If it seems you're losing the battle with fibromyalgia, take a look at your grocery cart. Some changes in your diet could make a big difference.

See What You Need to Know About Fibromyalgia

Incorporating more vegetables and whole grains into your diet can help to alleviate some fibromyalgia symptoms. Read Food and Fibromyalgia: What to Know

A healthy diet can be helpful with any chronic condition, but it's especially important with fibromyalgia, since there's typically no single medication that controls the wide-ranging symptoms. These symptoms may come and go, but usually include widespread pain and stiffness, extreme fatigue, sleep disruptions, and mental fogginess.

See Characteristic Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

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Adding vegetables to the diet often gives people with fibromyalgia a boost. Try working in more cabbage, sweet potatoes, carrots, and dark green vegetables. Be wary of tomatoes and green peppers, though—these foods can trigger fibromyalgia symptoms.

See How to Create a Fibromyalgia-Friendly Diet

Some small research studies have pointed to benefits from eating a vegan (no animal products, including milk and eggs), vegetarian (no meat), or Mediterranean diet (emphasizing fruit, vegetables, fish, and poultry, but not red meat).

Whole grain foods, almonds, and healthy oils such as olive oil or flaxseed oil are also good additions.

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Steering clear of sugar and processed food as much as possible is your healthiest bet. High-sugar diets have been linked to inflammation and fibromyalgia pain.

See What Are Anti-Inflammatory Foods?

Get in the habit of checking nutrition labels for sugar and lengthy, preservative-laden ingredient lists. You may be shocked to discover the amount of sugar in your favorite yogurt or granola bar. Sugar has many names in ingredient lists, so beware of fructose, corn syrup, malt, or glucose, for starters.

See Ingredients That May Trigger Fibromyalgia Symptoms

People with fibromyalgia frequently have sensitivities to a number of different foods. These foods are suspected of triggering symptoms or causing other problems:

  • Gluten, a major ingredient in bread, rolls, and pasta
  • Milk and other dairy products
  • Food additives such as MSG (monosodium glutamate) or the artificial sweetener aspartame
  • Caffeine, which can contribute to sleep difficulties common with fibromyalgia

See How Gluten Can Cause Joint Pain

If you suspect a food sensitivity, keep a food log to track when a food was eaten and when symptoms started. Then eliminate the suspect food from your diet for several weeks to gauge the impact.

Also, cookies, pastries, and white rice are types of carbohydrates that should be limited or avoided, since they cause blood sugar to fluctuate, worsening symptoms. Brown rice or whole wheat breads are healthier, because they are digested more slowly, avoiding spikes in blood sugar.

Consider Nutritional Supplements

The lack of a single medication to address fibromyalgia symptoms has led many people to try nutritional supplements, such as:

  • Magnesium. Low levels of this naturally occurring mineral are more common with fibromyalgia, so doctors often advise fibromyalgia patients to take this supplement.
  • Melatonin. People with and without fibromyalgia take melatonin to deal with sleep problems. Deep sleep can be a challenge with fibromyalgia, causing people to feel exhausted during the day.
  • Probiotics. Sometimes called "good bacteria," probiotics can help counter harmful bacteria. Probiotics may help address various problems more likely to develop with fibromyalgia, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), vaginal yeast infections, depression, and anxiety.

See Magnesium, Melatonin, and Probiotics for Fibromyalgia

Be sure to give your doctor a heads-up before taking a supplement. Some supplements can hinder the effectiveness of a medication or lead to other harmful interactions.

See Dietary Supplements for Fibromyalgia

Learn more:

Turmeric, Vitamin D, and Coenzyme Q10 for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia or Not? 6 Conditions to Know