Foods you should avoid with polymyalgia rheumatica

foods you should avoid with polymyalgia rheumatica
foods you should avoid with polymyalgia rheumatica

The foods that you should avoid with polymyalgia rheumatica


There are lots of persons around the globe affected by polymyalgia rheumatica.  Most times, when people are affected by one sickness or the other, it automatically affects their diet.

Certain foods should be avoided while some other foods should be consistently consumed. The foods you should avoid could trigger your symptoms and make you feel worse. This is why there are foods that you should avoid with polymyalgia rheumatica.

What is polymyalgia rheumatica

Polymyalgia rheumatica is an inflammatory disorder that is responsible for pain and stiffness in the muscles especially around the neck, shoulders, hips, and upper arms. This pain is usually discomforting and mostly occurs in elderly people age 50 and above.

The development of polymyalgia rheumatica is triggered by certain environmental factors, diet, and genetic factors. Although its cause is unknown, the way our immune system responds to the viruses that come in contact with our body may trigger the disorder.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatica, the first telltale symptom you will experience is severe stiffness around your muscles. This pain impedes movement and stops you from carrying out activities with ease.

If you have noticed recently, it’s hard to climb stairs, lift some part of your body, get out of bed, or even run.

The joint pain associated with this disorder is entirely different from the pain you feel after an intense workout. Rather, the pain is widespread and as time goes on, it becomes worse.


foods you should avoid with polymyalgia rheumatica
foods you should avoid with polymyalgia rheumatica


The most effective treatment for polymyalgia rheumatica is corticosteroids. But, if care is not taken, it might become ineffective and pose severe health risks.

Even food consumption may directly influence the symptoms associated with this disorder by either suppressing or triggering them.

So, to be on the safer side without complicating the condition, we advise that you stay away from some foods if you have these symptoms.

This article covers extensively, the best foods to consume with this disorder, the foods you should avoid, and how to eat healthy with the disorder.

What foods are safe with Polymyalgia Rheumatica?

When food consumption is associated with this disorder, it is referred to as PMR (polymyalgia rheumatica) diet. The foods in this diet are essential for suppressing your symptoms and ensuring your health is brought back to perfection.

Note that if these foods are already your most consumed foods, you should do well by consuming them more. For instance, if avocado as your favorite is being consumed twice a week, you should start consuming it at least four times a week. Avocado contains healthy fats that can reduce the effects of this disorder.

The following three categories of foods are the safest foods for people with polymyalgia rheumatica.


  1. Healthy or Good Fats

While there are some fats that are really bad for our health, there are good ones. No PMR diet is complete without one or two healthy fats.

Healthy fats are nutrients that play a good role in reducing pain around your joints and also ensuring that your bones are strong again.

Normally elder people are said to have weaker bones, but consuming healthy fats every weak can ensure your bones become stronger.

Healthy fats are usually rich in omega-3 and they include sardines, flax milk, avocados, seeds (pumpkin, flax, and chia seeds), fish oils (salmon, herring, or cod liver oil), and eggs.

foods you should avoid with polymyalgia rheumatica
  1. Calcium and Vitamin D

We all know that calcium is great for what? Strong bones!!

Calcium is essential for promoting bone health either by keeping it strong or by reducing the risk of pain.

Vitamin D is another great nutrient that ensures that calcium is adequately absorbed into the bloodstream or human body.

Calcium and Vitamin D go hand in hand. Each of these nutrients is individually beneficial but, it’s more beneficial when they are both combined.

Including calcium and vitamin D in your diet is one of the best things to do as a PMR patient.

Dairy products and non-dairy products are suitable for keeping your bones in good health. The best dairy products include cheese and milk while the best non-dairy products include sardines, soya beans, spinach.

Other calcium and vitamin D sources include mushrooms, egg yolk, liver.

  1. Anti-inflammatory Foods

Anti-inflammatory foods help to reduce the risk of inflammation and as a result, it positively affects PMR and its symptoms. There are thousands of foods that possess anti-inflammatory properties and it is a great idea to include them in your diet.

Anti-inflammatory foods that can be added to your diet to reduce the symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica include tomatoes, fatty fish, berries, almonds, olive oil, green leafy vegetables.

These foods also have major impacts on bone health.

foods you should avoid with polymyalgia rheumatica
foods you should avoid with polymyalgia rheumatica

What foods should be avoided with Polymyalgia Rheumatica?

Non-anti-inflammatory foods can increase inflammation and make you more susceptible to this disease. Plus, such foods are responsible for triggering polymyalgia rheumatica symptoms.

These categories of foods should be strictly avoided by anyone affected by this disorder.

  1. Low-fiber Starches

One of the foods that increase inflammation is refined starches. This is because their glycemic index is very high which can negatively affect blood sugar levels- resulting in inflammation.

Instead of cereals with a high glycemic index, take bran flakes or oatmeal.

Also, strictly avoid the consumption of instant rice and white bread. You could replace these foods with healthier whole-grain equivalents.

Generally, avoid foods with a high glycemic index like potatoes and fries, dried fruits like dates and cranberries, cakes, watermelon, sugary soft drinks, etc.

  1. High-fat meats and Dairy Products

Another major food culprit that triggers inflammation is saturated fats. These foods are mostly present in high-fat meats and some dairy products. Many of these foods may be your favorites but, it is best to totally avoid them if you want to reduce the impact of this disorder in your body.

High-fat dairy products include butter, whole milk, cream for coffee, full-fat cheese, whole milk Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, etc.

High-fat meat includes hot dogs, pork, beef fat, bacon, etc.

Healthy foods that serve as substitutes for high-fat meat include salmons, herring, and mackerel. These substitutes are rich in healthy fats and omega-3 which can promote bone health and reduce inflammation.

Also, for high-fat dairy products, substitute with skim milk, nonfat or low-fat yogurt.

foods you should avoid with polymyalgia rheumatica
foods you should avoid with polymyalgia rheumatica
  1. Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil

The production of this kind of vegetable oil results in the production of trans fat. Hence, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil is a source of trans fat.

Trans fat increases bad cholesterol or LDL in the body while reducing the good cholesterol, HDL. And, this could further lead to inflammation and affect bone health.

Therefore, it is better to avoid foods like cookies, crackers, pizza dough, and other commercial items that are baked.

Instead, you could eat more whole foods like beans, fish, nuts. Also, swap for corn oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, or olive oil when preparing meals.

How to eat healthy with Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Nobody likes to miss out on all their favorite foods. It is not easy to want to change your diet, but it can be one of the best steps to improving your condition.

To get started on “how to eat healthy with polymyalgia rheumatica”? follow the tips below.

  1. Plan out your meals for every week and if you cannot do this alone, seek assistance from your doctor or family members. You need to stay on track.
  2. Consistency is king. Instead of rushing and eventually missing out, take your time.
  3. Try cooking in different ways, with different healthy substitutes. Constantly finding healthy ways to spice up your diet will help you adjust, love, and stay on track.
  4. Stock your kitchen shelves and cabinet with the right kinds of foods.
  5. Always try to seek help either from friends or family.


We cannot overemphasize the importance of maintaining a healthy diet if you are affected with polymyalgia rheumatica. The symptoms accompanied by this disorder include stiffness and pain in not just your neck, but in your hips, shoulders, and upper arms.

Asides from taking corticosteroids, eating a well-balanced and healthy diet can suppress your symptoms.

There are foods you should avoid with this disorder and they include high-fat meats and dairy products, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, and low-fiber starches. These foods increase inflammation which makes your condition worse.

There are also foods that you should consume more and they include anti-inflammatory foods, healthy fats, foods rich in calcium, and vitamin D.

By following the tips in this article, you are definitely going to be restored back to a perfect health condition.