A specific fibromyalgia diet for each person with fibromyalgia does not exist. However, a common denominator for all fibromyalgia cases is inflammation. Diet that decreases inflammation in the body is the key. The challenge is that foods behave differently for all people. What is inflammatory for one person may be anti-inflammatory for another.
Food Sensitivity Diet
A type of diet to consider if you have fibromyalgia is a diet based on the results of a blood test that measures the degree of inflammation in the body to certain foods and chemicals, known as mediator release testing or MRT. A diet specific to the results of the MRT is created. Foods that are inflammatory for you are taken out of the diet in order to allow the inflammation to subside. It is hoped when the inflammation subsides, the symptoms associated with your fibromyalgia symptoms will lessen as well. Registered dietitians create specific elimination diets for their patients based on the results of blood tests, explains "Today’s Dietitian."
Foods to Avoid and Include
The type of fat consumed is an important part of reducing inflammatory foods. Omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy fat, are anti-inflammatory, especially in comparison to foods high in saturated fat, according to the website RD411.com. Substantially reducing or eliminating trans fats and saturated fat from the diet is mandatory since these fats provoke inflammation. Some artificial sweeteners found in soft drinks such as aspartame stimulate nerve cells and should be avoided. Lots of water, fresh fruits and vegetables, probiotics and whole grains are foods to include in a diet for fibromyalgia, according to RD411.com. Taking a multi-vitamin can ensure adequate intake of nutrients. Avoid or limit, alcohol, coffee, refined sugars and carbohydrates and high-salt foods.
Research on Fibromyalgia and Diet
Research studies on fibromyalgia are addressing the need for specific diet recommendations. A study published in the 2000 Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology followed 18 patients with fibromyalgia for three months who consumed a strict, low-salt diet rich in raw vegetables and probiotics. Study participants experienced significant improvements in the quality of sleep and joint stiffness and a reduction in overall pain.
Research on Vegan Diet for Fibromyalgia
For some, a vegan diet is effective in pain reduction, as seen in a November 2000 study in the journal Toxicology. This study used a vegan diet consisting of berries, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and roots to improve fibromyalgia symptoms. Abundant provision of calories, fat and carbohydrate were consumed at 1829 calories, 71 g protein, 276 g carbohydrate and 63 g of fat.
The diet offered no cholesterol, little saturated fat and lots of healthy unsaturated fats. Results of following the diet indicated a decrease of joint and pain stiffness for the participants.
Researchers speculate improvements were likely observed as a result of the abundance of antioxidants in the diet.
Andrea Johnson, M.A., is a Registered Dietitian and a Certified LEAP Therapist specializing in food sensitivities, nutrition counseling, health writing and teaches as an adjunct instructor for online nutrition courses at the University of Montana College of Technology.
Prior to her most recent career path, she worked with the local WIC nutrition program and blogged for a health supplement site. She has built upon her experience beginning her career as a clinical dietitian for 3.5 years. During that time, she was a contributing author in the Journal of Renal Nutrition for her research on the effects of protein supplementation in dialysis patients. It was also during her clinical years where she developed a strong understanding of gastrointestinal disorders, which provided the ability to assist with editing and contributing to the “Diverticulitis Digest Cookbook.”
Ms. Johnson has a Master’s degree in Nutrition from Appalachian State University and a Bachelor’s of Science in Nutrition from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
This is her seventh year practicing as a dietitian and is very pleased with how her career is evolving. For the past 13 years, she has kept abreast of current research and continuing education, which has allowed her to provide the most up to date and reliable nutrition advice.
She is a member of the American Dietetic Association and the practice groups of Integrated/Functional Nutrition, Nutrition Entrepreneurs, and Hunger and Environmental Nutrition. Most recently, Andrea has become a certified LEAP therapist, which allows her to specialize in food sensitivities, which can be involved in a wide range of conditions such as IBS, fibromyalgia, migraines, gastritis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and more.
To contact Andrea with questions or to make an appointment, call 406-370-5322.
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