Fibromyalgia And The Foods We Eat

Physicians have found that fibromyalgia does appear to be affected by the foods we eat. Its effect can manifest itself differently for each individual, similar to having the same medication effect an individual differently than someone else. Some responding better or worse with the same medication or food. This is partly due to our complex body systems and depending on what each part of our bodies need at any given time. It is a difficult one to explain fully.

Eating healthy foods on a daily basis has been found to help people with fibromyalgia and other disorders like it. Actually, a good healthy diet serves to help with all things. Fibromyalgia can be quite debilitating and suck the energy right out of you. A lot of energy is used just dealing with the discomfort in movement and the ever present fatigue. It is not even clear what causes the fibromyalgia symptoms of muscle/joint pain and fatigue. At any rate, it can zap the zest for life.

Research is showing that the foods we eat play a role in the fibromyalgia symptoms. There has been many varied and contradicting diet recommendations. I think it always comes back to a basic foundation of healthy eating and sometimes a few tweaks for a particular condition based on sound research.

A Few Foods That May Cause More Symptoms

With fibromyalgia and other disorders like it, a good nutritious diet is a must. According to an article posted on WebMD, they have found a few foods that seem to sometimes cause problems with people suffering from Fibromyalgia. Not all of the people in their study had problems with all of these, but it is worth investigating one at a time to see if your symptoms improve. First and foremost, simply start with a good nutritious diet. Do this for at least a couple weeks to get a good, solid foundation, then try eliminating each one of foods below, one at a time. Give it at least a week for each one to be sure it is helping. It may help to keep a written diary as you are doing this.

Aspartame (NutraSweet)-In my opinion, most artificial sweeteners should be avoided. Many unrelated studies have been done on aspartame and it appears to cause problems for many people with and without fibromyalgia.

MSG (monosodium glutamate) and nitrates like those in lunch meats and processed meats. MSG is an additive that is found in many processed foods such as many flavored chips, sauces/gravies, pre-packaged foods, some restaurant foods and the like. There are different names for MSG. MSG can cause symptoms for many people with and without fibromyalgia as well. In minuscule amounts, it may not be noticed while others are quite sensitive to MSG and/or nitrates.

Sugar-Again, sugary foods, especially processed sugars, can affect a person’s health adversely whether you have fibromyalgia or not. High fructose corn syrup has been a major topic in recent years. Sodas, in particular, have a high level of sugar in them, which many people tend to drink a lot of. Relating to sodas, often people with fibromyalgia will drink a soda because they are fatigued. The carbonation and sugar cause an intense increase in the blood sugar levels, which shortly thereafter takes a sharp decline, which further increases symptoms, especially fatigue, then due to the fatigue, they will drink another soda. This imbalance of blood sugar levels can increase symptoms.

Caffeine-We all think of caffeine giving us a burst of energy, but this energy boost is temporary and when it is over, it can cause even worse fatigue for those with fibromyalgia.

Yeast and gluten-Often these substances are found together in breads, pastries and a lot of baked foods. There has been a lot of growing research connecting peoples’ digestive absorption type issues with fatigue and muscle/joint pain. There is a growing number of people with gluten intolerance. Removing gluten has helped people with fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, respiratory concerns, skin problems, abdominal discomfort and related issues, weight loss and has helped with just a general boost in a zeal for life. The good news is that there has been an increasing number of gluten free products out there that actually taste good.

Dairy-Dairy products have many benefits, but can cause problems for some. Some people are just lactose intolerant and trying a lactose free milk product may be worth trying. Others are sensitive to the additives, hormones or pesticides that can be in the milk. Buying an organic type milk can solve that problem. If you feel, milk might be making symptoms worse for you, then either try removing it altogether or trying lactose free or organic first. Remember, if you do remove it completely, be sure you are getting adequate calcium from another source.

Nightshade Plants- Nightshade vegetables, the most common being tomatoes, sweet and hot bell peppers, potatoes, tobacco and eggplant. These have been found to cause an increase in arthritic type pain for some.

Fibromyalgia can be a challenging disorder, but eating the right foods can make a difference as well as staying away from foods that have been researched to possibly worsen your symptoms. Remember to start with a healthy, nutritious diet which is basically one with low fat, low sugar, low processed foods, healthy proteins and carbohydrates, plenty of fruits and vegetables as well as adequate intake of water.

Powerhouse Energy

Interestingly, research has found that people with fibromyalgia have mitochondria dysfunction. This is a section of your cell that produces energy. It is the powerhouse of the cell. It is necessary that fibromyalgia sufferers have a high level of nutrition to improve mitochondria function in order to assist with the production of energy. This makes it even more clear that people with fibromyalgia are affected by the foods they eat and don’t eat, making a high nutritious diet an absolute must.

Probiotic Food Products – Their Benefits

News reports and mainstream media reports about pathogens and harmful bacteria almost on a daily basis. It is easy to think that all bacterias are bad for your health. The truth is, there are certain classes of bacteria that are good for you, they are also called probiotic or “for life”. In recent years, the United States have seen the rise of probiotic food products and these have become widely available in supermarkets.

The United States, however, is lagging behind Europe where such food products are so popular that they are sold almost everywhere. Examples of these food products include heart-healthy beverages, soy-based drinks, yogurt, kefir (fermented milk based beverages that contain probiotics), cultured dairy products, juices, salted gherkins, fermented cabbage, and brined olives. Of course there are probiotic food products of popular brand names which you can check online.

Manufacturers of these products claim that it prevents diarrhea. What is more, these food products are often advised to be eaten when a person is prescribed antibiotics which can kill both beneficial bacteria as well as pathogens. With the absence of beneficial bacteria, new pathogens would get a better chance at infecting the person and therefore causing diarrhea and other intestinal problems. These products have especially been beneficial for infant diarrhea that may also give rise to dehydration.

They are also touted to be effective against lactose intolerance, when your body cannot break down the sugar present in milk and other dairy products. Lactose intolerance is present in some degree in almost three quarters of all American adults. Probiotics have been found to aid in the easy break down of milk and other dairies.

Additionally, makers of these food products have said that probiotics can prevent colorectal and other types of cancer, as well as enhancing the immune system. A 1984 study showed that probiotics reduced the presence of carcinogens and enzymes that cause cancer in the intestinal tract.

Improving the body’s digestive tract also means an overall improvement to the human immune system. This is because the human immune system relies on the digestive tract. Such products have also been found to stimulate some parts of the immune system like its antibody functions and cell regeneration, increasing the body’s ability to protect itself when it is under attack.

These products are good for asthmatics and people who suffer from allergies. Researchers at the University of California at San Francisco found that babies with an asthmatic parent given probiotics during the first six months of life were less prone to develop asthma.

They have also been considered as a way of alleviating the symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. This is because probiotics act on the intestinal microflora.

Other claims made by makers of these products include reducing cholesterol levels, preventing infections.

These products may help in some conditions. But, most people still do not know what good bacteria and bad bacteria are present in their bodies. And not all of these food products are created equal. Depending on the probiotics present in the product, they have different effects on your body and your intestinal track. Also be aware that not all products contain the same level of probiotics. These differences in the type of probiotics used and concentration of bacteria makes these products different from each other. So, make sure you are eating the food that’s right for you.

The UK Needs a Strategy for Farming and Future Food Production

The UK’s largest manufacturing industry is food production is but the final report from the soon-to-be-abolished Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) released in late March has criticised the lack of Government plans for its future.

Its review of the last decade argues that the Government must be actively involved in promoting sustainable food production and feeding growing populations healthily from locally grown food in order to meet the rising challenge of food poverty rather than relying on a “leave it to the market” approach.

The NFU (UK National Farmers’ Union) had also highlighted the issue of a lack of Government involvement at its annual conference in February 2011, where NFU president Peter Kendall, argued that the country needs a properly thought-through food strategy.

Otherwise the country will depend more and more on food imports, he said,.

Escalating prices since 2008 have affected not only consumers but also farmers, who are having to pay more for both animal feed and fuel. Farmers also consistently complain about the pressure from the major superstore retailers driving down prices to unsustainably low levels, where the return to farmers is lower than the cost of producing foods.

Key areas for action highlighted in the SDC report include reducing food waste to landfill to zero by 2015, reflecting the cost of a nutritious and sustainable diet in benefit and minimum wage levels and ensuring schools include cooking skills in the curriculum.

It also stresses that the decline in UK food production and helping to expand sustainable production of vegetable and fruit crops needs to be reversed.

Boosting production to meet the population growth at the same time as protecting the environment are the major challenges for food producers now and in the future and arguably need direct government involvement.

The EU has already introduced some initiatives to withdraw the older generation of pesticides, some of which have been shown to be harmful to both the land and to human health. However, this has led to fears among UK growers of crops, vegetables and fruit, that there are currently few alternatives licensed and available to them.

There are more environmentally friendly low-chem agricultural products, including biopesticides, biofungicides and yield enhancers in the pipeline from the biopesticides developers but they are very expensive to get through the trial, registration and licensing processes and it can take several years.

This is just one instance of where a properly -funded, planned and government-driven food strategy can make a difference, not least if it were possible to get a common agreement between governments on the licencing criteria, rather than the country by country approach to regulation that can hamper efforts to get new, more environmentally friendly and sustainable agricultural products out to the producers who need to use them to increase productivity, protect their yield from wastage that results from attacks by pests and diseases, protect their land’s fertility and to be able to bring healthier, residue free produce to consumers looking for healthy foods at a price they can afford.

Copyright (c) 2011 Alison Withers

Small Farmers Are Important for Future Food Security and Sustainable Food Production

It is generally assumed that “big is best” because of the financial savings that can be made from economies of scale, and this has been one of the drivers of the trend to large-scale farming.

There is, however, a growing body of opinion that the reverse is true and that food security, diversity and sustainable agriculture may be better achieved by supporting the world’s small and family farmers.

According to the US campaigning organisation large-scale agriculture tends to focus on monocultures because they are the simplest to manage with heavy machinery.

The UK’s Foresight Project and both argue that small-scale farming is likely to be more diverse, more flexible and more environmentally friendly.

It is probably no coincidence that large-scale operations are referred to as agribusiness, with all this implies about the importance about making a profit for shareholders and also growing what is likely to produce the highest returns, such as the current shift in agriculture to producing biofuels.

The UK farming periodical Farmers Weekly recently published an article arguing that large-scale agriculture represented a threat to small farmers who are already struggling to make a living. Smallholder and family farming is the dominant form of food production throughout the major developing regions of the world, particularly in Africa and Asia. It is also widespread throughout the developed world.

According to the most recent World Bank report, more and more people are being pushed into extreme poverty by rising food prices. It said that food prices had risen by 36% since April 2010 and predicted that up to ten million more people could fall below the extreme poverty threshold of less than 76p per day in the next few months. That is in addition to the extra 44 million people who have been pushed into food poverty during the last year.

The pressure on farmers to produce more to meet the needs of a growing global population is therefore intensifying and it makes sense to make the best use of all the sources of food production on the planet, large and small.

While small farms are likely to plant mixtures of crops, to use techniques like intercropping and to rotate crops and livestock, with manure serving to replenish soil fertility, they will nevertheless need some support if they are to increase their production.

It is in the areas of access to new agricultural technology, such as low-chem biopesticides, biofungicides and yield enhancers, and to training in their use, where small farmers could most benefit.

Such products are derived largely from naturally occurring sources and would fit well into the mix of existing sustainable small farming methods and techniques to enhance yield and reduce crop loss from disease and damage.

But they are expensive to research, trial and license and therefore need strong support from governments, including perhaps financial subsidies, if they are to be affordable for the smaller producers.

Each small increase in production can only help towards ensuring that there are adequate food supplies for the future, but also there is evidence that small farms producing for local markets increase local prosperity, food security and promote better social cohesion.

Copyright (c) 2011 Alison Withers