Maintaining a good healthy diet and ensuring you get adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals is an essential part of managing your fibromyalgia. According to the journal Clinical Rheumatology, around half of fibromyalgia patients reported that their symptoms worsened after eating certain foods. It is very important to balance your calorie intake with the amount of energy that you are expending, so to avoid weight gain. Taking supplements and improving your diet, benefits you particularly in terms of the reduction in pain levels, fatigue and gastric complaints like IBS and bloating.
With fibromyalgia it is a good idea to pay attention to what you eat and drink and how they make you feel. Many find certain food or types of foods affect their symptoms and are commonly intolerant to MSG, preservatives like sulphur-dioxide in wine, food additives, eggs, fatty foods, sugar, artificial sweeteners, red meat, dairy, gluten and ‘gassy’ foods like cabbage, onions, potatoes, tomatoes and chillies.
Aspartame: an artificial sweetener found in a large percentage of foods, even those you wouldn’t normally associate with sugars.
Caffeine: You may think to drink a lot of coffee because you are tired, but caffeine reduces the quality of sleep, making your fibromyalgia symptoms worse.
Dairy: People with fibromyalgia who have food intolerances often find that a lactose intolerance can compound the severity of their symptoms.
Fats: increase body weight and therefore symptoms, many find digestive symptoms are worsened by eating fatty foods, particularly foods with dairy fats.
Gluten: Intolerance to gluten, found in wheat, barley and rye products, is common with fibromyalgia patients. Whilst you won’t need to eliminate it altogether, you will benefit by reducing your intake.
Preservatives and Enhancers: processed foods usually contain flavour enhancers, preservatives and large amounts of salt and/or sugar so it’s best to avoid pre-packaged foods that contain them.
Salt: Some people find reducing salt intake can lessen pain and swelling experienced with fibromyalgia.
Sugar: Some may think sugar will give you more energy, however sugar is a type of carbohydrate and causes weight gain. This is a big issue with fibromyalgia patients who have reduced ability to exercise, as it will only increase severity of symptoms.
Irritable bowel syndrome is common to those with fibromyalgia, bringing into play many food issues. An elimination diet can help narrow down suspect foods that may clog you up, or the opposite, and foods that bloat you. Keep a diary of everything you eat and the effects, or symptom changes, you experience and stop eating some foods completely to see if your symptoms improve. A popular diet with people who have fibromyalgia is the “FODMAP” diet. Click Here
Foods that may improve symptoms can be Fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids, dark green leafy vegetables and fruits that are high in vitamins A, E and C, lean meat that is high in iron and B12, and colourful vegetables high in antioxidants. Eating with moderation and paying close attention to what you eat and how it affects your symptoms can improve the quality of your life.