1. Avoid artificial sweeteners. Aspartame, in particular, has been known to trigger fibromyalgia-type symptoms, and if you have the disease already, it will only make it worse. Artificial sweeteners could be responsible for part or even all of your symptoms. (You can read more about this in my book Sweet Deception.)
2. Eat a varied diet of fresh, organic, whole foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. Whole fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory properties[ii]. The more colorful your produce, the better! Go for those deep oranges, reds, purples and greens.
3. Eat as many raw foods (“living foods”) as possible for their enzymes and biophotons. I try to eat at least 80 percent of my food raw. Cooking food to above 118 degrees F destroys enzymes and reduces nutrient uptake.
4. Drink plenty of pure, filtered water that is fluoride-free.
5. Avoid all additives, preservatives, and processed foods.
6. Avoid sugar and caffeine, including sodas, fruit juices and energy drinks.
7. Eliminate or strictly limit alcohol consumption.
8. Make sure you are eating enough long-chain animal based omega 3 fatty acids from fish or krill oils. Omega 3s decrease inflammation, joint pain, swelling and stiffness and are natural pain reducers, in addition to providing many other health benefits.
9. Coconut and coconut oil have been found to be beneficial to people with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and hypothyroidism.
10. Eat slowly and fully chew and enjoy your food!
Detecting Food Sensitivities
If you are already following these dietary guidelines and want to delve deeper into what foods might be increasing your symptoms, then the next step is refining your dietary plan, within your nutritional type category.
There is some evidence that people with fibromyalgia experience fewer symptoms if they eliminate one or more foods that are the most common triggers for food allergies or food sensitivities.
Sensitization refers to a gradual change in how your immune system reacts to a particular substance, often resulting in an allergy.
In “central sensitization,” your entire central nervous system becomes sensitized to a substance, and this happens to be one of the proposed mechanisms for fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, in terms of how your body amplifies pain signals[iii].
Fibromyalgia sufferers are particularly vulnerable to becoming centrally sensitized to certain foods, causing an immune reaction that exacerbates their symptoms.
The most common things in your diet that will cause a problem are corn, wheat, soy, dairy, citrus and sugar. The top three worst offenders are pasteurized milk, soy and gluten (wheat and other grains).
In one study of 17 fibromyalgia patients, nearly half experienced a “significant reduction in pain” after eliminating corn, wheat, dairy, citrus and sugar.