Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain that affects an estimated 10 million people in the United States alone.
Fibromyalgia symptoms are widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in localized body areas. People with fibromyalgia often experience other symptoms, including sleep disturbances, headaches, cognitive difficulties, and mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Although the leading cause of fibromyalgia is not fully understood, it is believed to result from a combination of factors, including genetics, environmental triggers, and neurological imbalances. While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, various treatments are available to help manage symptoms, including medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications.
One lifestyle modification that is particularly effective in managing fibromyalgia symptoms is diet. While there is no one-size-fits-all diet plan for fibromyalgia, there are certain foods that people with fibromyalgia should avoid to help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain and fatigue symptoms.
In this guide, we’ll explore the foods to avoid with fibromyalgia, why these foods can exacerbate symptoms, and alternative food options to help manage symptoms.
We’ll also discuss the importance of individualized diet plans and the role of healthcare professionals and registered dietitians in providing personalized nutrition guidance.
Foods to Avoid with Fibromyalgia
Diet plays a crucial role in managing fibromyalgia symptoms. Certain foods can exacerbate pain and fatigue, while others can help alleviate them. In this section, we’ll explore the foods to avoid with fibromyalgia and why these foods can worsen symptoms.
High-Sugar Foods and Drinks
High-sugar foods and drinks, such as candy, soda, and baked goods, should be avoided by people with fibromyalgia. These foods can cause blood sugar levels to spike and crash, leading to fatigue and exacerbating pain symptoms. Additionally, sugar can cause inflammation in the body, worsening fibromyalgia symptoms.
Individuals with fibromyalgia should also consider limiting or avoiding simple carbohydrates. Simple carbs, like white bread, pasta, and rice, are rapidly converted to sugar in the body, causing blood sugar levels to fluctuate and resulting in the same crashes and spikes as high-sugar foods. Furthermore, simple carbohydrates may trigger inflammation, exacerbating pain symptoms.
For those dealing with fibromyalgia, avoid processed foods, such as frozen dinners, snack foods, and fast food. These foods often contain high levels of unhealthy fats, sugar, and salt, worsening inflammation and pain symptoms. Furthermore, processed foods are typically low in nutrients, exacerbating fatigue symptoms.
You should avoid processed foods, including frozen dinners, snacks, and fast food. Such foods are often packed with high amounts of sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats, which can worsen inflammation and pain symptoms. Moreover, processed foods typically lack essential nutrients, compounding fatigue symptoms.
It’s best to avoid or limit the consumption of red meat. This type of meat contains high levels of saturated fat, which can worsen inflammation and pain symptoms and exacerbate fatigue.
It’s advisable to avoid foods containing gluten, such as wheat, barley, and rye. Although not all fibromyalgia sufferers are sensitive to gluten, some are. Gluten sensitivity can cause inflammation, which in turn can exacerbate pain and fatigue symptoms.
It’s recommended to either limit or avoid dairy products. These products can trigger inflammation in the body, leading to an aggravation of pain and fatigue symptoms. Furthermore, lactose, the sugar in milk, can cause gastrointestinal issues, especially for those with lactose intolerance.
Eating too many eggs may not be the best choice for some people, especially those prone to inflammation. Arachidonic acid, present in eggs, can exacerbate symptoms of pain and fatigue by causing inflammation in the body. Therefore, it may be beneficial to limit or avoid eggs and choose other sources of protein that are less likely to trigger inflammation.
Nightshade vegetables, such as potatoes, tomatoes, and bell peppers, should be limited or avoided by people with fibromyalgia. Nightshade vegetables contain alkaloids, which some people with fibromyalgia are sensitive to. Alkaloids can contribute to inflammation in the body, exacerbating pain and fatigue symptoms.
Caffeine and Chocolate
Caffeine and chocolate should be limited or avoided by people with fibromyalgia. Caffeine and chocolate can interfere with sleep quality, exacerbating fatigue symptoms. Additionally, caffeine can contribute to anxiety symptoms and worsening pain symptoms.
Alcohol should be limited or avoided by people with fibromyalgia. Alcohol can interfere with sleep quality, exacerbating fatigue symptoms. Additionally, alcohol can contribute to inflammation in the body, worsening pain symptoms.
Aspartame and Food Additives
Aspartame and other food additives, such as MSG and nitrates, should be limited or avoided by people with fibromyalgia. MSG and nitrates can contribute to inflammation in the body, worsening pain symptoms. Aspartame can interfere with neurological functioning, exacerbating cognitive difficulties common in fibromyalgia.
People with fibromyalgia should avoid or limit certain foods to manage symptoms. High-sugar foods and drinks, simple carbohydrates, processed foods, unhealthy fats, red meat, gluten-containing foods, dairy products, eggs, nightshade vegetables, caffeine and chocolate, alcohol, and aspartame and food additives should all be avoided or limited.
By following a fibromyalgia-friendly diet, people with fibromyalgia can help alleviate their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
In addition to avoiding certain foods, people with fibromyalgia can also incorporate foods that can help alleviate symptoms. Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, anti-inflammatory spices and herbs, and non-dairy milk alternatives are all excellent options for people with fibromyalgia.
These foods can provide essential nutrients and help reduce inflammation, alleviating pain and fatigue symptoms.
Alternative Food Options for People with Fibromyalgia
In the section above, we discussed the foods to avoid with fibromyalgia. In this section, we’ll explore alternative food options for people with fibromyalgia that can help alleviate symptoms.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables are an excellent option for people with fibromyalgia because they are rich in nutrients and antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain symptoms. Additionally, fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, lower blood sugar levels, and alleviate fatigue symptoms.
Lean Protein Sources
Lean proteins like fish, chicken, turkey, and legumes are good options for people with fibromyalgia because they provide essential amino acids that the body needs to repair and maintain muscle tissue. Additionally, protein can help regulate blood sugar levels and alleviate fatigue symptoms.
Including whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and oats in one’s diet can benefit individuals with fibromyalgia. These grains are rich in fiber, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and alleviate fatigue symptoms. Moreover, whole grains are a great source of essential nutrients such as B vitamins, which can help alleviate cognitive difficulties often experienced by those with fibromyalgia.
Anti-Inflammatory Spices and Herbs
Anti-inflammatory spices and herbs such as turmeric, ginger, and garlic are good options for people with fibromyalgia because they can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain symptoms. Additionally, spices and herbs can add flavor to meals without salt or unhealthy fats.
Non-Dairy Milk Alternatives
Non-dairy alternatives such as almond, soy, and coconut milk are good options for people with fibromyalgia who are sensitive to lactose or dairy products. These milk alternatives are often fortified with vitamins and minerals, which can help alleviate fatigue symptoms.
Omega-3 Rich Foods
Omega-3-rich foods such as fatty fish (salmon, tuna, trout), chia seeds, and walnuts are good options for people with fibromyalgia because they can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain symptoms.
People with fibromyalgia can live happy, healthy lives with the right tools and support. By following a fibromyalgia-friendly diet, people with fibromyalgia can help alleviate their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Regular exercise, stress management techniques, and enough sleep can help manage fibromyalgia symptoms.
What Vitamins are Good for Fibromyalgia
Adding supplements to your fibromyalgia treatment plan may provide additional support to ease your symptoms. Supplements such as magnesium, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids may help alleviate pain, fatigue, and depression associated with fibromyalgia.
Additionally, taking a multivitamin containing antioxidant vitamins, calcium, magnesium, selenium, and zinc may support your immune system, which may be compromised due to fibromyalgia. Coenzyme Q10, an antioxidant that assists energy production, has also displayed potential in treating fibromyalgia symptoms.
I use ORZAX Magnesium Complex and Pure Encapsulations Vitamin D3 in my fibromyalgia treatment plan. These supplements have shown the potential in helping to alleviate symptoms and support your immune system.
However, it’s important to remember that supplements may work differently for some, and it’s crucial to always consult with your doctor before adding any supplements to your regimen.
With their guidance, you can determine the most effective supplement for your specific needs and find relief from your fibromyalgia symptoms.