Choosing the Right Foods to Help Alleviate Symptoms
The foods we consume have a profound impact on our well-being, particularly when dealing with various health conditions. While heart-healthy diets and nutritional guidelines for managing type 2 diabetes are well-known, understanding what constitutes good nutrition for individuals with fibromyalgia is equally important.
The tools and knowledge you’ve been empowered with through your BioScan™ results and customized re:vitalize nutrition program can provide a helpful framework for people with fibromyalgia to better manage their condition through proper diet & nutrition.
“No drug on the market is as crucial for optimal health as a well-balanced and healthy diet…Nutrition is the foundation of human health. To achieve optimal well-being, we must provide our bodies with the essential nutrients they need, and this applies to individuals with fibromyalgia as well.”
— Dr. Kathleen Holton, PhD and nutritional neuroscientist
Here are our 10 tips on choosing the right diet for fibromyalgia based on Dr. Holton’s research and re:vitalize’s experience in the holistic health and nutrition space:
- Prioritize Whole Foods Over Processed Ones:
Steer clear of processed foods as they often contain more additives and fewer nutrients and fiber compared to unprocessed foods. Choose whole grains like quinoa, amaranth, whole wheat berries, buckwheat groats, or brown and wild rice instead of refined carbohydrates (white flour, white pasta, and white rice) to maintain better nutritional balance.
- Avoid Glutamate in Your Foods:
Glutamate is a neurotransmitter naturally present in the body and certain foods. However, it is also added to some foods as a flavor enhancer, commonly known as monosodium glutamate (MSG). Avoid processed foods with MSG or ingredients like “hydrolyzed,” “autolyzed,” “protein concentrate,” or “protein isolate,” as they may contain naturally occurring monosodium glutamate. Research suggests that eliminating excitotoxic food additives like MSG and aspartame may reduce fibromyalgia symptoms for some individuals.
- Supplement and Eat Magnesium-Rich Foods:
Magnesium citrate supplementation may alleviate fibromyalgia symptoms, particularly when paired with certain antidepressants. Magnesium is found in various healthy foods such as legumes, nuts, seeds, avocado, yogurt, bananas, fatty fish, dark chocolate, and dark leafy greens like spinach and kale. “Magnesium is necessary for helping to prevent the excitotoxicity caused by glutamate,” says Dr. Holton.
- Consider a Mediterranean or re:vitalize-style eating plan
Both the re:vitalize program and Mediterranean diets have demonstrated health benefits, including lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Emphasize fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and low-fat or no-fat dairy foods. Following Stage 3 food protocol of the re:vitalize program is very similar to the mediterranean diet. If cooking with oils, avoid seed oils (like soybean, safflower or sunflower oils) and instead opt for avocado oil or extra virgin olive oils, and use these oils sparingly. Both the Mediterranean diet and the re:vitalize holistic weight loss program promote anti-inflammatory properties which can be helpful in managing chronic conditions like fibromyalgia.
- Limit Artificial Sweeteners and Sugars:
Avoid artificial sweeteners like aspartame, acesulfame-K, saccharin, and sucralose. Similar to our sweetener rules in Stage 2 and 3 of the re:vitalize program, we’d suggest steering clear of artificial sweeteners. While we typically allow for stevia, our personal opinion is that it is still highly processed and should be used sparingly, and that honey or maple syrup (also used sparingly) are a much better option. Our suggestion is to wean yourself off sugar gradually to appreciate the natural sweetness in foods
- Avoid Processed or Cured Meats:
Avoid processed meats with added salt, preservatives, or those that have been smoked or cured. Canned meat, sausage, bacon, hot dogs, deli meat, corned beef, and beef jerky are examples to watch out for. If enjoying certain processed meats, do so sparingly, and look for “uncured” on the label. Additionally, be cautious of products labeled “natural flavor added,” as they may contain naturally occurring monosodium glutamate (see tip #2 above).
- Incorporate Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce oxidative stress, inflammation, and boost immunity. Sources include wild-caught seafood (see #8 below), walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds.. One notable thing to avoid: Avoid omega-3 supplements containing gelatin, which some research suggests may activate receptors implicated in fibromyalgia.
- Include Cold-Water Fish and foods/supplements rich in Vitamin D:
Research suggests that vitamin D supplementation may reduce fibromyalgia-related pain for those with a deficiency. Consume foods naturally high in vitamin D like swordfish, tuna, sockeye salmon, and eggs. Additionally, fortified foods such as orange juice and milk can boost vitamin D levels. Spending time outdoors also helps increase vitamin D levels, but be mindful of sun exposure.
- Prioritize Antioxidants:
To combat the effects of dietary excitotoxins and oxidative stress, increase your intake of antioxidant-rich foods and supplements. Focus on brightly colored fruits and vegetables to enhance your diet’s antioxidant content. Re:vitalize’s clinically-tested molecular hydrogen supplement — Hydro:Active — may also be helpful. Hydro:Active turns regular water into hydrogen-rich water which helps battle oxidative stress at the cellular level and is a powerful antioxidant, making this not only a powerful anti-aging supplement but potentially helpful for reducing fibromyalgia-related inflammation.
- Be Mindful of Food Labels:
Read the ingredients list on packaged foods and avoid those with long and complex labels. Look out for additives that may contain glutamate, and don’t be deceived by vague terms like “spices” or “flavorings” that may hide the presence of excitotoxins. The additives and preservatives that manufacturers are allowed to add to our foods are full of excitotoxins, which wreak havoc on our systems and can be problematic for someone with fibromyalgia. The closer to nature you can eat, the better.
By following these tips and focusing on the pillars of the re:vitalize program in terms of eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet, individuals with fibromyalgia can potentially manage their condition more effectively and improve their overall well-being. Always consult with a healthcare professional or certified nutritionist for personalized advice and guidance on implementing these dietary changes safely. Remember, proper nutrition is a powerful tool for promoting health and alleviating fibromyalgia symptoms.