Elimination Diets For Fibromyalgia
Due to the large cluster of symptoms and co-existing conditions associated with fibromyalgia, such as pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, painful menstrual periods, tingling of the extremities, cognitive and memory problems (fibro fog), rheumatoid arthritis, lupus etc., some patients find that the elimination of certain “trigger foods” can improve their condition. Typically, this dietary approach involves the complete elimination of certain food types from the daily diet. Here are three examples.
Fibromyalgia patients who do not respond to conventional drug treatment may be suffering from a food allergy or intolerance. These food sensitivities can aggravate certain symptoms. Dietitians advocate the use of elimination-type diets (often called hypoallergenic or oligoantigenic diets) which are low in common allergens in order to identify the sensitivity or allergy concerned. Common foods to which people can be sensitive or allergic, include: wheat (or refined flour), peanuts, cow’s milk, cheese, sugar, corn syrup, barley, eggs, corn, rye, chocolate and soy. In order to eliminate possible problems foods from their diet, the patient is typically asked to make the following changes to his/her eating habits:
– substitute rice beverages for cow’s milk, or
– eat wheat-free bread, or
– substitute rice-syrup solids for sugar or corn syrup.
Gluten Free Diets
Some patients who suffer from rheumatic symptoms are allergic to wheat. If so, (like sufferers from celiac disease) they will benefit from a gluten-free diet. A gluten-free diet eliminates all foods that contain wheat (including spelt, triticale, and kamut), rye, barley, and possibly oats. Thus all wheat-based grain, pasta, cereal, and many other processed foods must be avoided. Instead of wheat flour, potato, rice, soy, or bean flour is eaten, as well as non-gluten bread, pasta, and other products from health food outlets and specialist food companies. For more information about gluten-free eating, please see these resources:
A Popular Elimination Diet For Fibromyalgia
Even if there is no suggestion of a food sensitivity, or allergy to gluten, some specialists in fibromyalgia still advocate eliminating the following foods from your daily diet, in order to alleviate certain symptoms, including pain and fatigue.
Foods To Eliminate
1. High fat dairy foods
2. White sugar and white flour
3. Nutrasweet and saccharine
5. Fried foods
6. Preservatives, junk food, and salt
7. Red meat (especially salt-cured, smoked, or nitrate-cured)
8. Coffee and caffeinated teas
9. All sodas and carbonated beverages
10. All alcohol
This is because research into fibromyalgia and diet has shown that fried foods and high-sodium can aggravate pain or swelling, while in some patients acidic foods may aggravate arthritic pain and fatigue. Fibromyalgia sufferers may therefore benefit by reducing their intake of: tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant (aubergine), and peppers, red meat, cow’s milk, white flour products, high-sugar foods, coffee and chocolate.
Fibromyalgia sufferers are also recommended to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, but not with meals.
For advice about whether an elimination diet might be an appropriate way of alleviating your fibromyalgia symptoms, please talk to your physician or seek help from a dietitian.