those foods that keep you well.
Always make sure you get the support you need. Surround yourself with people who understand the suffering that is associated with your condition. Become an awareness educator yourself. Join a support group, and certainly contact us if you would like to help others who may be seeking answers.