Managing CFS Through Nutrition
A diet full of good nutrition can improve anyone’s health. With CFS, while there is no cure for the disease, eating a balanced diet may lessen the symptoms.
When illness strikes, the last thing you think about is what you eat. But, the foods you put into your body play a significant role in how you feel. Remember what happens when you eat a candy bar to gain a burst of energy?
There is no real secret about a balanced diet. It would include all of the food groups (only good fats). Let’s begin with protein.
Protein is essential to the body for repair, growth and function. Proteins wear many hats in the human body. They catalyze reactions as enzymes, stimulate processes as hormones and prevent illness as antibodies. Protein is used to build muscle tissue. One of the symptoms of CFS is muscle soreness and joint pain. Increasing your intake of the right kinds of protein may help alleviate these symptoms.
What is the right kind of protein? In that category would be lean meats, fish, poultry and dairy. Fatty meats can actually make the situation worse. They are filled with saturated fats and extra calories that you don’t need.
Carbohydrates are another food group that is important in managing the symptoms of CFS. Try to consume more whole grains, beans and vegetables. Most of the literature now does stress the downside of eating refined white flour products and too much sugar.
Eating these types of foods has many benefits. First, they release energy slowly throughout the day so that your blood sugar doesn’t spike. In turn, your energy level is stable. This is a big boost when dealing with this disease. Also eating certain carbs like the ones mentioned above can increase serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is the key to regulating sleep and your overall sense of well-being.
Now, let’s look at the fruits and vegetables. Eat a variety of berries, apples, citrus fruits, peppers, green veggies, carrots and allyl veggies (garlic, onions, and chives). These foods contain substances called antioxidants. Antioxidants are responsible for fighting inflammation and neutralizing free radicals in the body that can lead to diseases like cancer. For the CFS sufferer, eating these types of vegetables are good for pain management.
One of the best is peppers. They contain a substance called capsaicin. It is what makes a hot pepper “hot.” It helps ease joint pain.
Oils need to be consumed in small but necessary amounts. Fats in the body are used as cushioning and barrier substances in cell membranes. The key is to consume good ones. Fish oil provides omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce inflammation. Olive and canola oil are also good for the heart and circulatory function as good fat raises HDL levels and prevents the build-up of plaques.
While there is no cure for CFS, symptoms may be lessened with a change in the foods that you eat. Strive for a balanced diet. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new foods to get the health benefits that you need.