The Fibromyalgia Diet

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that affects about four percent of the American population, the majority of which are women.

The Mayo Clinic characterizes fibromyalgia by fatigue, widespread pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons, and multiple tender points on your body where slight pressure causes pain.

Fibromyalgia is still in its early stages of being properly understood by the medical community, but because of the increased awareness of this nebulous condition, medical researchers and professionals are confident about some of the known symptoms, risk factors and preventive measures.

While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, certain treatments have shown promise in controlling the condition. In addition to pharmaceuticals like the popular drug, Lyrica, that can help alleviate some of the symptoms, many doctors, and complementary and alternative medical practitioners highlight the importance of nutrition as a way to alleviate symptoms, reduce the risk of flare-ups and improve quality of life. According to Kent Holtorf, MD, the medical director of the Holtorf Medical Group Center for Endocrine, Neurological and Infection Related Illness in Torrance, California, diet is a very important component of the fibromyalgia treatment plan.

“We’re at the point now where we know diet plays a role in this disease – it’s just not the same diet for everybody. And not everybody is helped in the same way,” says Holtorf.

Here is a list of seven foods identified by WebMD to avoid for fibroymyalgia sufferers.

1. Aspartame or NutraSweet

2. Food additives like MSG and nitrates

3. Sugar, fructose, and simple carbohydrates

4. Caffeine

5. Yeast and gluten

6. Dairy

7. Nightshade plants like tomatoes, chili and bell peppers, potatoes, and eggplant

In regards to foods to consume, one study showed that a vegetarian diet comprised mostly of raw vegetables and raw whole foods reduced fibromyalgia symptoms.

Nnutrient-rich foods, like colorful vegetables and fruits, help cells’ mitochondria to function properly. Mitochondria are considered the energy hub of the cell whereby their task is to produce the power needed for the cell to function and carry out all of its numerous duties.

The mitochondria of fibromyalgia-sufferers has been clinically shown to operate at sub-standard levels. Such evidence further emphasizes the importance of consuming a mostly plant-based diet.

Also, since inflammation is one of the causes of the tender pain associated with fibromyalgia, making anti-inflammatory foods dietary staples is key. Foods like walnuts, flaxseeds, fish oil, cold-water fish, pumpkin seeds, cherries and spices like tumeric and cumin have known anti-inflammatory properties.

In addition to diet, other non-invasive methods that have shown success with improving the symptoms of fibromyalgia are low-impact exercises like walking and swimming,  massage therapy, acupuncture, tai chi, yoga and meditation.

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