Five Foods that Help Fight Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Posted by on Oct 2, 2012 in Diet, Fibro Pics | 8 comments

Five Foods that Help Fight Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Food and Fibromyalgia can be a tricky subject.  There is no doubt that diet plays an important role for everyone, but because many people with Fibromyalgia have been told that their diet is the only reason they have symptoms, it becomes a very sensitive topic. I think it is important to recognize that the perfect diet does not “cure” Fibromyalgia, but it can help alleviate some of the symptoms.

Sadly, there is no one size fits all diet that ensures that we all can be healthy by simply following it. The reality is that the human body is a complex organism that processes foods differently and has different needs for each and every person.  When you add in chronic illnesses and/or diseases the body becomes even more complex.

For people with Fibromyalgia, diet and supplements can help with combating some of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia including pain, fatigue, brain fogginess, irritable bowel issues, and so forth.

In this article, I’m going to discuss Five Foods that help Fight Fibromyalgia Symptoms.  While these tend to be healthy choices in general, you should still check with your doctor before starting a major diet change and should obviously avoid foods if you are allergic or sensitive to them.

HealthyPlate2

#1:  Water

water

All right, I know water is a technically a drink and not a food, but it is still a necessary form of nourishment for us to be healthy. As a result, I’m not only including it as one of my Five Foods that Help Fight Fibromyalgia Symptoms, I’m putting it as the Number 1 most important item.

Why is water so important?  The human body consists of up to 80% water and without it we cannot survive, much less thrive.   On top of that, people on the SAD diet tend to drink a lot of caffeine and alcohol. It is estimated that 75% of North Americans are chronically dehydrated, because as whole we fail to drink the recommended amount of water each day and we tend to drink things (like caffeine and alcohol) that actually cause further dehydration.

Water can help combat symptoms of muscle spasms and cramps (especially when caused by dehydration) and can help purify your body overall leading to an increase in oxygen circulation and better absorption of nutrients.  All of these are highly beneficial side effects for those of us with Fibromyalgia.

The daily recommended dose of water varies depending on your body makeup, your weight, how lean your body mass is, how strenuous your exercise routine is and what the weather is like can all come into play when determining the proper amount of water to drink.  The USDA doesn’t have a specific recommendation for quantity, they simply state that drinking water when thirsty, when sweating profusely, and with meals regularly will ensure sufficient water intake.

*Interesting Side Note: Needing to Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day is a MYTH

For Fibromyalgia patients, this may be a little different.  The quantity is still determined the same way, but drinking water at mealtimes should be limited, because it may actually interfere with digestion, potentially leading to an exacerbation of digestive and bowel symptoms.

#2:  Lean Proteins and Fatty Fishes


Lean proteins are essential for providing amino acids, which are needed to build and rebuild muscle and connective tissue cells.  Lean proteins include foods like white-meat poultry (not fried), fish, legumes, and tofu.

Additionally, fatty fishes (tuna, herring, trout, salmon, flounder) and plant-based oils (olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil) and nuts (walnuts, almonds, etc.) contain Omega 3’s and Vitamin B complex, which helps minimize nerve sensitivity, improve cognition, reduce inflammation, improve heart health and improve absorption of nutrients.

Fresh rainbow trout and shrimp on a black plate.
Legumes (beans, lentils, split peas) are rich in lean proteins and fiber, which helps digestion of food and helps decrease hunger between meals, which can help with weight loss.

With the SAD diet, many people eat fried chicken and red meats like pork and beef.  These are very high in saturated fats, which interferes with blood circulation and creates “bad” cholesterol.

For people with Fibromyalgia, eating more lean proteins and especially items with Omega 3’s will help reduce the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue, brain fogginess, overall inflammation, incomplete digestion of foods, and joint stiffness and pain.

In general, an adult should eat 2 to 3 servings of fish per week or about 1-2 tablespoons of fish oil daily to obtain the benefits from the Omega-3 Fatty Acids found in the fatty fishes and nuts.

#3: Fresh Fruits

 
fresh fruit
Fresh fruits that contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals help boost the immune system and may help prevent damage at the cellular level to your muscles, brain and connective tissues. Additionally fruits that contain Vitamin C also can help reduce swelling.

Fruits that are particularly rich in antioxidants and vitamins include blueberries, cherries, tomatoes, strawberries, oranges, cantaloupe, apples, pears, bananas, papayas, and plums.

In general, eating the daily recommended serving of fruits entails having a ¼ of each meal dedicated to different types of fruits OR having snacks that focus on fruits.  This allows you to visually determine the proper amount for you.

For those of us with Fibromyalgia, eating the typical serving of anti-oxidant fruits can actually help prevent the physical and mental symptoms from getting worse, while strengthening the immune system.  Fruits are also high in fiber, so they can help with constipation and IBS symptoms as well.

#4: Fresh Vegetables

 
vegetables

Like fruits, vegetables are extremely important because they contain antioxidants, fiber, and other vitamins and minerals.  Fresh vegetables can help lower bad cholesterol, improve blood circulation, reduce inflammation, assist with digestive issues, and support the immune system.

Vegetables like kale, spinach and bell peppers are very high in antioxidants. While vegetable like spinach, broccoli, squash and carrots are high in fiber.

Eating fresh vegetables offers the same benefits as fresh fruits and the daily recommended amount to eat is also ¼ of your plate or food intake for the day.

One important note though: for people with Fibromyalgia it might be a good idea to avoid potatoes, bell peppers, and eggplant because they contain solanine, which can inhibit enzymes in the muscles leading to more pain.

 

 
#5: Whole Grains
seedsgrainsnuts


Whole grains are filled with vitamins, minerals, and fiber that help improve the immune system and provide energy without inflammation. Eating a diet rich in whole grains is very beneficial.

On the other hand, eating enriched flour, sugary cereals, white breads, donuts, flour tortillas, and other processed snack foods lead to muscle and tissue inflammation and ultimately more pain for people with Fibromyalgia. However, by avoiding these and selecting whole grains, people with Fibromyalgia benefit from additional energy and a stronger immune system.

Some examples of whole grains include whole wheat, barley, old fashioned oats, wild rice, brown rice, and air popped popcorn.

Conclusion:

In short, the Five Foods that Help Fight Fibromyalgia Symptoms are really groups of foods and water.  Additionally, these foods are things that everyone should consider eating instead of the  less healthy snacks and processed foods that commonly find their way into our households.
For people with Fibromyalgia, these food options can help decrease inflammation, increase cognitive abilities, improve digestive issues, increase energy, decrease fatigue and more.

Has anyone else found these food types to be helpful in combating Fibromyalgia symptoms?

 

 

References:
Alive.com. “Are you Chronically dehydrated?” http://www.alive.com/articles/view/17570/are_you_chronically_dehydrated

Choose My Plate.com “FAQ’s”  http://www.choosemyplate.gov/faqs.html

Livestrong.com, “Proper Foods to Eat for Fibromyalgia” http://www.livestrong.com/article/268002-proper-foods-to-eat-for-fibromyalgia/

National Center for Biotechnology  Information, “Fibromyalgia syndrome improved using a mostly raw vegetarian diet: An observational study.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC57816/

University of Maryland Medical Center “Fibromyalgia” http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/fibromyalgia-000061.htm

PubMed.gov “Vegan Diet Alleviates Fibromayalgia Symptoms” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11093597 (Study and Results by Kaartinen K, Lammi K, Hypen M, Nenonen M, Hanninen O, Rauma AL 2000; 29: 308-313)

Hello Fibro Friends. My name is Emily. I have Fibromyalgia, but it doesn’t have me, at least not anymore! After coping with the chronic pain and other difficult symptoms of Fibromyalgia for more than a decade, I have learned wonderful ways to improve my quality of life and find inspiration in the world around me. My purpose in life is to increase Fibromyalgia awareness and understanding, while helping others reach an Inspired Life! I love teaching others how to not only cope with Fibromyalgia, but to actually excel at living an abundant, healthy, and inspired lifestyle.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ YouTube 

8 Comments

  1. I’ve worked with (mostly) woman who have Fibro for the past 15 years in helping them heal through both bodywork and working on their inner chatter to help create a life of freedom. I love this post ~ very much needed Emily! I will be sending clients to it :)

  2. That sounds wonderful Laura! I really tried to make this post simple and straight forward, but hopefully helpful! I’m glad you liked it!

  3. Great post! Sometimes there is too much diet information out there for fibro, so it is nice to have it narrowed down.

  4. I’ve found that to be true too. There’s a lot of information, but it’s hard to pinpoint what is really important and why, which makes it difficult to figure out what we as individuals need to change or adjust to possibly get the benefits.

  5. Great post about irritable bowel syndrome.

    tt {
    font-family: courier;
    }
    td {
    font-family: helvetica, sans-serif;
    }
    caption {
    font-family: helvetica, sans-serif;
    font-size: 14pt;
    text-align: left;
    }

    IBS Symptoms

  6. Great information! My best girl friend is struggling now with fibro. I’ve sent her your blog. I know it’ll be good for her. Thank you!

  7. That’s great Audrey on multiple levels-great that you liked it enough to refer a friend and great that you are such a good friend that you care about your friend and want to learn more and help! One of the most difficult parts of Fibromyalgia can be the feeling that no one understands or cares, so your friend is lucky that YOU care!

  8. Great Tips….Thanks for sharing.

    Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge