Polymyalgia rheumatica diet: Foods to eat and avoid

Polymyalgia rheumatica is an inflammatory condition that causes pain and stiffness around the joints. The primary treatment is usually corticosteroids, but diet can also have a direct impact on symptoms.

This article will explain how a person’s diet influences the symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR), as well as which foods people with PMR should eat and which they should avoid.

It is unclear what causes PMR, and there is currently no cure. Doctors usually prescribe a corticosteroid drug called prednisolone to manage symptoms.

It is also possible to relieve symptoms by following a PMR diet.

The PMR diet

Sliced okra.
Okra is high in calcium, which can make it a useful part of a PMR diet.

Eating a varied, healthful diet is particularly important for people with PMR, as many unhealthful foods can make symptoms worse.

Following a PMR-friendly diet may reduce symptoms and might also help counteract some of the side effects that some people develop as a result of prolonged use of corticosteroids.

Side effects include:

weight gain

diabetes

high blood pressure

osteoporosis

bruising

difficulty sleeping

Some people with PMR may have other health conditions and dietary requirements, so not all food recommendations will work for everyone. However, it is always a good idea to follow a diet that contains foods from all the food groups, including protein, healthful fats, and fiber.

More specific advice on nutrients for people with PMR include the following:

Calcium and vitamin D

Calcium is an essential nutrient for maintaining good bone health, while vitamin D supports the absorption of calcium into the body. It is particularly important that people with PMR include these in their diet, as corticosteroids can cause bone loss with prolonged use.

Some dairy products, such as milk and cheese, are good sources of calcium. Non-dairy foods that are high in calcium include:

soybeans

okra

kale

spinach

sardines

salmon

Good sources of vitamin D include:

cheese

fatty fish, such as mackerel or tuna

egg yolk

mushrooms

products fortified with vitamin D, such as certain cereals or bread

If a person is unable to include these foods in their diet, they can take calcium and vitamin D supplements.

Healthful or good fats

Fats are an essential nutrient. People should avoid some types of fats, such as trans-fats, but many good fats exist, and people with PMR should include them in a balanced diet.

Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that may help to reduce symptoms of PMR Foods that contain high amounts of omega-3 include:

fish oils, such as cod liver oil or salmon oil

mackerel

sardines

eggs

flaxseeds

flax milk

chia seeds

walnuts

Anti-inflammatory foods

Many foods have anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming these foods as part of a balanced diet may also help to reduce the symptoms of PMR.

tomatoes

fatty fish

berries

almonds

green leafy vegetables

olive oil

Polymyalgia rheumatica: What you need to knowPolymyalgia rheumatica: What you need to know
Learn more about polymyalgia rheumatica, a disease that affects the lining of the joints or around the joints.
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fried foods should be avoided by people with pmr
Fried foods should be avoided by people with PMR.

Some foods are linked to increased levels of inflammation. People with PMR should avoid these foods to prevent making symptoms worse.

Foods linked to increased inflammation include:

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