Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes widespread pain and tenderness throughout the body, as well as fatigue, sleep disturbances, and other symptoms. At the same time, there is no known cure for it. Many lifestyle changes can help manage symptoms, including changes to diet. In this article, we’ll explore 5 healthy tips for managing fibromyalgia through diet, based on research and expert recommendations.
1. Focus on anti-inflammatory foods
Many people with fibromyalgia have higher levels of inflammation in their bodies, which can contribute to pain and other symptoms. Eating a diet that is rich in anti-inflammatory foods can help reduce inflammation and manage symptoms. An anti-inflammatory diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and lean protein sources may help reduce symptoms of fibromyalgia and improve quality of life. Some examples of anti-inflammatory foods include fatty fish (such as salmon and tuna), nuts, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.
2. Avoid trigger foods
Some people with fibromyalgia may find that certain foods can trigger symptoms. Common trigger foods include processed foods, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. If you notice that a particular food worsens your symptoms, try avoiding it for a few weeks to see if it improves. For example, a low-fermentable oligo-di-mono-saccharides and polyols (FODMAP) diet, which restricts certain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the gut, may help reduce gastrointestinal symptoms in people with fibromyalgia.
3. Consider a low FODMAP diet
Some people with fibromyalgia may also have gastrointestinal symptoms, such as bloating and abdominal pain. A low FODMAP diet may be helpful for managing these symptoms. FODMAPs are fermentable carbohydrates that can be difficult to digest for some people. Foods that are high in FODMAPs include wheat, onions, garlic, and some fruits and vegetables. A low FODMAP diet involves avoiding high-FODMAP foods for a period of time, and then gradually reintroducing them to identify which foods may be causing symptoms.
Drinking enough water is important for overall health, but it can also be helpful for managing fibromyalgia symptoms. Dehydration can worsen symptoms such as headaches and fatigue. Aim to drink at least 8 cups of water per day, and consider drinking more if you are exercising or if it’s hot outside.
5. Work with a registered dietitian
Making changes to your diet can be challenging, especially if you have a complex condition like fibromyalgia. Working with a registered dietitian who is knowledgeable about fibromyalgia can help you create a personalized diet plan that meets your individual needs and preferences. They can also help you identify any nutrient deficiencies that may be contributing to your symptoms. According to the American Dietetic Association, working with a registered dietitian can lead to improved outcomes in chronic conditions like fibromyalgia.
In conclusion, while there is no cure for fibromyalgia, making changes to your diet can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. By focusing on anti-inflammatory foods, avoiding trigger foods, considering a low FODMAP diet, staying hydrated, and working with a registered dietitian, you can take a proactive approach to managing your fibromyalgia symptoms through your diet.