The Fibromyalgia Diet – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

With fibromyalgia, there are certain foods that will help symptoms. Likewise, there are foods that will aggravate symptoms. These foods make up the Fibro Diet and should be followed if you are looking to alleviate your fibromyalgia symptoms (particularly the stomach issues).

The Fibro Diet: The good, the bad, and the ugly #FibroDiet #BeingFibroMom
created by Brandi Clevinger using the image from © Marilyn Barbone at
The good, the bad, and the ugly of the #fibromyalgia diet. #chronicillness #fibrodiet Click To Tweet

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The lists of what to eat and not eat are clear when it comes to fibromyalgia, but remembering those foods can be a pain (especially when living with brain fog). To make it easier, I’ve complied these lists into two tables – Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid – for you to be able to print and hang in your kitchen or pantry for easy reference (scroll down to get the PDF).

To break down these two categories of food, here is the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Fibro Diet.


The Good

These are the good foods that you should eat to help your body fight against fibromyalgia symptoms. Many of these foods are high in magnesium, and a large percentage of those individuals fighting fibromyalgia have a deficiency in magnesium. It is the fourth most prevalent mineral in the body, and is responsible for lowering stress and anxiety and boosts energy levels. When a person is lacking this essential mineral, the person will experience body pain, anxiety, fatigue, muscle spasms, migraines, and other symptoms.

Anti-inflammatory foods

  • pineapple, pineapple juice
  • garlic
  • sweet potatoes
  • greens such as brussel sprouts, kale, cabbage, broccoli
  • berries
  • healthy fats such as wild fish, olive oil, and omega-3
  • turmeric
  • ginger

Overall body aches

Energy Boost

Herbal Teas

Kimchi, a Korean dish, helps with fibromyalgia symptoms that effect the stomach. Fermented foods have been through a process called lacto-fermentation. This process in which all the natural, good bacteria feed on the sugar and starch preserving the food and creating healthy enzymes, vitamins, fatty acids, and strains of probiotics. Lacto-fermentation also helps with the digestion process and improves overall digestion.


The Bad

These foods are bad for fibromyalgia, but are okay to eat if eaten less often and in small moderations.

  • caffeine: Stresses out the adrenal glands. A little bit is okay, but large amounts can weaken the glands. These glands regulate hormones for functions such as sleep, digestion, and emotions.
  • gluten: Gluten is a mixture of two proteins and is a substance present in many grains. It irritates the lining of the smaller intestines making it inflamed to the point of not being able to absorb nutrients.  Most people living with fibromyalgia are gluten sensitive meaning gluten causes mild symptoms of diarrhea, stomach pains, bloating, and headaches. Gluten intolerance, such as Celiac Disease, means the body cannot handle gluten in any capacity whatsoever.
  • dairy: irritates the stomach and causes diarrhea, stomach cramps, and/or headaches
  • alcohol: the yeast in alcohol can irritate the lining of the digestive tract causing inflammation and swelling
  • lunch meat: processed
Eat this and not that with #Fibromyalgia #FibroDiet Click To Tweet


The Ugly

There are some foods that are frowned upon for fibromyalgia. These foods aggravate fibromyalgia and can lead to flare ups. Avoid these foods if you have fibromyalgia.

  • processed foods: high in unhealthy fats, sugar, artificial ingredients, and sodium
  • carbs: has gluten
  • foods rich in sugars: increases inflammation and effects cognitive function
  • fried foods: irritates the stomach
  • red meats
  • fast food: usually processed and fried
  • sunflower and corn oils
  • wheat: contains gluten
  • animal fats
  • energy drinks: contains high volumes of caffeine
  • white bread: contains gluten

Nightshade vegetables should also be avoided because they contain alkaloids which are difficult for some digestive systems to break down. Most people living with fibromyalgia are sensitive to these vegetables and are unable to fully digest them. Symptoms from this sensitivity include diarrhea, gas, bloating, nausea, painful joints, headaches, and depression.

These vegetables are:

  • eggplants
  • bell peppers
  • tomatoes
  • potatoes (not to be confused with sweet potatoes which are good for fibromyalgia)
Avoid these foods with #fibromyalgia and #ChronicPain #FibroDiet Click To Tweet


Printable Food Guides

Get your FREE fibro diet food guid with printable tables.

The Fibro Diet: foods to eat and not eat with fibromyalgia #thefibrodiet #beingfibromom
created by Brandi Clevinger using the image from © Marilyn Barbone at


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The fibro diet - the good, the bad, and the ugly #fibromyalgia #fibrodiet #chronicillness


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I'm Brandi, follower of Christ, wife to an amazing, supportive husband, blessed mother to four sweet children, and a fellow spoonie. Facebook-+-Twitter-+-Instagram

31 thoughts on “The Fibromyalgia Diet – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

  • July 24, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    I have always wanted to try a diet tailored to my illness. I have to eat lots of salt, so that sometimes makes avoiding processed food hard. I need to add more anti-inflammatory foods into my diet though.

    • July 26, 2015 at 8:55 am

      I need to add more of the anti-inflammatory ones, too. And avoid the nightshade vegetables! Thanks for commenting!

  • July 28, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Tumeric helps me the most. I try to eat mostly foods that are anti-inflammatory but I have been slacking lately and I can sure tell.

    • July 28, 2015 at 1:55 pm

      Me, too! I ate without regard to my illness this past weekend and yesterday was a major flare! I drank only water and ate very little. That is all I could take!

  • August 6, 2015 at 9:42 am

    Thank for sharing the “good & bad” foods in an easy to read & understand format. I need to add more anti-inflammatory foods, teas.

    • August 6, 2015 at 11:13 am

      I’m glad it is beneficial for you. I need to increase those foods and teas, too.

  • September 22, 2015 at 6:53 am

    This is the first time I’ve ever heard to avoid nightshade vegetables! Great list, dairy flares mine up like crazy x

    • November 13, 2017 at 2:49 am

      My Dr was surprised when I told him. I stopped eating them as soon as I read about it. Went to my sister’s for Passover and she made 3 amazing Assyrian dishes with lamb and Tomatoes. I hurt for two days after. I stay pretty close to an anti inflammatory diet. It has helped so much.

  • April 3, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Im confused about sweet potato being an anti inflammatory as it is a high oxalate food and high oxalate foods cause inflammation.

    • April 5, 2016 at 7:39 am

      Thank you for reading my posts, and addressing any concerns you may have. Foods high in oxalate does not lead to inflammation, according to my research on this subject. Foods high in oxalate lead to kidney stones. In fact, oxalate is good for the digestive tract as it helps culture good bacteria in the gut. To counteract foods high in oxalate, drinking plenty of water will help “flush” out this excess. Vegetables that contain high levels of oxalate include rhubarb, okra, leeks, spinach, beets, and Swiss chard. These facts were drawn from the website and the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

      Does this help?

  • May 5, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    I struggle with so many “diets” that would be good for me not only in regard to my illness (plural, as I have osteoarthritis in my back and knees, as well as fibro) but also diets that would be the best for me to lose weight, such as a low glycemic diet. I need to lose 40 pounds, so that I can minimize the stress on my joints, which worsens symptoms. I do not care for fish or eggs, but I love cheese and have managed to find a no fat greek yogurt that taste good. I am confused about the possible benefit you mentioned, from eating yogurt, because later on it says that dairy is bad in larger amounts. I use yogurt and cheeses as a big part of the protein I need, in my efforts to follow a low glycemic diet. Any suggestions? Can you explain the dairy discrepancy that I mentioned? This is my first time sharing with one of these boards. It is nice to hear other people that TRULY get what it is like to live in our bodies and minds!

    • May 6, 2016 at 1:10 pm

      Yogurt has a lot of good bacteria, the “probiotics”, for the digestive tract. As long as it is eaten in moderation, you should be okay with it. Dairy aggravates IBS symptoms, and many fibro thrivers suffer from IBS, which is why I said to avoid dairy, or eat in moderation. Thank you for clarifying it!

  • July 21, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    My morning coffee with cream is the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. I want to try this way of eating but I dont know if I can give up my coffee


    • July 25, 2016 at 9:56 am

      I understand your struggle completely, Sheri. I read an article last summer that talked about the state of the body when waking up. Despite how tired or groggy we may feel, the first two hours after waking up is the most energetic. Once those two hours have passed, your body starts to be depleted of energy and that’s the time to drink coffee. It said that drinking coffee when first getting out of bed is like putting gas into the tank when it’s already full. In light of that article, I now wait for two hours after getting out of bed to drink my coffee. It has made a difference. It gives me that burst of energy I need to get from mid-morning to lunch when I can get more energy from eating. In other words, don’t give up your coffee! haha Just wait a bit before drinking it. I hope this helps. Let me know how it goes. I’m going to email this to you as well. Have a beautiful day!

    • April 17, 2018 at 11:14 am

      Use non-dairy creamer.
      Like coffe mate. I use it

  • January 5, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    Thank you for posting this site. My daughter sent me the link and demanded I read it, which I did. I have suffered for over 10 years with what my PC Doc says is the worst case of Fibromyalgia he’s ever seen. I have several hospitalworthy flare ups per year and my diet is poor at best. I never have an appetite. After a recent hospital visit that was more than a little scary, I have become aware that I must make myself eat a proper diet. Fortunately, the good, bad, ugly of things to either avoid or gravitate towards are all doable for me. Most of the good things, I like. Most of the bad, I don’t with the exception of potatoes and French fries. At age 65 and having had excellent health until about 14 years ago, I realize that as long as I am stuck here (longevity runs in the family) quality of life issues are very important to me. Thanks again for the information you are providing.

    • January 13, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      Thank you for listening to your daughter and reading my article! You have a smart girl 😉 I understand having a situation that makes you re-evaluate your diet and take it more seriously. I have started being more strict on what I eat, and I am reaping those benefits. It’s not a flawless system, but it does eliminate a lot of the negatives. I’d like for you to join us in our fibro parenting group on Facebook – Each Friday I have a live video to answer and address any questions and concerns. Please join me on my facebook page at I look forward to connecting with you there!

    • January 13, 2017 at 3:04 pm

      Also, if you’re a man with fibromyalgia, please check out my friend’s page, Men with Fibromyalgia. The man that runs it is Norman and he’s a buddy of mine. He can help you out. He can be reached on his website at

  • January 7, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    Energy how? The first 2 hours getting out of bed I’m a zombie ran over by a tank..but I have more diagnoses than fibrosis maybe that’s why?

    • January 13, 2017 at 12:49 pm

      When there are multiple diagnoses, it can be difficult to tell which one is causing a certain symptom. But with energy, that can be many of the diagnoses causing it. Leaning towards the food that have natural energy boosters would be the first place to start. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  • January 7, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    Dhu not fibrosis; fibromyalgia I’ve got some autocorrelation going on here;-)

  • May 13, 2017 at 8:52 am

    Thanks for sharing this post Brandi! Something I would like to add to your post if your ok with is honey….i use honey in everything or maple syurp(real). But if you use honey you want to use REAL/RAW honey. There are many different reasons to do so, however the main reason is its NOT processed. It is better for you its even better for you if you get it from your local area. We are blueberry farmers…so I use the honey that my bee keepers get from pollinating our berries. But we also have cranberries, apples and a few other fruits and such in the area and those would be the honeys I would purchase from a local farmers market. Something to also keep in mind is different honeys have different flavours, I like the fruit honeys where my son likes the local wildflower honey. Sorry…got off the main point I just think its very important especially for people like me to know about honey! I LOVE my honey! And it has really helped with my health.

    • May 13, 2017 at 1:33 pm

      You are correct! The real honey is important. Thank you for the reminder! I updated the post.

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  • March 7, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    New to this Thank you for the list it’s very helpful

  • March 17, 2018 at 12:07 am

    Ive suffered with fibro for nearly 10 years. Been experimenting with diet for the last 3 or 4 years along with 2 friends who have also been diagnosed fibro. We found that while some things like sugar effect us all negatively, there are some differences. Nightshade doesn’t seem to affect me but it affects one of my friends badly. We are keeping journals and trying to match diet, exercise, stress to how we feel. All three of us have learned a lot and while I agree with the general gist of the article, i think it is important to track diet long haul and see what individual triggers are. Dairy seems to do badly for me, with the exception of cheese and yogurt which are fine (something in the way they are processed/fermented?). I think most of us will find some difference in how we respond, but this is a good starting point. But honestly on bad days sometimes nothing helps.

    • April 3, 2018 at 10:02 am

      You’re welcome!

  • April 12, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    I have fibro, neuropathy in my feet lower legs and hand, degenerative arthritis thru my body and cervical stenoisis in my neck,thyroid issuse plus other health issues. I just had the worst pain i have ever had in my life last month from a allergic reaction from a medication and lost 36 lbs in 2 weeks and now also being taken off a med thats suppose to help with fibro but also allergic. I am trying to figure out which diet plan to follow the fibro or neuropathy or arthur one because one says yes on this no on this and so on. I am a widow of 10 years and about to turn 50. I dont know which non antiflamtory diet to go on. Some of the anitflamtory food doesnt like my stomach because of 30 or so years of GERD.


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