The defining characteristic of fibromyalgia is pain. 'Fibro' is Latin for fibrous tissue, 'my' means muscles, and 'algia' is the word for pain. Therefore, it is essential that treatment consists of effective palliative measures. Diet is one element in the healing process that a patient can actively participate in. The right food and nutrients choices can go a long way to relieving pain.
In general, a low carbohydrate, high fiber, high protein, and moderate fat diet is best. Adequate fiber keeps the bowels moving properly, so they quickly and efficiently rid the body of toxins and waste products.
Refined carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, and pastries are associated with increased levels of inflammation. This is something to avoid as inflammation is known to exacerbate pain. Consider barley, quinoa, buckwheat or millet as an alternative. They are easier for the digestive system to breakdown.
Protein intake should be on the higher side as there is research supporting the idea that muscle pain is related to inadequate levels of amino acids, which are the constituent parts that form proteins. Healthy fats are encouraged because they lubricate the digestive system, contain vital nutrients, and bring about a feeling of satiety after a meal.
There are other nutrient deficiencies implicated in muscle pain. Low levels of magnesium, selenium, vitamin D, and B vitamins can be problematic. An easy way to address these inadequacies is to eat more of the following foods:
Magnesium - spinach, kale, figs, avocados, bananas, green beans, kidney beans, peas, broccoli, cabbage, salmon, and tuna.
Selenium - oatmeal, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, eggs, cottage cheese, oysters, clams, halibut, shrimp, crab, bananas, pork, beef, turkey, and lentils.
Vitamin D - a variety of seafood, the same ones as listed for selenium, plus eggs, milk, and mushrooms. Also, getting into the sunshine will stimulate your body to naturally produce vitamin D.
B Vitamins - barley, millet, bananas, spinach, broccoli, avocados, sunflower seeds, almonds, lentils, milk, cheese, red meat, and chicken. The list of foods containing B Vitamins is actually quite extensive.
In addition to these nutrient-rich foods, some medical research recommends consuming foods that can help detoxify heavy metals out of the body. Lead, mercury, and cadmium can be harmful and contribute to body pain when amounts are too high.
They are believed to interfere with the assimilation of essential nutrients that are much needed to keep a person healthy and free of pain. Certain foods retain the ability to bind to these damaging metals and flush them out naturally—and harmlessly.
The list of natural detoxifying foods are: cilantro, garlic, lemon, green tea, tomatoes, and the spices that comprise the Indian spice called masala. These ingredients are usually a ground mixture of cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, ginger, turmeric, and mace, although there may be slight variations.
A tasty, nutritious meal could include a hearty tomato-based masala curry made with vegetables and/or lean meats. The addition of a little coconut milk can enrich the taste and provide a healthy oil for the digestive system. For some extra protein, try a simple lentil dish. Simply boil up some lentils and mix in a sauteed mixture of onion and garlic into it. Add a sprinkle of oil and garnish with some chopped up cilantro.
In between meals, a glass of warm water with a liberal amount of lemon juice squirted into it will do nicely. Bananas make for a terrific choice of snacks as they are loaded with nutrients touted for their ability to reduce pain. Warm green tea, anytime, is another great way for fibromyalgia patients to relax and enjoy the nutritional benefits.
To learn more about how diet can help mitigate the pain associated with fibromyalgia, contact a practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental medicine for an appointment.
Anthony K. (2018). Heavy Metal Detox Diet. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/heavy-metal-detox#diet
Bjorklund G, Dadar M, Chirumbolo S, Aaseth J. (2018). Biomed Pharmacother. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29677539
About the Author: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM, studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and practiced acupuncture and Oriental medicine in New York for several years. Vanessa enjoys traveling the world, and has published articles on acupuncture and Oriental medicine and related health topics for websites and publications in both the U.S. and abroad.