Good nutrition can be one way to manage chronic pain conditions. However, people with fibromyalgia can often get considerable relief from their symptoms by simply changing their diet. Moreover, fibromyalgia sufferers should consider proper ways to eat a healthy fibromyalgia diet. Scientists and doctors have done a lot of research on the link between fibromyalgia and diet. And, they agree upon the fact that nutrition is a likely tool for treating patients. According to research published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology.
There is not only one specific “fibromyalgia diet” that works for everyone with fibromyalgia. But also, there are certain foods and nutrients that often help or provoke many people with the condition. Fibromyalgia is a disorder where patients have widespread musculoskeletal pain as well as other symptoms such as fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues.
First thing’s first, avoiding foods that trigger pain would help you a lot. And second, eating anti-inflammatory foods may help improve your health and fibromyalgia symptoms.
Sonya Angelone, MS, RD, CLT, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, who regularly works with people with fibromyalgia, shares her best advice for finding a fibromyalgia diet plan that works for you.
1. Eat A More Plant-Based Diet
“Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components that may ease fibromyalgia pain,” Angelone says. While fibromyalgia isn’t considered an inflammation-based illness. So, studies suggest that neuroinflammation may play a role in the condition.
And if you’re overweight, switching out high-fat meats and refined grains for produce could help you slim down and feel better. She adds: “Weight loss decreases inflammation and eases the burden on your muscles and joints.”
2. Boost Your Omega-3 Intake
Angelone advises her clients with fibromyalgia to eat more foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including fatty fish, walnuts, and flaxseed. “It can help decrease inflammation and relieve pain in some people,” she explains. Hate fish? Fish oil supplements can help.
3. Spice Up Your Menu
Many herbs and spices are effective sources of phytochemicals. Which are chemical compounds that host in plants which associate with anti-inflammatory effects? Angelone’s top picks include turmeric, red pepper, cloves, ginger, cumin, anise, fennel, basil, rosemary, and garlic.
4. Limit Sugar
A diet high in sugar and refined carbs (as well as saturated and trans fats) can fuel inflammation. But you can’t just avoid dessert and white bread and assume your diet is low in sugar. “Sugar can lurk in unexpected foods, such as salad dressings and marinara sauce, so it’s important to always read the label when you shop,” Angelone says.
5. Consider Cutting Out Gluten
Could gluten trigger fibromyalgia pain? Because people with fibromyalgia often face similar symptoms to those associated with gluten-related disorders. People with this disease have a basic gluten sensitivity. However, going gluten-free isn’t something you should try on your own. According to Angelone: “You need to be on a carefully designed plan so you don’t end up with nutrient deficiencies.”
6. Keep A Food Diary To ID Food Sensitivities
People with fibromyalgia sometimes find that their fibro symptoms get worse when they eat certain foods or ingredients. Such as dairy, MSG, caffeine, or artificial sweeteners. To identify your triggers, keep a food diary for a couple of weeks and note how you feel after each meal and snack. Keep in mind, however, that fibro symptoms from eating certain food can take up to a day to appear.
7. Ask Your Doctor About Supplements
Many Americans are low in vitamin D and magnesium, both of which are important for those with fibromyalgia.
“If you aren’t getting enough magnesium, that can make your fatigue worse because magnesium plays an important role in energy production,” Angelone explains.
As for vitamin D, a study published in the journal Pain found that people with fibromyalgia who took vitamin D reported less pain and morning fatigue than those who took a placebo.