Fibromyalgia and Food Research Note
By Reader's Digest Editors
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Despite what you may have read, there’s no single eating plan that eases the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia. The reason? Fibromyalgia is different for each person. For example, about half of all people with fibromyalgia also have irritable bowel syndrome, so avoiding carbonated drinks and high-fat foods might help. Others have a gluten intolerance (the inability to digest a protein found in some grains) and still others have gout (triggered by alcohol and meat). There’s also evidence that common food additives can irritate a pain receptor in your nervous system that contributes to the development of chronic pain. So yes, adjust your diet, but in a way right for your specific situation.Fast Facts:
- The zero-calorie sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet) stimulates a pain receptor in your nervous system called NMDA. It could worsen fibromyalgia pain.
- Also worth avoiding: The flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG) and nitrate-laced lunch meats, bacon and ham. These can also stimulate the NMDA receptor.
- Reconsider caffeine. The jolt wakes you up and keeps you going when fatigue sets in, but caffeine’s let down can leave you more tired than ever.
- Switching from sugary drinks, candies and desserts to fresh fruit can keep you energized. Refined sugars make blood sugar spike, then fall—boosting fatigue.
- Be smart about gluten. Get checked for gluten intolerance before cutting out healthy foods like whole-grain bread.
webmd.com — “WebMD goes to the experts for details on the best diet for fibromyalgia, including foods to avoid and foods to help your body stay strong. We also asked about vitamins and nutrition for fibromyalgia.” View full resource at webmd.com
health.com — “Although there is little clinical research on fibromyalgia and food, many patients say that following a careful diet can help ease aches and discomfort.” View full resource at health.com
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