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Polymyositis Diet

By Martin Hughes

Polymyositis is a condition involving long-term muscle inflammation and progressive muscle weakness. It usually develops in people between the ages of 31 and 60 and is extremely rare in individuals under the age of 18. Certain dietary practices may be helpful in treating your polymyositis, although it is always wise to check with your family physician first.

About Polymyositis

Although polymyositis can affect any skeletal muscle in your body, it most commonly affects muscles that are near your trunk or torso, states Johns Hopkins Medicine. The most common signs and symptoms associated with polymyositis include weakness in your core muscles, fatigue, joint pain or discomfort, impaired ability to perform certain activities of daily living, swallowing problems and the slow, yet progressive development of muscle weakness during the span of several months. Polymyositis has no known cure, but its symptoms are often treatable.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Some health practitioners think an anti-inflammatory diet may be one of the most beneficial dietary strategies in treating your polymyositis. According to Phyllis A. Balch, a certified nutritional consultant and author of "Prescription for Nutritional Healing," an anti-inflammatory diet involves eliminating certain foods from your diet, including soft drinks, sugar, white flour products, junk foods and foods containing significant amounts of omega-6 fatty acids. Beneficial dietary foods may include blueberries, spinach, strawberries, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, pineapple and papaya. A larger body of scientific research evidence is needed, however, to examine the efficacy of these foods for this health purpose.

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Role of Spinach

Spinach may be a useful food in treating your polymyositis. Spinach is an excellent source of flavonoids, and flavonoids have anti-inflammatory properties, the Linus Pauling Institute reports. Spinach also contains significant amounts of vitamins A, C, E and K, phosphorus, manganese, folate and magnesium. According to nutritionist George Mateljan, author of "The World's Healthiest Foods," it has traditionally been used to treat vision problems, atherosclerosis, heart disease associated with diabetes and age-related brain function decline. It also may possess anticancer action. But more research is needed to confirm these potential benefits.

Considerations

Polymyositis can lead to several serious health complications if it is not treated in a timely and appropriate manner. These include breathing and swallowing problems, aspiration pneumonia and calcium deposits in your skin or muscles. To better understand the role of diet and nutrition in treating your polymyositis -- including the potential risks, benefits and limitations of nutritional therapy -- consult a health care professional who specializes in clinical nutrition.

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