Fibromyalgia or fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a very common form of chronic pain and is one of the most pervasive diseases, affecting almost 10 million Americans or 5 percent of the population.
The exact cause of fibromyalgia is still unknown, making it difficult to treat. Fibromyalgia symptoms include depression, fatigue, muscle and tissue pain, and sleep disturbances. Medication for this condition, like Lyrica, usually reduces symptoms by only about 30 to 50 percent.
Many fibromyalgia patients reported that some foods tend to aggravate their symptoms. According to the National Fibromyalgia Research Association, certain foods have the potential to irritate your muscles and cause problems to your immune system. And so it can be tough for those suffering from this disease to choose and follow nutritional advice on how they should eat.
No single eating plan will work for all fibromyalgia sufferers, Dr. Joseph Mercola points out. However, Dr. Mercola believes that making simple dietary and lifestyle changes can help relieve fibromyalgia symptoms:
1. Avoid processed foods to stay away from additives and preservatives.
2. Avoid artificial sweeteners. Aspartame has been found to trigger fibromyalgia-type symptoms and make it worse, for those already suffering from the disease. Artificial sweeteners could be responsible for some or even all of your symptoms.
3. Avoid sugar and caffeine, including soda, fruit juice and energy drinks. Drink pure, fluoride-free water instead.
4. Consume coconuts and coconut oil. Coconut has been found to be beneficial to people suffering from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and hypothyroidism.
5. Eat fresh, organic, whole fruits and vegetables that are as close to their natural state as possible. Whole fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which help anti-inflammatory benefits. Go for those deep oranges, reds, purples and greens because generally, the more colorful the produce, the better. Eat as many raw foods as possible. Cooking food in temperatures above 118 degrees F destroys enzymes and nutrients, which is why Mercola personally tries to eat at least 80 percent of his food raw.
6. Eliminate or strictly limit your alcohol intake.
7. Exercise. Regular exercise is one of the most effective fibromyalgia treatment methods.
8. Get more sleep. Having a regular sleeping habit can help greatly boost your energy, improve your mood and reduce pain.
9. Optimize your omega-3 fat levels. Long-chain animal-based omega-3 fats from fish oil or krill oil are natural pain relievers and helps decrease inflammation, joint pain, swelling and stiffness.
10. Relax. Try meditation, yoga or a stress management tool like the Emotional Freedom Technique.