You've probably been told about the "miracle cure" diet for fibromyalgia and had no success, but did you realise that the wrong diet can trigger your fibromyalgia syndrome symptoms and that the right diet can drastically reduce your symptoms?
More and more people are looking at a tailored diet for fibromyalgia. Perhaps there is more power in food than any of us realise when we consider that most pre-modern medicine was based on the foods we eat.
But surely nobody has cured themselves from fibromyalgia simply by eating carrots and lettuce – or have they?
There are doubtless people who have experienced a full recovery from Fibromyalgia from following a particular diet plan. But given that such success is not necessarily reproducible for you, you should not necessarily expect such drastic result.
The best diet for fibromyalgia stems from a basic principle of healthy eating: a balanced diet. Your diet should include fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, lean protein (fish or chicken), and some dairy if you can tolerate it. Avoiding unhealthy food is also a must. Reduce (if not eliminate) processed foods from your diet that are often high in added sugar, added artificial ingredients like preservatives, colouring, flavouring and texturing agents, as well as being high in refined carbohydrates, unhealthy trans fats and often include excessive sodium.
Since fibromyalgia can make you feel tired, eat for energy. Avoid food high in sugar since it can only give you a quick sugar boost before your body burns right through them, causing a sugar crash. Instead, add fresh and whole foods high in fibre to your diet. Combine fat or proteins with carbohydrates to slow down their absorption.
Add plenty of the following to your diet:
- Dark leafy vegetables
- Almonds and other nuts
- Low sugar fruits
- Non-starchy vegetables
So should you bother with maintaining a diet for fibromyalgia?
Most definitely. There are a number of problems that people experiencing Fibromyalgia have where diet can make a very powerful and significant impact. Whilst the list is arguably very long, we can consider several areas that have the most significant impact, chiefly:
- Hypoglycaemia and insulin resistance
- Toxic accumulation and detoxification problems
- Mineral imbalances
- Gut problems including poor general gut function, leaky gut, Candida, poor gut flora and parasites
- Poor cellular function
- Excessive inflammation
- Neurotransmitter imbalances
Diet can have a massive impact on addressing these problems and assisting in restoring health. But only rarely will it lead to full restoration without a comprehensive plan.
Let us choose two of the issues from the above list; Hypoglycaemia and the gut problems, which are both significant problem for fibromyalgia sufferers.
Following the best diet plan for fibromyalgia can help you manage the symptoms. Doing so, however, will require discipline on your part. Also, do your research on the foods to avoid for your fibromyalgia diet.
Foods to Avoid in a Diet For Fibromyalgia
A diet to help a fibro sufferer avoids blood sugar spikes, which means avoiding eating high glycaemic index foods such as white carbohydrates and anything containing sugar.
So that would mean avoiding starchy carbohydrates including :
- white bread
- white pasta
- white rice
- white potatoes
Obviously straight sugar, white or otherwise will spike your blood sugar so you need to avoid cakes and other sweets and confectionary.
What many people don’t consider is the impact of fruits that rapidly convert to blood sugar. Obviously fruits are nutritious with vitamins, minerals and many other phytonutrients, however, some of them will also quickly spike your blood sugar. Fruits that may cause particular problems for fibromyalgia sufferers are:
- dried fruits
So such fruits should only be eaten in very small portions as part of a meal with fats and proteins to reduce their impact, if eaten at all during your recovery.
Drinks in a Diet For Fibromyalgia
But for many people, what they drink is their biggest short fall. Softdrinks are either full of sugar or full of toxic replacements. Also milk and fruit juice are full of sugar and should be avoided.
Alcohol actually affects blood sugar in several negative ways and most people with fibromyalgia experience a particularly bad reaction to this. However, hot drinks with caffeine are also a problem, even if they don't contain sugar. The reason is not only because caffeine affects your blood sugar indirectly, but also because it affects hormone regulation, which can directly trigger the cause of fibromyalgia.
So for drinks, just drink quality clean water, ideally remineralised after being filtered to remove chlorine, fluoride and other such poisons. If you want to enjoy a hot drink such as a herbal tea, ensure that it does not have caffeine or other hormone stimulating substances.
Closing Words regarding a Diet For Fibromyalgia
It’s not just about avoiding food, you need to make sure that you receive adequate nutrition including the right essential fatty acids, amino acids, phytonutrients, fibre, and of course, water. Ideally you should be under the guidance of a trained health care professional such as a nutritionist or naturopath or a medical doctor if they are trained in nutrition. This is to ensure that your diet for fibromyalgia is adequate to meet your needs and to adjust it as your goals change.
However, whilst a poor diet can play a part in triggering Fibromyalgia, the point is that you are not suffering from all these dysfunctions as a result of a poor diet alone. In fact, even if you had the ideal diet (discussing what that is will start an argument in any room), then you would still likely experience the problems to some extent.
The key is to address the cause of all these dysfunctions, to address the cause of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, whilst eating a supportive diet and utilising a number of strategies and treatments tailored to your needs.
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How about wheat and/or gluten?
They are not helpful for many people for numerous reasons, but such eating restrictions can be a challenge!
I’ve been going around in circles in order to find the “perfect diet”. I have restricted my food list soo much that I’m basically afraid to eat anything now. It originally started off by treating my Candida and eliminating all sugars, wheat, gluten, dairy etc and ever since I’ve developed an unhealthy relationship with food. I feel so deprived and all I crave is balance back in my life but I am so afraid that if i eat certain foods even the occasional sweets that I will not heal. Being the perfectionist that I am, I’m really struggling to get… Read more »
Totally understand how you feel – it’s so easy to take it too far.
In my view, this kind of approach is really unhelpful – it’s important to make it practical and to keep it enjoyable. Occasional treats are absolutely fine, the key is choosing the right kind of treats and moderation.
In the end, diet alone isn’t going to magically cure your Fibromyalgia or ME/CFS, but it can be an important component of a multi-lateral approach.
Thank you for writing this article.
I was reading multiple articles to comprehend a diet regimen for Fibromyalgia. There are several conflicting proposals. One article says eat chocolate with excess cocoa, other says no chocolate. Someone says eat beans and other says no beans. There are some allowed fruits and the fruits those are written here not to eat or eat in small portions: are there underlying reasons? So the key is the walk with a dietician!
Hi Anusuya No diet will cure you or make the symptoms of fibromyalgia go away on its own! It’s about understanding WHY diet changes can make an impact, and then changing your whole eating plan. One key thing to look for is not aggrevating symptoms if you have sensitivities, not aggrevating your gut and most importantly, keeping your blood sugar stable. This is because an unstable blood sugar can directly trigger flare ups, so changes for that can be very helpful. If there are specific challenges to your own recovery, the diet can be further tweaked – we discuss this… Read more »
is cheese ok?
Cheese isn’t a great food during recovery, but it all depends on your symptoms.
The key is understand why and how foods matter and how this relates to your symptoms as well as the root cause of the illness.
Hi Dan, I have issues with salicylates which are in the most healthiest of foods including green leafy veg and a lot of fruits – have you had any experience with your clients?
I eat very well – nothing processed am just exhausted with all the contradictions around “healthy eating” ..
All these conflicting diet recommendations can be so frustrating and yes, I have come across others with salicylates issues. That’s why in ANS REWIRE I lay this foundation for diet, but encourage people to adjust it as needed for specific issues. In the end, proof is more important that theory, so it’s about what works for you. The key is to be as practical as possible and to get organised so it’s easy for you to eat food. There is nothing worse than looking for food in the house and trying to work out ‘what is ok’ for you to… Read more »