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How Does Your Diet Affect Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms?

Chocolate and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

For some time, certain health care providers were warning their patients to stay away from chocolate if they suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, believing that the sugar and caffeine would be bringing their energy levels up too much only to have them drop again. However, a lot of recent studies have suggested that perhaps this advice is wrong.

A study conducted by a team of researchers at  Hull York Medical School led by leader Professor Steve Atkin  created two groups of patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  The patients were asked to eat chocolate ever day. One group was given dark chocolate with high amounts of cocoa, the other patients were given white bars dyed to appear like dark chocolate.  The study showed that those who were getting their daily cocoa felt less tired and had less trouble with muscle pain and weakness by, among other things, boosting the levels of serotonin, which is woefully low for many Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients.

In an separate study, a team of researchers lead by Dr. Carl Keen  in Boston, had patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome drink cocoa every day.  One group was given a richer cocoa higher in flavonoids while the other group was given a low 'dose' cocoa.  When patients were drinking the cocoa with high amounts of flavonoids  they reported significant improvement, with one of the volunteers even returning to work after a six month long absence.

While doctors caution patients that this research is still in its very early stages and that they are not yet willing to take any conclusive stand, studies like these and others are showing that chocolate, particularly darker chocolate or chocolate with a lot of cocoa powder, can have a number of positive health benefits including lowering blood pressure, promoting good blood flow and helping to prevent clogging of the arteries, and offers a mental boost for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients to help lessen the 'brain fog' many patients suffer from.  Chocolate can also aid relaxation, reduce pain, and is a powerful antioxidant.  So, while the verdict may be out with some health care professionals many researchers, and  many patients, are giving chocolate the green light.

A Proper Diet for People With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

A well balanced diet and proper nutrition is vital for everyone to maintain proper health.  This is even more so the case for patients suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  Since dealing with the multiple symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome poses several challenges to patients, there are some important and simple steps that can be taken to help maintain better health and minimize some of the symptoms.  And since those who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are often unable to benefit from a lot of exercise, maintaining a healthy diet is even more important.

When planning meals, keep these guidelines in mind as well as any other dietary considerations you may need to follow if there are other health issues involved:


* Eat whole, fresh foods and avoid junk food as much as possible.  Junk food offers very little, or no nutritional value and your body needs healthy fresh food to aid the healing and coping process

* Spread your meals out through out the day so that you are eating something at least once every three hours or so.  This will help to keep your blood sugar balanced for maximum energy and will help to keep digestive problems to a minimum.

* Include energy boosting foods in your diet including healthy proteins, whole food carbohydrates, and healthy fats.  Some great choices are:
 whole grains
 fish (especially those high in omega 3 fatty acids)
 garlic (or garlic supplements to help boost the immunes system)
 lean red meat 
 chicken breasts (without the skin)
 olive oil (can be used for cooking or in salad dressing)

In addition to eating a healthy, well balanced diet for boosting energy and promoting good health, you also want to incorporate a good multi-vitamin.  And you may want to add garlic and omega 3 supplements, such as fish oil capsules to your nutrition plan to help give you a more well rounded diet. However, use caution if you are taking blood thinners and seek your doctors advice before beginning any supplements. 

While a healthy diet may not cure Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, it certainly can help improve your overall health and help you to manage the symptoms to get you on the road to recovery.

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