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What are the Best Foods for Fibromyalgia?

By B. Schreiber
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The best foods for fibromyalgia are thought to be the same as those that are best for most people and include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes. Other goods foods include dairy protein and fermented dairy products like yogurt. Some doctors and people with the disease recommended a vegetarian or vegan diet. It seems that limiting meat consumption can improve symptoms for some people with fibromyalgia. Some other foods and food additives appear to make fibromyalgia symptoms worse in some people; identifying and removing these products from the diet may improve symptoms.

One line of research regarding the connection of foods and fibromyalgia has been to study the effect of vegan or vegetarian diets on people with the disease. Some subjects in these studies have reported decreases in pain, tender areas, and a lower need for painkillers. Vegans eat no animal products, while vegetarians eat no meat but do eat dairy products and eggs. While the reasons for the beneficial effect are not clear, it is possible that increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, and reducing red meat intake, will reduce the symptoms of some people with fibromyalgia.

It is possible but unlikely that people eating a vegetarian or vegan diet may not get adequate nutrition. Of particular concern is obtaining a sufficient amount of fat and protein. Eating a wide variety of foods including nuts, seeds, and healthy oils should ensure adequate fat and protein intake.

People with fibromyalgia are often advised to eat foods close to their original state. One example is whole grain foods, which are typically less processed than white bread and pasta. Less intensively processed fermented foods include yogurt, sauerkraut, and other fermented vegetables.

Some additives or components of processed foods may make fibromyalgia symptoms worse for some people. Eliminating monosodium glutamate (MSG) from the diet caused a disappearance of fibromyalgia symptoms for some people in one study. Other possible culprits include processed sugars and the artificial sweetener aspartame. Maintaining a diet in which the chosen foods are as close as possible to their natural state will make it easier to avoid potentially harmful additives.

Keeping a regular record of what one has eaten could identify irritating foods, some of which might be wheat, corn, dairy products or eggs. Even after identifying an individual's best foods for fibromyalgia, it can seem time-consuming to eat well on a regular basis. Doubling or tripling recipes and storing leftovers can save cooking time. Recipe books based on foods for fibromyalgia sufferers can be helpful in incorporating recommended foods into a variety of dishes.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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