Foods to Avoid With Fibromyalgia
Celiac disease, which is an intolerance to the gluten found in wheat, barley, and rye products, is a condition that may overlap with fibromyalgia in some people.
This health concern is a bit ironic since wheat was introduced into our diets many years ago as the “healthy alternative” to the white flour breads, and high-carb kinds of pasta. Note that many sauces, marinades, and even candies may contain gluten.
In this debate concerning gluten, a 2014 study confirmed that fibromyalgia patients who were negative for celiac disease still had significant improvements in pain and/or quality of life indicators when following a gluten-free diet.
Due to gluten consumption concerns, many manufacturers have adopted healthy “gluten-free” alternatives.
White flour can aggravate the pain symptoms of fibromyalgia. The body converts white flour, which is a simple carbohydrate, into sugars. These sugars promote fatigue, disrupt sleep patterns and increase pain.
White flour can also contribute to weight gain, placing additional stress on the joints and muscles. Using whole wheat or almond flour would be a great alternative. Read the alternative labels to determine if they are made “gluten-free” or not.
The nightshade family of fruits and vegetables include tomatoes, bell peppers, white potatoes, eggplant, chilies, and paprika. The main culprit in the nightshade family of fruit and vegetable is called Solanine.
Solanine is a glycoalkaloid poison and is primarily displayed by gastrointestinal and neurological disorders. It’s produced naturally by these plants as a defense mechanism and has fungicidal and pesticidal properties.
Research shows that 74 to 90 percent of people who had inflammatory conditions like arthritis or fibromyalgia suffered from increased inflammation and pain after eating nightshade fruits or vegetables.
This one is a difficult one for me like some of the others on our list due to my love of fresh from the garden vegetables and southern recipes made with tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. I also love Italian cuisine which makes use of these vegetables.
Experiment with these foods to see how your body reacts and as before “all things in moderation!”
Like saturated fats and sugars, fried foods contribute to feelings of fatigue. They also inhibit circulation and increase the sensitivity of nerve endings to pain.
Fibromyalgia sufferers should avoid fried foods.
Just typing that statement was painful for me as a southern cook! If you simply cannot entirely remove fried foods from your diet, try to use healthier oils such as olive oil for frying.
Red meats tend to be high in saturated fats.
The saturated fats in red meats interfere with proper circulation and increase sensitivity to pain. They also contribute to fatigue, making it difficult for fibromyalgia sufferers to get the exercise they need to promote muscle flexibility and range of motion.
White meat such as chicken or fish is the best to eat. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish, like salmon, walnuts, and flaxseed, are known to reduce inflammation and help prevent cardiovascular diseases.
However, their soreness-reducing traits may also help pain patients. A 2007 study found that after just three months of supplementing omega-3 fatty acids, symptoms such as morning stiffness and painful, tender joints decreased.
Back To The Basics
In doing a personal assessment of the diet that I have been accustomed to my whole life through traditional southern cooking, I’ve questioned how my grandparents achieved longevity. Despite eating many of the items on our list of what “not” to eat, my fraternal grandmother lived to be 94 years old.
My maternal grandmother is still with us, a bit feeble but of sound mind and she will be 96 years old next March.
My grandfathers lived into their upper eighties. They ate everything and more on the list of “white stuff” as I mentioned like breads and sweets. They drank sweet iced tea daily, fried everything in bacon grease or Crisco and had their share of pork and beef.
The conclusion that I can draw as to why those things did not fully affect them is that most of what they ate was what we would call “all natural.”
They balanced their high carb diets with fruits and vegetables from their gardens that were not saturated with pesticides. High fiber and protein-rich items like beans, greens, and chicken, which gave them the energy they needed for their long days.
They slaughtered and prepared much of their meats (cows and chickens), fished from their ponds, and drank fresh well water or water from a spring and finally they stayed active – working their farms and gardens and tending to a large family of children.
The Bottom Line
A well-balanced diet can give you more energy to stay physically active and can potentially improve your overall health.
Whether you suffer from fibromyalgia or not, it just makes sense to try to eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables (aside from nightshades), whole grains, and lean protein. It also makes sense not to consume foods that are highly processed and prepared with preservatives. This will limit your salt and sugar intake.
Staying with foods that are as close to nature as possible, provides your body the nutrition it needs to survive and thrive.