The simple answer is Yes! Although most studies seem to indicate that not all fibro patients have the same reactions to the same foods, the National Fibromyalgia Association has always recommended people try the Mediterranean Diet as a way to help you lessen the intake of sugar, processed foods and artificial additives. These seem to be some of the major ingredients in foods that negatively affect peoples health. Lets get a little more specific.
Very simply put the Mediterranean Diet is a way of eating based on the traditional foods and eating patterns of the people and countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. It is not a restrictive or a structured diet. It is simply a healthy, well-balanced eating pattern that focuses on: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and legumes; lean proteins from fish and poultry; good fats from olive oil; and some dairy.
The following TWELVE TIPS show you why you will love the Mediterranean diet and how changing your diet can make a HUGE difference in how you FEEL!
No need to count calories
on the Mediterranean diet. First, you just swap out bad fats for heart-healthy ones. Use olive oil instead of butter. Try fish or poultry instead of red meat. Eat your fill of veggies & beans. (You can have nuts as a snack, but only one small handful a day). You can have whole-grain bread and red wine in moderation. (Check with your doctor about consuming alcohol).
The food is all fresh
on this diet. No need to stock up on all those frozen foods (they can be full of preservatives and additives). Come up with some recipes you will enjoy that contain foods from tip #1. For example- salads containing spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, black olives, and feta cheese. Then for the protein, you can add some grilled chicken. Experiment and get creative with the foods you like that are fresh.
Look for whole grain breads.
Avoid white bread and white flour. Try whole-grain pita bread dipped in olive oil, hummus, or tahini. Tahini is also a good source of protein.
Fat is not forbidden.
All you need to do is swap bad fats for good ones. Use non-saturated fats found in foods such as nuts, olives, and olive oil, or avocado. Stay away from saturated fats that are often found hidden in processed foods.
The Menu is huge
Its much more than just Greek food. You can choose foods from Italy, Spain, Turkey, Morocco. All these countries eat very little red meat but consume fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, chickpeas, okra, and spices from these countries.
The Spices are delicious.
Do some experimenting with the spices from this region of the world. These include bay leaves, cilantro, coriander, rosemary, garlic, pepper, and cinnamon.
The Mediterranean diet is easy to prepare.
Greek meals are often small plates (called Messes) which are fast and easy to prepare. No cooking is needed. Just place some of the most common foods in their natural state on a plate and get snacking.
The diet does allow you to have a small glass of wine,
however, we caution that many people with fibromyalgia have reported increased pain when drinking alcohol and you must be aware of medication interactions! Check with your doctor first.
You won’t be hungry.
You will be able to eat your fill of rich-tasting foods like roasted sweet potatoes, hummus along with rich-tasting cheeses like feta and halloumi, which are lower in fat than cheddar, but you still satisfy your craving for something rich.
You might even lose weight!
Even though foods on this diet seem to be high in fats like nuts, cheese, and olive oil they seem to help you feel full and satisfied faster.
The other benefit of the Mediterranean diet
is it is a very heart friendly diet. Along with helping reduce the inflammation in your body, it will also be full of foods that promote overall good health!
These same foods are also good for the overall health of you brain.
You are not eating fatty processed foods which cause inflammation in your body. These foods are full of antioxidants, which are much friendlier to your overall health!
Some further tips that might help you out were published in the original Complete Idiots Guide to Fibromyalgia,
written by NFA founder Lynne Matallana.
Here are some examples from her book:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
It is estimated that between 50 and 75 percent of people who have fibromyalgia also have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS occurs in the large intestine and causes a group of symptoms including cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. The nerves and muscles in the bowel are extra-sensitive and even eating a large meal can initiate symptoms and cause pain.
People suffering with this syndrome may benefit by avoiding the following foods: fats, fructose (the simple sugar found in honey and fruits), milk products, chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated soft drinks. A high-fiber diet may improve symptoms of diarrhea and constipation.
Â Lactose Intolerance
Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose, the principal sugar of milk. This intolerance is caused by a shortage of the enzyme lactase, which is produced by the cells that line the small intestine. When there is not enough lactase to digest the amount of lactose consumed, a person may suffer from nausea, cramps, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Individuals with lactose intolerance need to limit their intakeÂ of milk and dairy products or take lactase enzymes that are available without a prescription.
It appears that small populations of people with fibromyalgia also have a digestive disorder called celiac disease (CD). CD is genetically predisposed and causes damage to the surface of the small intestine. This damage is the resultÂ of an immunologically toxic reaction to the ingestion of gluten. Gluten is a protein that is in all forms of wheat and related grains, rye, barley, triticale, and oats. CD can be diagnosed through a blood screening and a follow-up biopsy of the small intestine. People with CD must avoid eating all types of wheat and other noted grains.
People with fibromyalgia should pay attention to general nutritional needs, because they often have absorption problems caused by digestive tract illnesses, such as bacterial overgrowth, celiac disease, and irritable bowel syndrome. Certain medications can also interfere with absorption, so adding nutritional supplements to your diet may be helpful. You do need to remember, though, that supplements are not a substitute for a healthy diet, and you must be cautious not to take too much of one nutrient because this can cause serious health problems.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines a supplement as vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, and substances such as enzymes, organ tissues, glandular, and metabolites. The supplement manufacturer is the one responsible for ensuring that its products are safe before it places them on the market.
Drug products must be proven safe and effective for their intended use by the FDA before they are made available to the public; however, there are no provisions in the law for the FDA to approve dietary supplements. Therefore, you must be cautious. The challenge becomes finding out which vitamins and minerals you should take, and which companies have the purest and most cost-effective products.