Chocolate and Fibromyalgia – Does It Matter?

BY L.B. JACKS

For some people, chocolate is a huge part of how they cope with their daily life. They eat chocolate in order to cope with their feelings; women will eat it to stay calm during their menstrual cycle. Either way, it’s a big deal to many of us.

That being said, it’s important to take a good look at chocolate when it comes to fibromyalgia. Does it have an effect on it? Does it make it better, or does it make it worse? There are actually a lot of opinions on both sides of the debate, so it really is vital that we look at it when we talk about fibromyalgia and diet.

When Chocolate is Good for Fibromyalgia

There are two big words that you should think about when it comes to when chocolate is good for your fibromyalgia: dark chocolate. We’ve all heard, at one time or another, that dark chocolate is good for you in a number of ways. Did you know that many of those general health benefits that dark chocolate has can be really good for those of us struggling with fibromyalgia? It’s true. Here are some of the things that having dark chocolate a couple times a week can do to help reduce your fibromyalgia symptoms.

– Dark chocolate helps to provide your body with antioxidants, which can play a significant role in helping your body to function correctly. This helps to reduce pain and it can help you to feel less fatigued.

– Dark chocolate has a number of different nutrients in it that help to boost our mental health in a positive way. It provides us with more serotonin, which is the happiness hormone. It helps give us more endorphins, as well, which also helps with mood and gives us a lot more energy to get through the day with.

– Speaking of those endorphins, they have another benefit as well – it helps your immune system to be better at fighting off diseases. And, as someone who has fibromyalgia, you want the best immune system that you can get. For us, coming down with an illness is relatively common, so it’s good to try and give the immune system that boost.

– It just tastes good! When we’re dealing with a chronic illness like fibromyalgia, we may be on a specialized diet. And when we’re on that diet, we’re likely going to get sick of eating healthy all of the time. Our body may crave sugar. What better way to get the craving under control than to eat a sweet that also helps your body do the things that it needs to do in order to keep you healthy and strong.

When Chocolate is Not So Good for Fibromyalgia

Of course, it’s not all sunshine and roses when it comes to chocolate. If you aren’t careful with home much you are eating and/or you have other complications, chocolate may not be the best thing for you to be eating when you have fibromyalgia. Here are a few of the things that you want to make sure that you look out for and are aware of when it comes to eating chocolate.

– You want to make sure that you’re eating dark chocolate. Milk chocolate and white chocolate are not going to provide the same sorts of benefits, and they actually may make some of your symptoms worse if you eat too much (especially because of the sugar contained in it).

– Chocolate contains caffeine. As we’ve talked about in other articles, caffeine can end up doing you a lot more harm than good, because it keeps you up at night. You’re already having sleeping problems because of the pain that you’re in, so you want to make sure that you are careful with it. Eat it early in the day and regulate how much that you are eating when you eat it.

– Chocolate isn’t necessarily a healthy thing, as it contains extra calories and some things that aren’t so good (like we mentioned above, sugar is one of those things). Those extra calories, especially if you’re eating them on a regular basis, can make it so that you are gaining weight. Gaining weight means that you’re putting more stress on your body, thus causing the pain to become worse and making it harder for you to sleep at night and such. So, be careful with how much you eat and you won’t have to worry about it.

– Milk and dairy sometimes cause issues when it comes to fibromyalgia, and many processed chocolates have some sort of dairy in them, possibly causing some of those issues to flare up and making it hard for you to process the foods that you are eating. Of course, this is especially true when it comes to milk and white chocolate – dark chocolate is a bit better for you, as we said, and doesn’t have as much dairy content as the other two types.

If this is the case, then what do you want to look for when it comes to chocolate? You want dark chocolate that has at least 60{7e42071b14ee2e8f2fc2ef24c20bb0ab305ccdb09066d1e679a9e59b9a43d223} cacao in it – but the more you can get, the better. Just remember, it’s going to be more bitter because there will be less sugar. Organic dark chocolate is also best, because you can be sure that there’s less of the processed items in there, and even when there is sugar, it’s going to be natural and organic as well. Read your labels and keep track of exactly what you’re eating, no matter what type of food you are eating.

So, as you can tell, it’s all about what you’re eating, how much you’re eating, and when you’re eating it. Chocolate can be great if you’re careful with it, but it can also end up causing a lot of other issues. So don’t be afraid to enjoy that candy bar, but don’t end up sitting down to eat five or six of them at a time, either.

Further reading

Smart Tips for Fibromyalgia: www.sharecare.com/health/fibromyalgia/health-guide/fibro-smart-tips-guide/healthy-snacks-boost-energy-ease-pain

Fibromyalgia and Chocolate: www.fibromyalgia-symptoms.org/chocolate.html

Dark Chocolate for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: chronicfatigue.about.com/b/2010/05/19/dark-chocolate-for-fibromyalgia-chronic-fatigue-syndrome.htm

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