January 20, 2017

The Eating Plan for Managing Fibromyalgia

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a common syndrome, not a disease, in which people experience long-term, body-wide pain and tender points in joints, muscles, tendons and other soft tissues.  Fibromyalgia has also been linked to fatigue, sleep problems, headaches, depression, anxiety and other symptoms.

Since it is not necessarily caused by any one problem, fibromyalgia sufferers will benefit most from an overall healthy and balanced diet.

Eating Plan for Fibromyalgia

While there may not be a single set of dietary guidelines that are right for all fibromyalgia sufferers, there are certain foods, or food groups, that appear to make a difference for a significant number of people.

As important as sticking to a balanced diet and choosing foods wisely is, when dealing with fibromyalgia it is even more important to not choose the wrong foods. Certain foods and drinks could be causing you more pain then you can make up for by eating right.

It will take some trial and error to find what helps and what hurts, but with a little planning and diet management you can be on the road to managing your fibromyalgia.

Foods and Beverages to Avoid:

  1. Alcoholic beverages
  2. Artificial Sweeteners such as aspartame (NutraSweet) and saccharine
  3. Carbonated beverages such as colas and soda pop
  4. Coffee and caffeinated teas
  5. Dairy
  6. Food Additives such as preservatives, salt and MSG (monosodium glutamate)
  7. Fried foods
  8. Fructose
  9. Gluten
  10. High fat dairy foods
  11. Nightshade Plants such as tomatoes, chili and bell peppers, potatoes, and eggplan
  12. Red meats (especially salt cured, cured bacon, smoked, or nitrate cured)
  13. Simple carbohydrates
  14. Some acidic foods
  15. White flour
  16. White sugar
  17. Yeast

Control Inflammation

In many cases, inflammation is the leading cause of the underlying symptoms that lead to your pain. Like any inflammatory diet, people who suffer from Fibromyalgia Syndrome should limit intake of foods that are associated with typical allergies (gluten, milk, peanuts, shellfish and wheat). It is also important to add omega 3’s, antioxidants, lean proteins, fiber and water. These foods will help restore your immune system and help reverse chronic inflammation.

The Fibromyalgia Diet

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Fibromyalgia Syndrome Simplified

Fibromyalgia has been “trash can” labeled, just as another syndrome, simply because no one is sure what causes fibromyalgia.

It’s not any easy task; fibromyalgia represents a whole barrage of symptoms with groups or clusters of symptoms, which makes it hard to properly diagnose, treat or cure.

Fibromyalgia has been generally thought of as a type of “rheumatic” or inflammatory pain disorder, but instead of involving the joints it’s characterized by a painful tenderness around tendons, surrounding tissue and muscles.

Later in this article I will reveal how some leading researchers now suspect fibromyalgia may be more of a neurological disorder than inflammatory.

How Is Fibromyalgia Classified?

First, let’s look at the diagnostic criteria established more than two decades ago by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) in 1990.

According to ACR guidelines, fibromyalgia symptoms must represent wide spread chronic pain in at least 11 of 18 defined “tender points” of the body.

Currently, these “tender points” are being reconsidered because after all these years of misdiagnosing people. Doctors have finally accepted the possibility that there is more to fibromyalgia then just inflammatory pain.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Sleep disorders
  • Mental issues

Fibromyalgia is like electricity: we can say we know a lot about it, but we still can’t explain exactly what it is.

The Adrenal Connection

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Common Adrenal Fatigue symptoms are: *Cravings for sugar, *Cravings for salt on food when you eat, *Feel dehydrated and thirsty and require plenty of water, *Difficulty falling asleep at night, sleep lightly or wake early or often, *Difficulty relaxing, nervous, anxious or hyperactive, *Often spacey, or foggy thinking, even memory loss,* Lack willpower to accomplish, *General exhaustion,*Hormone imbalances, *Low libido,*Weight gain, especially in abdomen and waist area, *Losing muscle tone, *Sagging skin, dry, yellow or pale in color, *Hair starting to gray, thin out and become dry, *Lips losing their color,*Loss of appetite, *Anorexia, *Weight loss,*High blood sugar

Fibromyalgia can also be related to a decreased adrenal function or adrenal fatigue. There are a few other diseases that also have an adrenal system component, such as: chronic fatigue syndrome, alcoholism, ischemic heart disease, hypoglycemia, rheumatoid arthritis and recurrent respiratory infections.

I am mentioning this because it’s important to identify where fibromyalgia and other disease patterns overlap in the hope of finding better solutions than what are typically offered.

It’s also interesting to note that researchers have found circulatory abnormalities in as many as 30% of fibromyalgia patients in preliminary studies (3).

Here’s another interesting piece of research from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA):

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