West Village Acupuncture Provides Guidance On The Best Diet For Fibromyalgia Patients.
First of all there isn’t agreement on what constitutes “the best diet for acupuncture”. There is, however, agreement about the general food types that should be avoided by fibromyalgia patients. We hope to provide some valuable guidance about foods that should be avoided, and why, as well as guidance about foods that are beneficial.
Products That Must Be Avoided
ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO
These are two products that simply have no place in a fibromyalgia patients life. Eliminating these two items from the diet will provide the patient with immediate improvement.
From the perspective of a Chinese Medical Practitioner, these substances are very hot and drying. The significance of this is that most fibromyalgia patients have too much heat (yang) and not enough fluids (yin).
Think about what happens to leather when it gets wet and then is left out in the sun. It becomes very dry, tight and inflexible — a direct result of too much heat and not enough moisture. The same principle applies to a fibromyalgia patient and accounts for much of the pain associated with this condition. These patients often suffer from a condition known as yin deficiency. That means, the do not have enough fluids in their system.
If this condition persists, the dryness generates more heat, which in turn causes the patient to become even dryer. It is a cycle in which each of the elements feeds on the others. Just like the leather left out in the sun, the patient’s sinews and tendons become dry, tight and inflexible. Adding more heat in the form of alcohol and tobacco worsens the overall condition –drying the body more and increasing the amount of pain.
Removing these hot and drying substances reduces the heat and allows for some moisture to return to the system. These two items are non-negotiable and have no place in the Best Diet for Fibromyalgia.
Sugar is an unhealthy substance for all of us. It is more than simply unhealthy for the fibromaylgia patient. It is harmful and aggravates an already difficult set of circumstances. It is definitely not part of the best diet for fibromyalgia patients.
From a Chinese Medical perspective, sugar is harmful to the digestive system and other systems responsible for the production of nutrients and energy. A fibromyalgia patient cannot afford to injure their digestive systems. Many of these patients present with gastrointestinal disorder, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and bloating and discomfort (GI Disorders). This already taxed digestive system cannot afford to be further damaged by the intake of sugar.
In addition to aggravating the IBS and other GI disorders, sugar interferes with the body’s ability to break down food. If the food we take in cannot be broken down, then our bodies cannot properly absorb the food we take in and we are not getting appropriate nutrients. This explains why we often see patients who are overweight. Their bodies are unable to make proper use of the food that it being consumed. It is not being converted into a usable form. The result is everything slows down and a patient begins to gain weight.
In addition to weight gain, because the body can’t efficiently use the foods that are being taken in, the patient is not being properly nourished. This lacks of nourishment manifests as fatigue and lethargy — symptoms all too familiar to fibromyalgia patients. This lack of nourishment also accounts for some of the pain experienced by these patients. The muscles aren’t receiving nourishment and this lack of nourishment causes pain.
Thus as is the case with tobacco and alcohol, sugar has no place in the best diet for fibromyalgia patients.
Hot foods does not mean things take are hot to the touch, rather it includes such things as spicy foods, shell fish and red meats, particularly lamb. These foods are not appropriate for fibromyalgia patients.
They, along with alcohol and tobacco fall into the category of hot foods which are damaging to both the yin and the digestive system. Thus, all of the issues discussed above, also apply to these categories of food.
It is important to note that chinese medicine does not recommend abstinence from meats. In fact, meat should be part of a best diet for fibromyalgia patients. This includes red meat, in moderation. I would, however, exclude lamb from the menu. Similarly, all seafood should not be excluded, it is only the shellfish that is considered to be hot in chinese medicine.
These products will not be problematic for all fibromyalgia patients. There is however, a percentage of these patient who have a condition known as iliac sprue. At its root, this is an allergy to gluten, a by-product of wheat. If the patient suffers from gastrointestinal disorders, then it would be wise to monitor wheat intake. Try avoiding all wheat products for a week or two, and notice if the digestive issues improve. In many patients a difference will be noticed almost immediately. If that is so, then wheat should be eliminated from the diet. It will no longer be part of the best diet for fibromyalgia for that patient.
Eliminating wheat products isn’t nearly as daunting as it may sound. There are a wide variety of wheat/gluten free products on the market, because the instances of sprue appear to be on the rise. One product which should be used as a wheat substitute is rice. Rice is a good source of starch and is easily digestible. In chinese medicine, it is part of a best diet for everyone. It is especially so for the best diet for fibromyalgia patients.
These foods should also be avoided as they are hot in nature and thus will increase the amount of heat in the patient. For a discussion of heat and fibromyalgia, see discussion above. In addition to being hot, greasy foods are very taxing to the spleen and stomach. They cause the spleen to become damp and sluggish. The ultimate result is that the body produces less energy thus the patient becomes more fatigued. The taxed spleen also produces more damp causing the entire system to slow down. There is less nutrients being absorbed and the damp gives rise to foggy mental states and weight gain.
For Fibromyalgia patients it is essential that they reduce their intake of fatty/greasy foods.
Dairy is particularly harsh on the digestive system. Foods such as milk and cheese are characterized in Chinese Medicine as being cloying. They slow down and clog up the digestive system. The result is a further diminished efficiency of the digestive system, with all the attendant problems.
As is the case with sugar, dairy aggrevates existing digestive difficulties, reduces the amount of nutrients that the body can absorb and results in increased fatigue, lethargy and pain. These are results that most fibromyalgia patients cannot afford to experience. As such, these products are not part of the best diet for fibromyalgia patients.
TO SUM UP
The rewards and benefits of changing dietary habits far outweigh any detriment. At first it may seem like a tall order, so it is important to realize that no one expects perfection. A minor indulgence on limited occasions will not cause any significant harm. The key is to make major changes in dietary habits over the long term. Once the patient begins to experience the benefits, the motivation to continue eating well will not wane. We hope that this helps to shed light on what constitutes the best diet for fibromyalgia patients.
THE BEST DIET FOR FIBROMYALGIA PATIENTS
The best diet is one that is on the bland side, so that it is easily digestible and the patient is able to break down the raw food products and absorb the nutrients that these foods have to offer.
It is best to avoid raw foods as they are difficult to digest. All foods should be cooked to some extent so they can be more easily digested. One food that is the staple of the Chinese diet, is a dish known as Congee. The basic ingredient is well cooked rice. The recipe involves a 6:1 ratio of fluid to rice, cooking until the fluid is mostly absorbed or evaporated. Almost anything can be added to this basic component. Adding meat and vegetables can make a very satisfying meal. Also adding fruits and berries, or honey can make for a tasty snack.
So these are our suggestions on the Best Diet for Fibromylagia patients.
For more information on fibromyalgia and other treatment options, click here. We hope this webpage on the Best Diet for Fibromyalgia patients has been helpful and informative. For more information, or if you would like to make an appointment, contact us at +1 917-968-2854.