By Sue Ingebretson
Prompted by the astute suggestion from a dear friend, I sat down to write a quick grocery list of foods that are good for fibromyalgia. After all, we hear about bad foods all the time, don’t we? Why not tip the scales in our favor and create a basic list of the good and healthy foods that help to alleviate fibromyalgia symptoms? It wasn’t, however, that simple. Something strange happened.
I never experience writing blocks, but this time I was stymied.
I’d jot down a few foods, find I’d written the same one several times, and then lose track of my purpose. I tried to think about the individual foods. But instead, I’d drift off into space thinking about their health benefits. At some point, I’d notice my derailment and start all over again.
After several rounds of this endless loop, I realized that I felt like a stuck computer trying to process something that doesn’t compute.
I finally figured out why.
I’ve researched, studied, assessed, analyzed, and scrutinized specific foods for so long that I no longer see foods as grocery list items. I see them as medicinal tools. Each natural, whole, and nourishing item is a compound of macronutrients, micronutrients, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and more. These foods feed us at a cellular level providing the healing elements we need to decrease chronic symptoms and increase energy, wholeness, and restoration.
Whew! That’s a lot of responsibility when you consider it. Food has the opportunity to nutritionally build us up or tear us down. It all depends on what we consume.
When it comes to healthy foods, they also work amazingly well with each other. I think of these superfoods as being part of a collection rather than individual items.
I realized that by trying to create a simple list, I was approaching this topic from the wrong angle. It was backwards to me.
After all, isn’t our ultimate goal to reduce pain and inflammation while increasing energy and healing?
So, I went back to my list. I reviewed the duplicate items and thought about what purposes these foods serve in the whole healing story. What role do they play and what healing functions do they offer?
I then came up with a different approach. I decided to first look at the symptoms I wanted to address, and second, write down the foods that ease, alleviate, or remedy those symptoms.
You’ll find my results below. I’ve listed five main healing states related to the basic chronic illness problems of pain and energy. There’s significant overlap in the healing states as well as in the foods listed, but this is a great place to begin.
Whole, unprocessed, healthy foods will logically show up in more than one category. Natural foods have a wonderful synergistic capacity to promote healing at a root level. They work beautifully together with other foods and with additional healing practices.
The following lists are of foods, herbs, beverages, and spices that achieve the noted healing states with the highest efficiency and economy. They’re listed in no particular order. These are basic, common foods that are readily available at most stores, markets, and some online venues.
Fibromyalgia Healing Foods List
(including inflammation, nausea, cramping, bloating, etc.):
|Tea, green and black||Ginger||
(low or no sugar added)
|Proteins such as –||Ancient “grains” such as –||
Fiber-rich veggies and fruits
(see list above)
|Protein shake mixes (pea, hemp)||Quinoa||Water|
|Animal proteins (meats including fish)||Amaranth|
|Water||Cinnamon||Ancient “grains” such as –|
|Turmeric||Fiber (see list above)||Quinoa|
|Onion||Citrus (whole fruit)||Millet|
(such as apple cider vinegar)
|Proteins (see list above)||Tea, green|
|Almonds||Brazil nuts||Flax seeds|
|Chia seeds||Sunflower seeds||Pumpkin seeds|
|Hemp seeds||Coconut oil||Berries|
This list is by no means exhaustive. There’s much, much more to add, but it serves as a great place to begin. What are your favorites? What items haven’t you tried? Which ones spark your interest for creating new and interesting recipes? Variety is the spice of life when it comes to mealtime innovations.
“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces.
Just good food from fresh ingredients.”
And, while you’re improving your nutritional plans, don’t forget to move your body! Fitness activities provide a vital part of healing and maintaining wellness. Incorporating body movement into your daily routine is an incredibly efficient way to stabilize blood sugar, improve digestion, reduce inflammation, increase energy, detoxify the body, improve memory, recall, and focus, and even improve sleep. For more information on the health benefits of creating your own fitness training program, read “What Fitness Training Works Best with Fibromyalgia?”
Even More Resources!
As mentioned, many of the foods or category of foods in this article made more than one list. Because of their power-house capacity to heal and repair the body, there’s much more to learn. To dig deeper, check out these articles for additional information on some of these key nutrients.
Important additional notes and tips:
Many of the superfoods listed above have powerful healing benefits. While this is a good thing, it’s also important to take note of just how powerful they can be. Because some superfoods may affect or contribute to complications with some pharmaceutical medications and other treatment protocols, it’s important to discuss nutritional changes with your medical professional. Make sure to disclose medications, supplements, and/or any other protocols you may be currently following.
You may notice that beans and lentils have not been included in the lists above. Some people with autoimmune conditions and/or fibromyalgia have difficulty in digesting, metabolizing, and absorbing nutrients from these food groups. You can make this assessment yourself, and if you feel beans and lentils are a good choice for you, by all means, include them.
You’ll notice that dairy and grains are not a part of this list. I don’t recommend either category of foods for anyone dealing with inflammation, gut health issues, candida or yeast overgrowth, or when looking to reduce sugar consumption. You can read more in the Fibromyalgia Diet article listed above.
- Sometimes superfoods, especially herbs and spices, can be super pungent in flavor (and gastric impact). When introducing a new super food such as fresh ginger, for example, err on the side of caution. Introduce the nutrient into your diet in small quantities and see how it goes. There’s nothing worse than spending the time (not to mention money) on creating a wonderful smoothie, soup, or veggie dish and find that you were a bit heavy handed with the spices. Remember that a little goes a long way!
It’s now time to create your own grocery list, including food items found in this article.
Of course, you can simply write yours on the back of a junk mail envelope (very environmentally-friendly), but here are a couple other options. Check out Pinterest for great grocery list template options. It’s amazing to see the variety, design style, and content options available. Or, use a basic (not to mention free) template from the options found here.
I’d probably use the Simple Grocery List #2 from the free template listed above. I can fill in items of my own preference. That way, I don’t have to waste space on my list with all sorts of processed foods and items I don’t consume or wish to buy.
In any case, I hope you feel encouraged to continue incorporating healthy, healing, whole, nutrient-rich foods into your diet. When it comes to adding these foods to your regular shopping adventure, your list is your command!
Sue Ingebretson is the Natural Healing Editor for ProHealth.com as well as a frequent contributor to ProHealth's Fibromyalgia site. She’s an Amazon best-selling author, speaker, and workshop leader. Additionally, Sue is an Integrative Nutrition & Health Coach, a Certified Nutritional Therapist, a Master NLP Practitioner, and the director of program development for the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Center at California State University, Fullerton. You can find out more and contact Sue at www.RebuildingWellness.com.
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