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Fibromyalgia, Inflammation & Diet

healthy foodThere has been much debate recently around whether fibromyalgia is an inflammatory condition.  Historically fibromyalgia was called ‘fibrositis’ which means fibrous-tissue inflammation, and patients do report inflammation-like pains and symptoms.  However, the disease does not present itself like other inflammatory conditions such as lupus and arthritis, and common symptoms such as painful joints are not present in sufferers.  In fact, the typical markers for inflammation are usually low or normal in fibromyalgia sufferers.  Consequently, for many decades’ fibromyalgia has been considered an inflammatory condition.

However, in recent years there have been some interesting studies that indicate inflammation could actually be a factor.  Sufferers do present high levels of C-reactive protein and pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are usually elevated when inflammation is present.  Some of the theories about fibromyalgia inflammation include an inflammation of the skin cells, inflammation of the fascia, a thin layer of connective tissue in the body, and other studies have examined the connection between abnormal stress responses and inflammation.

If you are looking for ways to combat inflammation, perhaps incorporating some inflammation-busting ingredients into your diet could help?  Here are some great ideas on how to use some popular anti-inflammatory ingredients:

  • Aloe Vera has a strong anti-inflammatory reputation!  Although very few studies have been carried out into the matter, there are lots of anecdotal stories of people with chronic inflammation who have really benefitted from using Aloe Vera.  The most common way to ingest Aloe Vera is to make a smoothie with it. You can mask the bitter flavour by adding a splash of fruit juice or a squeeze of lemon and some honey, like they do in China.  If you don’t mind the flavour of Aloe Vera too much, then you could even try using fresh fillets of Aloe in a salad like this one . Of course you can be brave and just drink Aloe straight, but it’s an acquired taste!
  • Ginger is well known for its healing properties.  There are many ways you can incorporate ginger into your diet, crystallised ginger or ginger sweets from a health food store, juicing or adding it to food.  There are lots of delicious recipes and cakes with ginger to choose from, check out this section of the BBC food website for lots of recipes .
  • Turmeric is known as nature’s anti-inflammatory powerhouse! There are lots of recipes containing turmeric, here’s a slideshow with 30 turmeric recipes .  Alternatively, you could try turmeric tea.  Boil 4 cups of water and add a teaspoon of ground turmeric, leave to simmer for 10 minutes, strain and serve with lemon and honey to taste.
  • Juicing is very on trend right now and there are all sorts of different flavours.  As well as being a great energy boost they are jammed full of nutrients that can help boost your immune system and aid a healthy digestive tract.  If you would like some ideas for inflammation reducing juices,  check out the recipes here , you will find lots of recipes packed full of fruit, turmeric and ginger, you could even add some Aloe Vera.

Have you found that targeting inflammation has helped with the symptoms of fibromyalgia?  Do you have any tips and recipes to share with us?  We would love to hear your comments below.

We do not endorse any research, studies or sources mentioned within our blogs and comments. Furthermore, we do not endorse any medical advice provided, and would strongly recommend anyone seeking medical advice to contact their local healthcare provider.


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