It’s undeniable that what you eat in your diet can affect your entire health. How about fibromyalgia (one of common musculoskeletal conditions)? The disease itself has no cure. The treatment is commonly focused to help improve and manage the symptoms. But it is worth a try to understand the impact of foods that you eat on what you feel. In fact, your pain perception can be influenced by the power of mind!
Unfortunately, the connection between diet and fibromyalgia is not fully understood yet. Even there is still no any evidence that they are linked.
No study has shown that there are specific foods you need to avoid or add to your diet if you have fibromyalgia! Most of studies that have looked at the link of both only find a lot from anecdotal evidence.
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However, about 40 percent of patients said that the problem got worse after eating certain foods – according to a survey released in the journal Clinical Rheumatology.
So, currently there is no clearly guideline of what you should eat and avoid in managing and improving the disease. But if you do concern about diet and want to use it to help cope with the problem, making a daily food journal can be a nice choice to start.
If diet does have an effect on fibromyalgia, this may vary from person to person. The food triggers may be gluten, refined foods, dairy products, or nuts – and again, this varies. That’s why you need to identify the foods that may make your symptoms get worse.
The common technique used to find the trigger foods is with elimination diet. If you often have trouble with irritable bowel symptoms, this option can be one of recommended steps.
You can stop eating the suspect food or certain food that you are sensitive to, and then analyze whether this affects the symptoms of your fibromyalgia. Then about 6-8 weeks later, add it back to your diet and again see what you feel.
Cramping in the lower abdomen, constipation, and bloating is the secondary symptoms of fibromyalgia. The main symptoms are widespread muscle pain, fatigue, and diffuse tenderness.
Once you find the real trigger food, eliminating it from your diet may be so helpful. Mostly, this can help improve irritable bowel symptoms (such as constipation & bloating) and reduce fatigue.
While caffeine can act as a stimulant, alcohol is a depressant. In self-care treatments for fibromyalgia, it’s often recommended to limit caffeine and avoid alcohol (if you drink, drink it in moderation)!
But the answer of how both caffeine and alcohol affect and aggravate the symptoms of the disease is not clear yet.
However it’s clear that they can affect your sleep, particularly if your drink caffeine /alcohol too close to your bedtime. On the other hand, it’s important for people with fibromyalgia to have good sleep to help manage the symptoms, especially to help cope with fatigue – see this section for in-depth information!