10 Foods for Fighting Fibromyalgia (with recipes)
As advances in science have given us a better picture of the impact of diet and nutrition on our health – it has become clear that the two are closely linked. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Richard Carmona, because of “unhealthy eating habits, and physical inactivity, we may see the first generation that will be less healthy and have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.”
Understanding the impact of diet and nutrition on the body is especially important for those of us suffering from a chronic illness like fibromyalgia. While our fibromyalgia isn’t necessarily caused by diet or nutrition alone – they can influence our symptoms for better or for worse. Knowing which foods help and which foods hurt can put us on a path to a healthier, more comfortable life.
Foods That Can Hurt Your Fibromyalgia
Knowing which foods or ingredients might trigger pain (or enhance your sensitivity to it) is essential for anyone experiencing chronic pain. Eliminating them from your diet can help you avoid unwanted flare-ups and reduce your pain levels. While each of our body’s may react differently to different foods, six things you should generally avoid if you have fibromyalgia are:
Food additives (i.e. MSG)
Artificial Sweeteners (i.e. aspartame)
Simple Carbs (sugars)
Nightshade Vegetables (i.e. eggplants, tomatoes, potatoes, various peppers)
Nutrients & Foods That Can Help Your Fibromyalgia
Once you’ve eliminated potential pain-triggering foods from your diet, you can focus on including foods and nutrients that will help your body fight pain and ease the various other symptoms of fibromyalgia. There are a number of vitamins and nutrients that are essential for helping the body heal, as well as helping to boost energy, reduce fatigue, improve mood and enhance memory or mental clarity (to name just a few).
Figuring out what these essential nutrients are and determining which foods contain them can be challenging. To take out some of the guess work and get you pointed in the right direction, here are some nutrients and foods you should include in your diet to help fight the symptoms of fibromyalgia:
Vitamin B12 converts fuel carbohydrates into glucose, which the body uses as a fuel source to generate energy. If your body does not get enough B12, you will likely begin to feel fatigued and weak.
Health benefits: Boosts energy, helps ease soreness, and improves nerve health
Food sources: Fortified cereals, salmon, tuna
An estimated 80% of adults in the United States are deficient of magnesium. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include muscle soreness, pain, fatigue, memory loss, difficulty focusing and more. These symptoms are all too familiar to those of us with fibromyalgia. While magnesium deficiency may not the only cause of our symptoms, in some cases it may play a role.
Health benefits: relieves pain and tenderness from sore muscles, improves cognitive health and reduces fatigue or weakness.
Food sources: Spinach, pumpkin seeds, black beans, sunflower seeds
Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
In a study of chronic pain patients, symptoms such as stiffness, pain and tender joints were reported to have decreased significantly after taking an Omega-3 Fatty Acid supplement for three months. Besides helping to ease pain, Omega-3 also helps fight cognitive decline, reduce inflammation, relieve inflammatory bowel syndrome and more.
Benefits: reduces pain and soreness, fights inflammation, slows cognitive decline, fights rheumatoid arthritis, may help reduce symptoms of depression
Food sources: Flaxseeds, soybeans, walnuts, salmon
The number of Americans with vitamin D deficiency has tripled in the last three decades. An estimated 13% are deficient and as many as 30% more are at risk of deficiency. In some cases, vitamin D deficiency can result in chronic pain symptoms.
Benefits: Promotes muscle recovery, reduces muscle and joint pain, promotes healthy bones
Food sources: fortified cereals, mushrooms, sardines
Iron helps promote the flow of oxygen into the bloodstream – a critical function that delivers much needed oxygen and nutrients to cells throughout the body. When your body doesn’t get enough iron, you may experience fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, headaches and more. Women are more susceptible to iron deficiency than men. In fact, one out of every ten women suffers from iron deficiency.
Benefits: Promotes oxygen flow, fights fatigue and exhaustion, builds healthy muscles, improves cognitive function, strengthens immune system.
Food sources: Spinach, broccoli, whole grains, olives, legumes
Turmeric is a plant from the ginger family containing a powerful pain-relieving compound known as curcumin. This powerful antioxidant has been used to help relieve pain naturally for over 4,000 years!
Benefits: Natural pain reliever, fights harmful free radicals in the body
Food sources: Turmeric powder (often used as a spice in cooking) or supplements
Healing Recipes for Fibromyalgia
Now that you know which trigger foods to avoid and which nutrients to include as you seek to relieve some of your fibromyalgia symptoms through diet – lets take a look at some actual recipes that can help!
#1 – Healing Raspberry & Green Tea Smoothie
This healing smoothie can work wonders for those in pain! Raspberries are a great source of phytonutrients – with over 22 different ones to help fight inflammation and neutralize cell-killing free radicals. The green tea can help improve blood flow, promote weight loss, fight depression and produce a calming effect on the body.
MORE: 7 Smoothies to Fight Pain & Fatigue
#2 – Pan-Roasted Salmon with Lentil Pilaf
This delicious pan-roasted salmon recipe is a great source of vitamin B12, vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids!
#3 – Healing Soup Recipe
#4 – Pain-blocking Turmeric Tea Recipe
Having an especially painful day? Fight back with this powerful pain-blocking Turmeric Tea. This tea’s magic lies in turmeric’s ability to inhibit the COX-2 enzyme – an enzyme responsible for triggering pain and inflammation in the body.
#5 – Chicken and Noodles in Spiced Broth
Few foods can calm the soul and warm the body quite like a bowl of soup. Especially good for cold, rainy days when the weather seems to exacerbate the pain.
#6 – Pumpkin Seed Granola Mix
Pumpkin seeds are a great source of magnesium and can help relieve sore muscles, promote muscle recovery, boost energy and improve mental clarity.
#7 – Kale Chips
Few foods have as much nutritional value as kale. This dark, leafy green vegetable is packed with powerful vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin E, vitamin K and Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Each of these contains anti-inflammatory properties that are key to regulating the body’s inflammatory process. On top of all that – it’s a low calorie snack. One cup of chopped kale contains just 33 calories!
#8 – Soothing Hot Quinoa Cereal
A healthy breakfast is a great way to start any day and this quinoa cereal is packed with the nutrients your body needs. It is a rich source of magnesium – an important mineral that not only helps relieve the pain and tenderness associated with fibromyalgia but also improves energy production and regulates body temperature. In addition to magnesium, it is a good source of riboflavin, protein and fiber – among other things.
#9 – Ginger Ale Recipe for Chronic Pain & Inflammation
Ginger has been shown to ease muscle pain, back pain, reduce inflammation and help relieve migraines. This powerful healing Ginger Ale is the perfect drink to get you through a flare up.
#10 – Pain Relieving Smoothie Recipe
This delicious smoothie is packed with various healing properties like cocoa and barley grass. The cocoa helps your body produce nitric acid, which promotes better blood flow. Both cocoa and barley grass contain powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to help ease pain and leave you with a heightened sense of well-being.