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Does Diet Make a Difference with Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a complex condition that includes widespread muscle and joint pain, where everything seems to ache and is associated with severe exhaustion and fatigue. It affects up to 4% of the population (woman > men), with no known cause and no known cure. With these facts, it’s not surprising that many sufferers have turned to diet as a means of trying to improve their quality of life. Unfortunately, there are many conflicting dietary recommendations for FM, some completely contradicting the other, leaving both the patient and doctor confused as to who or what to believe.

FM can be primary (of unknown cause) or secondary (caused by a different specific condition). Because many conditions can give rise to FM, it’s not surprising that there is no one diet that works universally for all FM patients. However, many FM sufferers respond from eliminating one or more of several types of foods according to experts interviewed by WebMD, and utilizing these recommendations can prove highly effective. They specifically identified seven foods to avoid in the management of FM:

Some GOOD dietary approaches include a heart-healthy diet—that is, one that is low in saturated fat and includes lean meats and poultry, fresh fruits, and vegetables. This diet improves one’s overall health, thus reducing the risk of secondary FM and allowing the body to better fight off other disease processes. This diet is also anti-inflammatory, the common link found in many health conditions. A vegetarian diet comprised of mostly whole foods was also reported as helpful. High potency vitamin supplement and specifically omega 3 fatty acids (main ingredients—EPA and DHA) included in fish oil, flax seed, walnuts, some fortified cereals, and eggs also help reduce inflammation.

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