Over 6 million Americans, 90% of them women in the prime of their life, suffer with fibromyalgia --a painful illness which is characterized most frequently by widespread musculoskeletal aches, pain and stiffness, soft tissue tenderness, general fatigue and sleep disturbances. The most common sites of pain include the neck, back, shoulders, pelvic girdle and hands, but any part of the body can be involved. Symptoms usually appear between 20-55 years of age, but children are also diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome. Frequently, the disease is not diagnosed.
Currently, research has yet to prove conclusively that any particular food affects fibromyalgia either positively or negatively. At the very least, we all know that a good balanced diet can't hurt -- and it certainly helps us feel better and stronger. Generally, foods especially high in antioxidants help to boost energy and minimize fatigue.
Some people claim to have overcome their fibromyalgia symptoms by changing their lifestyle and diet. Mary Moeller, who is a spokeswoman on fibromyalgia and author of Mary Moeller's Fibromyalgia Cookbook, is in a state of remission from the diseases symptoms. She says it is due toa changes that she has made in her diet and lifestyle. The foods she has eliminated are: chocolate, coffee, caffeinated teas, alcohol, high fat dairy foods, white sugar and white flour, fried foods, preservatives, junk food, salt, red meat (especially salt cured, cured bacon, smoked, or nitrate cured), soda pop, and carbonated beverages, nutrasweet and saccharine, drinking liquid with her meals, as well as all forms of tobacco.
It has been proven that certain foods cause fatigue. One study in the Annals of Rheumatic Disease concluded that in certain individuals some foods aggravate arthritis. Often, foods that are acidic are the culprit. Therefore an arthritic diet is one that remains alkaline.
Frequently, fibromyalgia patients have severe food allergies. The most common are: dairy, wheat, corn, and nightshade family plants. You can find your own food sensitivity by eliminating foods that trigger pain. How? Keep a food diary. In your diary, write down everything that you eat and at the same time note your fibromyalgia pain. By comparing the two you may discover that certain foods trigger allergies or pain.
Its also a good idea to stretch, exercise regularly and if possible reduce stress by engaging in relaxing activities like meditation.
Robin Westen is ThirdAges medical reporter. Check for her daily updates. She is the author of Relationship Repair.
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