Your diet plays an important role in the way your body deals with fibromyalgia. This is because your body needs to maintain its delicate alkaline and acid balance. Too much acid can trigger certain symptoms, especially gastrointestinal symptoms. This theory forms the basis for the argument regarding maintaining a healthy alkaline food diet. An alkaline diet means that your diet should maintain a balance of 80 percent alkaline and 20 percent acid.
How to Start an Alkaline Diet for Fibromyalgia?
Step 1: Get Rid of Your Food Triggers
Before embarking on your alkaline diet, you should take time to examine your diet and determine which foods give you digestive problems and sensitivities. According to experts, almost 40% of fibromyalgia patients have reported to suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and food sensitivities. These two problems alone can cause an array of gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, dizziness, nausea, constipation, bloating etc. They can also lead to other symptoms such as headaches and brain fog.
The most common food triggers are MSG or monosodium glutamate. Other common food that are known to cause sensitivities are food coloring, dairy, yeast, shrimp, caffeine, eggs. Based on the alkaline food chart, most of these foods are acidic.
A study conducted in France revealed that when aspartame is removed from diets, the symptoms of fibromyalgia subsided. The reason is because food enhancers like aspartame and MSG are both neurotransmitter stimulants.
Step 2: Know Which Foods Are Acidic and Which Are Alkalizing
Alkalizing foods are anti-inflammatory whereas too much acidic food causes stomach discomforts, fatigue and migraine. Sometimes, the acidity or alkalinity of a food is contradictory to its taste or its inherent pH levels. What matters is whether it is acid-forming or alkaline-forming when digested. For example, despite its natural low pH value, most citrus fruits are alkalizing foods because they facilitate the removal of hydrogen ions from your body. On the contrary, food containing sugar such as most carbohydrates like white breads, pastas and rice are acidic because they add hydrogen ions to your body. Acidic food should only take up 20% of your diet while alkalizing food should form 80% of your diet.
Highly acidic foods include:
- Grains and most products made with grains such as breads, rice, noodles, pasta, confectioneries
- Diary products like milk, cheese, butter
- Processed food which includes most canned foods, instant meals, fast food, junk food like chips and crackers
- Solid oil like margarine or oil exposed to heat, light or air
- Artificial sweeteners and other food enhancers
- Coffee and sodas
Step 3: Fill Your Plate With Vegetables
Most fresh vegetables are alkalizing and this includes starchy vegetables like potatoes. Instead of getting your carbohydrates from bread, rice or pasta, you can obtain carbohydrates from potatoes or sweet potatoes. Vegetables are filled with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. They can provide anti-oxidating and anti-inflammatory properties which are beneficial to your immune system and overall health. To abide to an alkaline diet, you should fill 80% of your plate with vegetables and selected fruits.
Step 4: Increase Your Intake of CoQ10 Foods
Muscle pain is one of the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia. Almost 60 percent of the patients have experienced lower back pain as a result of fibromyalgia. Recent studies suggest that the lack of CoQ10 could be one of the causes behind this. According to studies, the average CoQ10 deficiency count in fibromyalgia patients is 40 percent. After consuming CoQ10 supplements for nine months, 30% of the fibromyalgia participants were found to have less pain.
CoQ10 helps to maintain optimal pH levels within cells and also increases overall immune functions. It can be obtained by eating organ meats and sardines. If eating organ meats and sardines is not for you, you can also get CoQ10 from supplements. However, before you start on any kind of supplements, consult your physician on dosage and suitability.
Step 5: Drink Water and Stay Hydrated
Most water has a neutral pH or is slightly alkaline. Hence drinking lots of water and keeping hydrated can therefore help to neutralize acidity in your body. Make sure that you drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day. You can take one step further by adding lemon juice to your water. Although acidic by nature, lemon is alkaline-forming when metabolized.