Fibromyalgia Diet

Diet has a major effect on inflammation, and inflammation is one of the root mediators of fibromyalgia. Diets must be individualized. To do this accurately, testing must be done: food allergy testing from good laboratories, comprehensive stool testing from good laboratories, perhaps breath testing to rule out bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine, and/or thyroid testing in the case of constipation etc. The results of individualized testing will enable evaluation, identification, and treatment of food sensitivities, gluten intolerance, and correction of gastrointestinal dysbiosis, which causes inappropriate activation of the immune system. Treating the gut, and adjusting the diet together are critical for long-term success. Thus, there is not any one diet for fibromyalgia, but rather, because we are all unique, a diet that is good for each person.

There are certain dietary principles, which all people with fibromyalgia (and virtually any chronic illness) should follow including proper balance of protein and complex carbohydrates (1/3 protein, 2/3 complex carbohydrates) for every meal and snack. This ratio reduces inflammation and improves energy and reduces cravings, and hypoglycemia. Avoiding processed foods (cakes, candies, cookies, sweets, sugars, fruit juices) and high glycemic index foods is very important, but difficult, since fibromyalgia patients have low energy, and therefore crave these quick energy sources (as well as caffeine sources, chocolate, coffee) despite the fact that they cause more problems than they solve.

Breakfast and lunch should contain at least 2/3 of the calories for the day. Since most people have poor breakfasts, if at all, I recommend making a healthy dinner, and making enough so that you can have an extra portion or two for breakfast and lunch the next day. If the dinner is well balanced (e.g., fish, veggies, whole grain or potato) it makes a very good breakfast, although one must get used to the idea. It is interesting to note that in European countries and the Middle East, fish and vegetables are commonly eaten for breakfast. In the U.S., we have been acculturated to expect grains for breakfast, or yogurt (high in carbohydrates and low in protein). If one were intent on a grain breakfast (and not gluten intolerant), one should balance the grains with some form of low fat protein, such as an organic turkey sausage.

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