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Worst foods for fibromyalgia

Balanced diet and fibromyalgia

There is, unfortunately, no cure for fibromyalgia, but research has shown that eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and leading a healthy lifestyle can have a positive impact on fibromyalgia symptoms.

Getting the right mix of nutrients is particularly important to people with fibromyalgia. Diets that are rich in antioxidants and provide adequate amounts of nutrients such as vitamin B12 can help lead to reduced symptoms.

A balanced diet is a good idea for everyone, regardless of any illness or chronic pain condition, and should include:

  • fresh fruits and vegetables
  • whole grains
  • healthy fats
  • low-fat dairy
  • lean protein, such as chicken or fish

Fibromyalgia symptoms

Fibromyalgia is a pain syndrome of chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue. Symptoms include:

  • Fatigue – People with fibromyalgia often awaken tired, even though they have slept for a long period of time. This is because sleep is often disrupted by pain. Many people with fibromyalgia also have other symptoms that affect sleep, such as restless legs syndrome and sleep apnoea.
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Memory problems – people with fibromyalgia often have trouble concentrating and have what is termed “fibro fog”. This is described as feeling like you are in a haze and people with fibro fog often experience forgetfulness, decreased alertness, inability to concentrate and stay focused, and confusion.

Eating for energy

Fatigue can have a serious impact on quality of life, and therefore it is important to try and implement a nutritional plan to try and combat some of the fatigue by eating energy-boosting foods. Complex carbs, healthy fats, and protein take longer to digest, satisfy your hunger, and provide a slow, steady stream of energy. A diet rich in foods such as whole grains, oats, pulses, nuts, and seeds will help you stay healthy and have more energy.

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Timing and quantities are important too. Rather than eating three large meals a day, small meals and regular healthy snacks can help give you more energy.

The following dietary examples can help increase energy levels:

  • complex (not simple) carbohydrates – e.g. quinoa and brown rice
  • nuts and seeds, like almonds or walnuts
  • broccoli and other dark leafy greens
  • beans – a great source of protein, especially if you’re vegetarian or vegan. They have plenty of fiber to help slow digestion and are rich in magnesium too.
  • tofu
  • oatmeal – a bowl of oatmeal or porridge in the morning will keep you going for hours
  • avocado – is high in good fats that increase energy levels
  • bananas – are an excellent source of complex carbs, potassium, and vitamin B6, all of which can help boost your energy levels

Remember to also drink plenty of water for energy. When your body doesn’t have enough fluids, you get tired, so health experts commonly recommend drinking 2 liters of water a day.

Worst foods for fibromyalgia

Food plays a huge role in our behavior and lifestyle and limiting certain foods can help. People with fibromyalgia sometimes find that their symptoms worsen when they eat certain foods, in particular:

  • dairy (including chocolate!),
  • additives such as MSG,
  • caffeine,
  • artificial sweeteners,
  • foods containing gluten,
  • sugary drinks, sweets, biscuits, and pastries

Food diary

If you are looking to your diet to help manage your fibromyalgia, in order to identify triggers you should keep a food diary for a couple of weeks and record how you feel after each meal and snack, noting specific foods and ingredients.

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References:

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