Fibromyalgia is a chronic, painful condition that affects the entire body. It’s a musculoskeletal disorder that often affects sleep, memory, energy levels and mood. According to National Institutes of Health, approximately 5 million people – mostly women – have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. There currently is no cure for fibromyalgia; however, many people believe that eating a non-inflammatory diet can help to reduce fibromyalgia flares.
While there is no specific fibromyalgia diet that has been proven to relieve symptoms, many people report that they feel better or worse after eating specific types of foods. Specific foods affect individuals differently, and a great way to keep track of how different foods affect you is by keeping a food and pain journal.
Foods to Avoid with Fibromyalgia
Before we dive into recipes that you might want to try if you have fibromyalgia, let’s first talk about foods to avoid with fibromyalgia.
According to Rania Batayneh, MPH, a nutritionist in San Francisco, “Fibromyalgia sufferers seem to have too much of a dependence on comfort foods, especially if they are finding it hard to exercise regularly. This can lead to weight gain, and being overweight or obese can make your symptoms worse.”
Here are a few foods to avoid with fibromyalgia:
- Aspartame: Equal and NutraSweet are examples of this artificial sweetener. Aspartame is used as a no-calorie sugar alternative to sweeten beverages, yogurts, frozen desserts and other foods. While unconfirmed, some people with fibromyalgia have reported a reduction in symptoms after giving up aspartame.
- Caffeine: Caffeine can impact your ability to get a good night’s sleep, which is important for people with fibromyalgia. Not only do fibromyalgia sufferers already experience regular feelings of fatigue, studies suggest that getting enough sleep can actually help to combat other fibromyalgia symptoms.
- Sugar: Consuming sugar frequently can cause weight gain, placing more stress on your body. This can worsen fibromyalgia symptoms.
- MSG and sodium nitrate: These foods are preservatives that are frequently used in processed foods, such as meats or sauces, to enhance flavor or color. However, they are also full of salt, which can increase pain and swelling for people with fibromyalgia.
Healthy Recipes for Your Fibromyalgia Diet
Soothing Quinoa Cereal
This recipe is rich in magnesium, a mineral that can help to relieve pain and tenderness in the body. Additionally, it can help to improve energy levels. It is also a great source of fiber, vitamin K, potassium, folate and copper.
Recipe courtesy of Fibromyalgia Treatment Group.
Soothing Quinoa Cereal
- 1 cup unsweetened almond or rice milk
- 1/3 cup quinoa flakes
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 pinch sea salt
- maple syrup or raw honey (optional, to sweeten)
- toasted walnuts, almonds, granola or berries (optional)
- In a small or medium saucepan set to medium-high heat, bring the milk to a boil.
- Once the milk comes to a boil, add the quinoa flakes, pomegranate seeds and a pinch of salt. Turn off the heat and stir a few times.
- Allow cereal to sit for 3 minutes. Stir cereal one last time to make it thicker.