Fibromyalgia is a chronic medical condition that causes widespread pain usually affecting muscles, tendons and ligaments, along with fatigue. The exact cause of fibromyalgia is yet unknown, and the condition is hard to diagnose and there no specific cure. A combination of exercise, medication, therapy and a healthy diet can help patients manage their symptoms. CareClinic is an app that you can use to help set up and track a fibromyalgia diet plan so that you can get the most out of your food while avoiding fibromyalgia flare-ups.
Living with Fibromyalgia – How Can You Manage It?
If you are a patient living with fibromyalgia, you may have been prescribed pharmacological treatments such as painkillers. They, however, may not be enough to control your pain. There are other things that you can do to help manage your fibromyalgia symptoms, such as; regular exercise, behavioral therapy, massage therapy, and possibly most important, diet. There have been countless studies over the years showing that there is a strong link between health and nutrition.
Is there a Diet for Fibromyalgia?
You may have wondered if there are any changes you can make to your diet to improve symptoms such as muscle pain, fatigue or memory loss. Unfortunately, there is currently is no research that has validated certain foods that all patients should eat or avoid. However, you may still want to make small adjustments to your diet to get an idea of how certain foods affect you and how you feel.
Certain patients have sensitivities to certain foods, and it can vary from one patient to another. Many patients report worsened symptoms after having eaten certain foods. The goal is to identify which foods help alleviate your symptoms and which make them worse. This will eventually help reduce your pain and fatigue and increase your overall quality of life.
A balanced diet consisting of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy is ideal for anyone, whether you have fibromyalgia or not. You should avoid any unhealthy foods such as processed foods, refined grains, saturated fats, and look to reduce sugar and salt. A well-rounded diet will give you the energy needed to lead an active lifestyle, which will lead to improving your overall health.
Foods to Eat on a Fibromyalgia Diet
You should cater to your fibromyalgia diet plan to target foods that give you more energy. Choosing the right may help you from feeling tired and worn out. Meals with a mix of protein or fats with carbohydrates will help slow down absorption and help spread out the energy.
Try to eat breakfast every morning. With our busy schedules, it can be very easy to skip breakfast, but some protein and whole grains will give you the energy you need to get you through the morning. Eating small meals throughout the day can also help maintain your energy levels. A small, healthy snack when you begin to feel tired in the afternoon can give you a much-needed boost of energy.
Below are some ideas to help you build out your own fibromyalgia diet plan:
- Add fruits and vegetables to your diet – increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables will provide you with more nutrients and studies have shown that switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet can help reduce pain.
- Increase fiber intake – quinoa, brown rice, beans, lentils, fruits and vegetables are all good sources of fiber and help reduce gastrointestinal
- Boost omega-3 fatty acids – foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids have strong anti-inflammatory effects. Omega-3s can be found in cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna, or bass, as well as dark, leafy vegetables such as kale, broccoli and spinach.
- Incorporate antioxidants – antioxidants help reduce inflammation. They can be found in many herbs and spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, oregano, along with many others. Folic acid along with many other vitamins are also great sources of antioxidants and can be found in many fruits and vegetables.
- Look for magnesium – magnesium is an essential mineral that helps to reduce inflammation and has been found to be in lower levels in fibromyalgia patients. Magnesium can be found in legumes, nuts and seeds, dark, leafy greens, yogurt and avocado.
- Choose healthy fats – switch to healthy fats such as olive oil which can help with improving physical and psychological functioning.
The foods listed above are a small example of foods to try to add or increase within your diet to help manage or improve your symptoms.
Foods to Avoid on a Fibromyalgia Diet
Research has shown that there are certain foods and ingredients that can trigger certain symptoms or make other symptoms worse. Many fibromyalgia patients have confirmed that certain foods worsen their symptoms by increasing inflammation and/or aggravating food sensitivities. While there is no set list, there are number of ingredients and additives that have been found to worsen symptoms.
Below are some foods to avoid in order to help reduce or manage fibromyalgia flare-ups:
- Processed foods – avoid eating processed foods, these usually have more additives and less naturally occurring nutrients. Many processed foods contain preservatives, high levels of salt, sugar and fat, which can all trigger food sensitivities and inflammation.
- Additives – food additives, called excitotoxins need to be avoided and may worsen some symptoms of fibromyalgia. Excitotoxins include many compounds commonly used in the food industry, such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), a common flavor enhancer, or aspartame, a common artificial sweetener. Research has shown that patients who stopped using MSG and aspartame saw a great reduction in painful symptoms. Their symptoms returned once they added these substances back into their diets.
- Gluten – studies have reported that non-celiac related gluten sensitivity, may be an underlying cause of fibromyalgia. Patients following a gluten-free diet have shown improvements in pain reduction and quality of life.
- Carbohydrates – evidence of sugars being linked to fibromyalgia is low. However reducing refined carbohydrates such as white rice, bread and cookies can lead to reduced fatigue and pain. These foods are digested very quickly, causing blood sugar levels to spike and then drop, leading to hunger and fatigue.
- Unhealthy fats – certain oils, such as corn oil, sunflower oil and other vegetable oils have been shown to have inflammatory effects. Food fried in these oils has especially been shown to worsen fibromyalgia symptoms.
- Alcohol – some research has shown that low or moderate alcohol use can ease symptoms in some patients. However, others have reported alcohol to cause fibromyalgia flare-ups. Excessive alcohol use can also lead to depression, anxiety and chronic pain. Alcohol can also cause harmful interactions with medications prescribed for fibromyalgia.
Supplements for Fibromyalgia
Research has been done to investigate whether certain supplements, such as soy, s-adenosylmethionine, creatine and many others, have any effects in helping manage fibromyalgia symptoms. Currently, there is not enough evidence to conclude that these supplements help reduce fibromyalgia symptoms. However, many supplements do have anti-inflammatory effects that can be considered. The same can be said for herbal remedies, unfortunately, there is not much research or evidence to show the positive effects of using them. Patients taking supplements should make sure that there are no adverse interactions between the supplement and their medication.
Weight Control Benefits of a Fibromyalgia Diet Plan
Eating healthy can result in many benefits, one of which is controlling your weight. Fibromyalgia patients who are also obese reported higher pain, fatigue, lower sleep quality and higher chances of mood disorders. These patients benefited from a better quality of life once they lost weight, suggesting that weight loss can be an important tool in controlling fibromyalgia symptoms. (R)
Fibromyalgia and CareClinic
The CareClinic app can be a very useful tool in treating fibromyalgia. This is especially true when it comes to creating a diet plan to help you reduce your symptoms. This user-friendly app is free to use and comes with many features such as a diary, medicine & supplement tracker, symptom tracker, nutrition tracker, activity tracker and therapy tracker. Patients living with fibromyalgia can use the app to track and log their symptoms, medication, diet and activity, for example.
The CareClinic app allows you to enter as much information as you want, the more you enter, the better the app will be able to provide you with logs, charts and correlations to give you an idea of potential triggers that may lead to fibromyalgia flare-ups. You will then be able to monitor these triggers and create a strategy to minimize your symptoms, or even eliminate them.
The app also provides you with the ability to share your information with your healthcare professionals, doctors, nurses, therapists, nutritionists and many others. The details you enter and track on the app will provide your support team to deduce an accurate diagnosis and create effective treatment solutions.
Using CareClinic to Create a Fibromyalgia Diet Plan
The nutrition feature of the CareClinic app provides you with the tools to create your own fibromyalgia diet plan menu. You can enter all your meals for the day, including snacks and any beverages. You will also be able to enter their nutritional info, such as calories, protein, fat and carb content. As you enter each meal you will gain an understanding of how healthy your meals are and whether if you are following a balanced diet.
After you enter each meal, you can use the app’s check-in feature to note that you have consumed the meal. You can even set reminders for yourself so that you remember that a meal is coming up. Living with fibromyalgia can be tough and your day-to-day symptoms can make it hard to remember to eat. With reminders, you can ensure that you take your meal so that you are able to maintain your energy levels. This will help prevent you from becoming fatigued.
The app’s reports feature will log everything you ate, and provide you with charts to show your nutritional details. You will then be able to draw connections between the foods you eat and symptoms you log in the app. This can be great in identifying what foods trigger or worsen your symptoms. This way you know to avoid them next time and gradually remove them from your diet.
Using a Food Diary to Manage Fibromyalgia
A great way to begin to identify foods that may trigger or aggravate your fibromyalgia symptoms is by keeping a daily food diary. You can use the CareClinic app’s nutrition feature to log what you eat every day. You can also use the diary and symptom features to make notes of symptoms like headaches, indigestion or fatigue. As you make more and more entries, over time you will begin to see, for example, that eating a particular food leads to increased fatigue.
You can even make diary entries of how a certain meal made you feel during and after. Did you feel energized afterwards? Have an upset stomach? Were you more energized immediately after the meal and then crashed a few hours later? As you make more and more entries, you will begin to see correlations between what you eat and your symptoms.
Another reason to keep a food diary is that the symptoms of fibromyalgia come and go. It can become difficult to track over a short time period. By making regular entries over a long period of time you will have enough data compiled in the app. You will then begin to see correlations between what you eat and the symptoms you experience.
Changing your dietary habits entirely can be very challenging. It may be better and less disruptive to add or remove foods gradually. As you slowly make changes to improve your diet, you will begin to notice a reduction in your symptoms. This may take several weeks, but over time, this will improve your overall quality of life.
Prioritize Your Overall Well-Being
Your nutrition and diet can have a huge impact on managing your fibromyalgia symptoms. It is important to keep in mind that your case is unique to you. While it is unfortunate that one patient’s positive treatment may not translate to you, it is important to note that you have full control over how to manage your health. Unfortunately, as we know, there is currently no treatment to cure fibromyalgia. It is important to make healthy dietary choices along with controlling your weight may help in managing your symptoms.
CareClinic, Your All-in-One Health Management App
CareClinic is a comprehensive tool for adequate medication management. It allows you to bring together your medical information, health data, and ongoing treatments. Therefore, you can remain informed about all aspects of your health.
Patients can use CareClinic as a medicine tracker, similar to using a physical pillbox. This will help alleviate the stress and task of manually timing your medication intake. Furthermore, it highlights potential drug interactions and offers a health journal to document different aspects based on your personal diagnoses. You may record any other modalities as well and treat the app as a personal health records app.
The application is available for free and patients can use the app on various smartphones and even computers. It complies with the current privacy laws and safeguards your medical information. Moreover, the app performs seamlessly through a sleek and innovative user-friendly interface. Therefore, CareClinic can assist both patients and physicians in improving medication management and adherence to complex treatment plans.
CareClinic’s simple to use measurement input methods allow for patients to easily check-in with the app daily to maintain their medication log. Patients can also share information with their caregivers. Their care-team is also able to communicate with patients through the app. Therefore, doctors can receive notifications and keep up to date on their patients 24/7. This also allows users and their healthcare providers to create flexible and adaptive care plans.
Our platform assists in self-monitoring by using reminders, rendering useful reports, and keeping everyone in the loop. Therefore, we encourage you to try CareClinic out for yourself. The app is free to download on iOS and Android by clicking here.