Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread pain and tender body points that hurt when pressure is applied. Patients experience cognitive and sleep problems, irritable bowel syndrome and morning body stiffness. Since fibromyalgia cannot be confirmed by lab tests, physicians diagnose the ailment based on symptoms also common to other conditions, notes the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Fibromyalgia patients often request specific dietary guidelines to improve fibromyalgia symptoms.
No Dietary Cures
Fibromyalgia patients often believe that adopting a specific diet plan, or eliminating other foods, minimizes or eliminates fibromyalgia symptoms, but according to Sharecare.com, the evidence is still lacking. No universally applicable diet rules have been established, although some patients report anecdotal benefits from eating or avoiding specific foods.
The Arthritis Foundation recommends that you eat a balanced diet to manage your fibromyalgia and contribute to your overall health. Eat a variety of foods; include more whole grains, vegetables and fruits. Limit your fat intake to no more than 30 percent of your calories, and reduce your salt and sugar calories as well. Consume only a moderate amount of alcohol.
You may reduce your symptoms by eating a variety of antioxidants, states the University of Maryland Medical Center. Antioxidants include blueberries, tomatoes and spinach. Eat more lean proteins such as cold water fish and beans. Add tofu, if you’re not allergic to soy products. Use healthy cooking oils such as olive oil, and consume six to eight glasses of filtered water every day. Consult with your doctor about supplements for nutritional deficiencies.
Since fibromyalgia symptoms include sleep difficulties, limit substances that affect your ability to obtain a restful sleep. Minimize your pre-bedtime drinks so you won’t need an early-morning bathroom visit, recommends Drugs.com. Limit or avoid caffeine in coffee, sodas and chocolate; the caffeine also inhibits your sleep. Alcoholic drinks, herbs, supplements and cold medicines can affect your quality of sleep, as well.
MSG and Aspartame
In 2001, researchers at Malcolm Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Gainesville, Florida, followed four female fibromyalgia patients. The women had tried many treatments without much success. Patients completely eliminated monosodium glutamate, or MSG, and aspartame from food plans. Fibromyalgia symptoms were greatly improved within months, and returned when the MSG was eaten again. Since this was a limited study without statistically significant results, researchers recommended further studies with larger patient groups.
- United States Department of Health and Human Services: Womenshealth.gov: Fibromyalgia
- Sharecare.com: The Fibromyalgia Diet
- Arthritis Today: Arthritis Foundation: Is There a Special Diet for Fibromyalgia?
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Fibromyalgia: Nutrition and Supplements
- Drugs.com: Fibromyalgia: What Can I Do to Help My Fibromyalgia Get Better?