By Amy Martineau
If you have fibromyalgia, you are most likely looking for ways to ease the flare-ups of muscle pain and fatigue. One element that you might not have considered is your diet. Are there specific foods to avoid or add to your diet to decrease fibromyalgia symptoms? The answer isn’t black and white.
Research in this area is limited and mostly anecdotal from those with the disease. However, it may be something to consider. Those with fibromyalgia might be more sensitive to certain foods. In a survey published in Clinical Rheumatology, 42% of fibromyalgia patients reported that their symptoms increased after eating certain foods. The reaction to certain foods varies from person to person, so it is difficult to create a definitive list of foods to avoid.
One of the best ways to start to determine if a certain food is exacerbating your symptoms is to start a food journal. Simply write down everything you eat in a day and include how you feel after eating each meal. You may start to discover a pattern over time, such as, every time you eat dairy you find that you become fatigued, develop a headache or have indigestion. Once you start to see a pattern of consumption of a certain food and physical symptoms, you can then proceed to use an elimination diet to confirm your findings.
To use an elimination diet, pick one of the foods that you suspect you might be causing symptoms based on your food journal entries. Using dairy again as an example, you would completely stop eating all dairy products for six to eight weeks. Keep track of how you feel each day. After that time passes, try adding dairy back in. Do the symptoms start to reoccur? Did they never decrease in the first place? Once you complete this cycle with all the foods you believe are causing issues, you will be able to determine if a change in diet might be beneficial.
If you suspect you are having issues with certain foods, it is a good idea to bring these to the attention of your doctor. It’s possible you have an underlying condition such as a gluten allergy that might be causing unwanted symptoms. It may also be beneficial to get the advice of a health coach or holistic nutritionist when doing any type of elimination diet. You need to make sure you aren’t eliminating important nutrients from your diet. In other words, don’t make yourself feel worse while you are trying to make yourself feel better.
Haugen, M. Clinical Rheumatology, December 1991.
Usher, J. (2012, January 9) Fibromyalgia and Diet. Will changing your diet help you cope with
fibromyalgia? Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/fibromyalgia/guide/fibromyalgia-the-diet-