Polymyalgia Rheumatica Diet: Foods to Eat and Foods To Avoid

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is one of those diseases in that diet is very important. Because diet could improve symptoms or make them worse. So a person with PMR must find out what the polymyalgia rheumatica diet is all about. And also follows this diet plan strictly.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica Diet

Ever heard of autoimmune diseases? Well, if you have then you would know that they are usually serious cases. That’s because in autoimmune disease there is no germ or bacteria-fighting against your immune system. It’s your body that fights against your body. Here’s the thing, when your body identifies foreign bodies it releases antibodies that would find against them. But in autoimmune diseases, the cells of your body are identified as foreign substances. And that way antibodies are released to fight against your body. An example of an autoimmune disease is polymyalgia rheumatica. Well, one way that has been identified to manage polymyalgia rheumatica is through diet. With a polymyalgia rheumatica diet you would be able to manage the condition. 

The thing with many autoimmune diseases is that there is no cure. Most times they can only be managed. And this applies to polymyalgia rheumatica as well. Polymyalgia rheumatica is an inflammatory condition. In this condition, there would be pain and stiffness in the joint. The primary treatment for this condition is corticosteroids. This treatment though is basically for management and to help improve symptoms. But research has also proven that when patients eat certain foods it helps out a lot. That’s why today we will be having a look at both foods to eat and foods to avoid.

What is Polymyalgia Rheumatica?

Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) is a disease condition that occurs in older adults. It is an inflammatory disorder. PMR causes stiffness and also aching of joints. This is a condition that’s more common among women than men. It’s most common among Caucasians. Normally it would last for about one to five years.

The exact cause of polymyalgia rheumatica is not known. It’s believed to be an autoimmune disease. In this disease, the body would attack its connective tissue. Well, it’s believed that there are genetic and environmental factors associated with this condition. Also, since people below 50 don’t usually get this disease condition it is believed it could also be a result of aging.

There are signs and symptoms associated with this disease condition. Sometimes the symptoms would start slowly while for some it would start suddenly. Usually, there’s a pain in the buttocks, hips, thighs, neck, arms, and shoulders. Other symptoms of PMR include fatigue, weight loss, fever, and poor appetite.

PMR is not a lifetime disease. After some time it would go away on its own. But it could take as long as 5 years. With good nutrition, rest, and also medication it can be well managed.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica Diet

Eating healthy foods is very important for the immune system. For people with PMR, it’s even more important. That’s because some foods can help alleviate symptoms. While some foods would aggravate the symptoms. That’s why it’s very important to take a look at the PMR diet if you have PMR.

For some people with PMR, there are other underlying conditions. And these other conditions might have different food requirements. So with that, the food recommendation might not work as expected. But even with that, it’s still important that you eat good foods. Especially foods with protein, fibers, and healthful fats.

Foods to Eat

1. Anti-inflammatory foods

Including foods with anti-inflammatory properties would be brilliant. Some foods with this property are:

  • Fatty fish 
  • Almonds 
  • Berries 
  • Olive oil
  • Tomatoes 
  • Green leafy vegetables 

2. Calcium and Vitamin D

These are two very important nutrients that must be present in a polymyalgia rheumatica diet. Calcium is a very important component of the bone. So with enough calcium, the health of your bone can be guaranteed. Vitamin D is also very important in the absorption of calcium.

Products high in Calcium:

  • Dairy products
  • Okra 
  • Salmon 
  • Soybeans 
  • Spinach 
  • Sardines 
  • Product high in Vitamin D 
  • Egg yolk 
  • Cheese 
  • Fatty fish 
  • Mushrooms 

3. Good fats

Fat is one of the macronutrients. And it’s very important in our diet. But there are different kinds of fats. Some are good fats while some are bad fats. Bad fats such as trans-fats should be avoided.

Omega 3 fatty acids are known to have anti-inflammatory properties. And this would help out with PMR since it’s an inflammatory disease. Here’s a list of some foods high in omega 3.

4. Water

One good tool in combating inflammation is hydration. It’s expected that you drink about 2-3 liters of water a day. The best option is to get a reusable bottle. By using that bottle you would be able to track how much water you’ve taken. If you get tired of drinking water then add something to give it taste. You could squeeze the lemon, orange, or even lime into your water. 

Foods to Avoid

If you have PMR keeping track of what you eat is very important. Processed food is a no-no. that’s because processed food increases inflammation. And that would worsen the case of a PMR patient. At the same time, processed food would make a person gain weight. When there’s weight gain then there’s more pressure on your muscles and joints. Also, you should avoid excess sugar intake.

These are some foods that would increase inflammation.

  • Fried foods
  • Processed meats like hotdogs
  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Sugary drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Margarine
  • Red meat
  • Foods with added sugar


For patients with PMR exercise is very important. Physical activity would help improve bone health and also reduce inflammation. As for the intensity of exercise, it would depend on age and also overall health.

You could do light forms of exercise such as household chores. Activities like walking, cycling, and even swimming would also help out a lot. Cardio exercises help out with losing weight. With that, there is a lesser load on your muscles and joints. This helps improve overall health.

Strenuous activities like lifting weights are also good. But it could cause injury. So before trying weightlifting talk to your doctor. Your doctor would be able to tell you if you’re in a good position to lift weights.
Well, exercises sure go a long way in improving the health of a PMR patient. But one thing you must not forget to stick to is the polymyalgia rheumatica diet.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica Diet

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