A Healthy Diet Equals a Healthy Lifestyle for Anyone with Fibromyalgia

Many patients who suffer from fibromyalgia would love to have a healthy diet work a magical cure – they would be very pleased to see a specific written eating plan that would end their pain and suffering. From a medical standpoint, there would be nothing greater a doctor could offer a patient. However, even if a magical ‘feel good’ diet existed, a patient would have to do more than read about it; the diet would have to become a part of their lifestyle.

For fibromyalgia patients, a healthy diet can become a piece of the puzzle that, when solved, results in feeling better. But, the patient must eat balanced meals and maintain a healthy weight. The fibromyalgia patient must take the information presented about making lifestyle changes and actually implement it into their own lives. With a disease like fibromyalgia, a healthy diet can ease a great amount of pain and suffering – it can play a wonderful part in the overall treatment in the disease – but the patient must be on board and be ready to make major commitments. The fibromyalgia patient must do more than read the information on the page.

Why the Pain and Suffering?

Fibromyalgia is a disease that affects millions of Americans. The Centers for Disease Control currently places this illness in the arthritis category though that could change as more research is done. In its 2005 survey, an estimated 5 million adults were diagnosed with fibromyalgia.[1]

This debilitating disorder can cause great pain. It spreads across the musculoskeletal system and has a large variety of symptoms. People with fibromyalgia experience chronic pain, fatigue, insomnia, memory loss, severe headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, temporomandibular joint problems, and severe mood swings and mood issues. Studies are ongoing to determine the reason the disease develops, why certain people are susceptible to the disease, and a cure for fibromyalgia.

There are medications on the market that ease the pain and suffering of the disorder. Some patients seek natural remedy relief. Plus, there are many costly diet plans that claim to offer relief from the pain that accompanies fibromyalgia.

The big question appears to be: Is there a specific fibromyalgia diet that really will ease pain and suffering

The Big Question Answered!

Is there one specific diet that will magically cure all of your fibromyalgia symptoms? Can adhering to a certain food regimen take away all of your pain and suffering? Sadly, the answer is no. However, the great news is that you can make lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet will greatly ease you’re your symptoms in as little as one week.

Okay, let’s back up for one minute and make sure we are clear. There is not one specific diet that will magically cause your pain to disappear. But, you can make changes right now in what you eat that will play a major role in how you feel. Your pain level is likely to decrease, and you will quickly have more energy. Your moods will level out. A healthy diet and maintaining a normal weight has numerous benefits if you suffer from fibromyalgia.

Avoiding the Miracle Diet

If you have fibromyalgia, the ads on television and on the internet have probably caught your eye. These are the ads that promise the miracle cure for fibromyalgia. They may or may not include pre-packaged meals sent straight to your home. They may or may not include supplements.

If you have read this far you now know to be wary of these types of diets. They may not provide the proper nutrition you need – remember that you are an individual – and they may not mix correctly with medications you are currently taking.

Enough with the Negative, What Can I Do?

Now that you have been warned about ‘miraculous cures’ let’s talk about finding real cures in real food.

Food, real food, can be an amazing method of treating fibromyalgia pain and other symptoms of the disease. Eating a balanced meal and maintaining a healthy weight are two of the best things you can do to manage your disorder.

A healthy diet for fibromyalgia patients is full of specific nutrient high food choices:

  • Fruits and veggies: this food group contains antioxidants, a natural pain fighter and natural anti-inflammatory, plus some fruits and veggies have phyto-chemicals that help fight disease
  • Lean proteins: fish, chicken, lean meats, nuts, and even peanut butter give fuel to your muscles
  • Omega -3 fatty acids: found in olive oil, certain fish such as salmon, flaxseed, and walnuts, have anti-inflammatory properties
  • Vitamin D: fish, mushrooms, and eggs have this healthy vitamin as well as breads, yogurts, and other food items fortified with vitamin D – a nutrient that can alleviate muscle pain associated with fibromyalgia
  • Whole grains: whole grain breads and pastas or brown rice will help give you extra energy

Hint: Avoid dietary excitotoxins. A study found that food additives can have an adverse effect on fibromyalgia pain. For example, if you are cooking up some delectable fresh veggies you will want to avoid adding monosodium glutamate or MSG to your dish. Aspartame and numerous food additives can bring on fibromyalgia symptoms such as headaches, weakness, muscle tightness, numbness, dizziness, and flushing.[2]

Protein

Protein is very important for patients suffering from fibromyalgia. Everyone needs protein as a normal part of body growth and proper physical maintence. It has been found that approximately 20 percent of our cell and tissue mass is composed of proteins. When you eat proteins as a part of your everyday diet it is used by your body as enzymes, hormones, and antibodies. In other words, it keeps our bodies going through the rain, sleet, and snow.

The best protein sources are natural, animal derived. These proteins can come in many forms: milk, lean meats, fish, poultry, eggs, and more.

Why the focus on protein? It has been found that insufficient protein intake by fibromyalgia patients may add to tissue degeneration and abnormalities. The proper amount of protein in your diet can minimize stiffness and pain associated with fibromyalgia.

This leads to the question all patients eventually ask: How much is enough?

A healthy diet for sufferers of fibromyalgia consists of:[3]

  • 40 percent carbohydrates
  • 30 percent proteins
  • 30 percent fats

If you can implement these percentages into each of your three basic meals – breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you may see a big improvement in your symptoms such as fatigue, pain, and stiffness in as little as one week.

It is Up to You

You are your own primary fibromyalgia manager. It is up to you whether you choose to read about making healthy changes in your life or actually make those changes.  You must discuss these changes with your doctor. Considering the added benefit that you will see results like relief from the pain and suffering  in as short a time frame as one week, it seems vital that you make the necessary lifestyle changes now to implement a new healthy diet into your life.

References

[1] Arthritis Related Statistics. (2005). Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control: www.cdc.gov/arthritis/data_statistics/arthritis_related_stats.htm

[2]  Bauer, J. (2001). Can Diet Therapy Relieve Fibromylgia. RN , 9.

[3]  Arranz, L.-I. C. (2011). Fibromyalgia and Nutrition, What Do We Know? Rheumatology International , 1417-1427.

This article was originally published on July 11, 2012 and last revision and update of it was 9/7/2015