A Program, Not a Pill: Diet Advice for Fibromyalgia & CFS: Part 2

healthy-foodsThis is the 2nd part of the series on helping patients that suffer with Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Last time I discussed the metabolic disturbances in the body that occur if you suffer with either of these conditions. The essential role of getting balance back in the body is to supplement the patient with the proper doses of vitamins (B complex, C) and hormones–such as thyroid or cortisol–to support the body in its recovery.

STRENGTHENING THE IMMUNE SYSTEM THROUGH DIET

Now let’s discuss the PREFERRED and PROPER DIET to strengthen the immune system.

There is no perfect diet for everyone. Science has advanced in many ways, but there is still no consensus, whether you watch The Dr. Oz show, or read the latest medical journals. I have some strong opinions, from experimenting on myself and from seeing results with patients using different dietary plans.

The one agreement by most researchers is that today’s dietary intake should be tilted toward Omega-3 fatty acids, which lower the body’s inflammatory state. The diet I tend to recommend for many of my patients with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue (and even athletes) is a cross between the Paleo Diet and the Candida Diet. These two diets essentially take out the refined carbohydrates in the diet, which numerous studies show leads to diabetes, hypertension and coronary artery disease.

What’s a refined carbohydrate?

Any simple sugars, cakes, breads and pasta. At first giving these up doesn’t sound too appealing, but when you do, like many of my patients, you will discover that are happy (and feel better) with some natural treats that are tasty AND healthy for you.

What are “good” carbohydrates?

The carbohydrates I want you to eat are the ones abundant in vegetables that contain the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Green leafy salads combined with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and other colorful vegetables is a great way to get your requirements for the nutrients your body needs to build healthy tissue.

OMEGA 3’s: Extra virgin olive oil is filled with the good Omega-3 fatty acids. Another way to get Omega-3’s into your diet is with just a handful (2 ounces) of walnuts. This is a great snack to curb your appetite in the afternoon or late at night.

LEAN PROTEIN: This is a very important component in the diet because protein is the building block for the immune system and for muscle tissue. The protein should be lean protein when possible: FISH is an excellent source of protein and many of the fishes contain unsaturated fats which lower the risk for inflammation. POULTRY and MAMMALIAN meats are also a good source of protein, as long as they are not consumed daily. It is my recommendation that twice a week for these meats is ample amounts to strengthen the body.

VEGANS & VEGETARIANS: My biggest concern for strict vegetarians or vegans is the difficulty for them to obtain the key vitamins and proteins that the body needs. I frequently can tell a patient is vegetarian when I get blood studies and their iron levels are extremely low.

What to Read?

There are two books that I frequently recommend to patients that contain numerous diet plans and choices for you to make good decisions for your health. In my opinion, these books are the most authentic of their kind:

The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain

the-paleo-diet

The Candida Cure by Ann Boroch

As I mentioned, there is no specific diet that is right for everyone–I am flexible with my patients, and you have to take into account possible food allergies and dietary preferences.

In my experience, the most sensible program for most patients is finding a dietary program that is:

· High in Omega-3’s (ADD flaxseeds, walnuts, salmon, extra virgin olive oil)

· Low in simple carbohydrates (TAKE OUT the bread, pasta, crackers, cookies and other pre-packaged, sugary foods)

· With ample lean protein (EAT poultry, fish, and lean mammalian meats 1-2 times per week)

My last piece of advice: If you are not sure whether a certain food is healthy for you, remember my Biblical diet (it’s not about religion):

If a food was available 2,000 years ago, it’s probably healthy to eat.

(NOTE: they did NOT have Lays potato chips in 13 A.D.)

Bon Appetit!

Dr. Dean Mitchell
Mitchell Medical Group, NYC & Long Island

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