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The Use of a Raw Diet to Control Fibromyalgia

written by: Robin Hawkins • edited by: Tania Cowling • updated: 5/18/2011

Fibromyalgia is an often misunderstood condition in the medical field. Because of this, people are turning to alternative therapies to treat the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. Among these natural remedies include the use of a raw foods diet.

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    What is Fibromyalgia?

    Fibromyalgia is an arthritis-related condition that is characterized by an increase and widespread pain in the muscles and joints, especially in the neck, shoulders, back and hips; tenderness to the point of feeling overworked when there is no external reason for the sufferer to feel this pain; and extreme fatigue even when well-rested.

    Other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia include:

    • Depression and anxiety
    • Stiffness
    • Numbness and tingling in hands and feet
    • Headaches
    • Inability to concentrate
    • Abdominal pain and menstrual cramps
    • Irritable bowel syndrome and incontinence

    There currently is no known cure for fibromyalgia. Traditional as well as alternative therapies focus on addressing the various symptoms.

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    Why a Raw Foods Diet?

    Raw foods have a more naturopathic effect on the body than their cooked counterparts. When food is heated to above 110 degrees, essential vitamins that are present in the raw version are destroyed. Additionally, when raw foods are cooked, the fats and carbohydrates are transformed in a way that makes them more difficult to digest and toxins are formed. The immune system treats these cooked versions as foreign, exhausting the body as it works to digest the cooked food.

    Raw foods, however, contain phytochemicals—nutrients in plants, apart from vitamins and minerals that have a beneficial effect on the body. The health benefits in these foods help to boost the immune system and reduce pain and inflammation. Since inflammation and pain play a key role in those with fibromyalgia, a raw foods diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds can help guard against these symptoms.

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    Getting Started

    Getting started on a raw foods diet begins by eliminating all processed food from your kitchen. Get rid of anything containing sugar, caffeine, alcohol, preservatives and trans fatty acids. Add to your diet any uncooked, whole foods including fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. There are strict limitations to an all raw-foods diet, but getting started can be as simple as eating fruit for breakfast and a salad for lunch and moving on from there. A diet like this may seem overwhelming, but the less you eat of processed, cooked foods, and the more you eat of raw foods, the better you will feel.

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    Worried About Boredom?

    If you are worried that you will quickly bore of a diet like this, think first about the health benefits of a raw diet and fibromyalgia. Improving your condition by controlling the symptoms with raw foods can help you to keep up with the extreme restrictions associated with this diet.

    Other ways to help keep up with your diet:

    • Get creative. Try blending fruits into a fruit smoothie.
    • Blend vegetables into a soup or vegetable juice drink.
    • Make your own trail snack mix using raw fruits, vegetables, raisins, dates, apricots, raw nuts and seeds.
    • Purchase or borrow a raw foods cookbook to help show you different ways to combine foods for a variety.
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    Sources

    WebMD, “Fibromyalgia Guide", http://www.webmd.com/fibromyalgia/guide/what-is-fibromyalgia

    Graff, Jackie. “Eat Your Pain Away!" http://www.fmaware.org/News28356.html?page=NewsArticle&id=6095

    Livestrong, “Fibromyalgia and a Raw Food Diet", http://www.livestrong.com/article/119904-fibromyalgia-raw-diet/