While there are a variety of treatments for endometriosis—ranging from medications to surgery—you shouldn't discount lifestyle changes. We know that lifestyle changes, including what you eat and how much physical activity you get, affect other estrogen-dependent conditions, such as menstruation, fibroids and menopausal symptoms.
Dietary fat influences your body's production of prostaglandins, chemicals that stimulate uterine contractions and affect ovarian functioning. It's thought that high levels of prostaglandins could lead to higher production of estrogen, which could influence the growth of endometrial tissue. The more fat in your diet, the more estrogen your body produces. This also occurs if you're overweight, and you're more likely to be overweight if you follow a diet high in red meat and low in fruits and vegetables.
FOODS TO AVOID:
- Highly processed foods full of additives
- Caffeine, refined sugars, sweeteners, fizzy drinks (including diet)
FOODS TO EAT:
- Freshness. Buy the freshest food you can find and eat it while it’s fresh. Cook with fresh foods, but also eat some raw vegetables and fruit every day. To minimize exposure to pesticides, eat organically grown produce whenever possible.
- Variety. Eat a wide variety of foods every day. Make it fun to try new dishes on weekends and expand your horizons.
Your daily diet should provide 75 grams of good quality protein from sources like include nuts, seeds, and legumes (such as beans), two portions of red or orange vegetables, two green leafy vegetables, and two fruits, including berries, which are high in antioxidants.
- Vegetables with B vitamins. A healthy liver with a plentiful supply of B vitamins can degrade estradiol to estriol. Estriol is the form in which estrogen can be bound to fiber and excreted. The diet needs to have sufficient fiber and B vitamins from green vegetables to help the body deal with the constant breakdown of circulating estrogens. Green, leafy vegetables can also help the nervous and immune systems, and magnesium relaxes smooth muscles found in the intestines and uterus. The best vegetables: those in the cruciferous family, such as cabbage, sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, turnips, radishes, horseradish, and watercress.
- Iron-rich foods. With endometriosis you may experience heavy bleeding, so replacing lost iron is important. Two types of iron are available in the foods we eat, heme iron from protein sources and non-heme iron from plant sources. Non-heme iron is available in green, leafy vegetables, beetroot, dried apricots (watch out as they contain yeast), and plain chocolate. Heme iron comes from eggs, and fish.
- Omega fatty acids. Include 1 tablespoon of cold-pressed vegetable oil in your meals daily. Avoid trans fats, and keep saturated fats low. Sources of omega fatty acids include oily fish such as wild Alaskan salmon and Pacific halibut, and tree nuts, seeds, and extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil.
-Fiber. Get 30 grams of fiber from fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains including rye, oats, rice, corn, millet, and buckwheat to keep your intestinal tract healthy and promote the excretion of excess estrogens.
- Water. Drink four to six 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Avoid caffeine, refined sugars, sweeteners, soda (including diet), and alcohol when struggling with endometriosis or trying to get pregnant.
What About Gluten?
Eating a wheat-free diet seems to help many women with endometriosis symptoms that come to me. Exclude wheat for one month to see if it makes a difference to your abdominal pains at periods and ovulation. You should also exclude dairy foods if you have excess mucus problems and i advice to avoid it in general.
Another food you may want to skip is citrus fruit, like grapefruit and oranges — they can irritate your stomach and upset the way in which estrogen is excreted by the body. When excluding foods from your diet, make sure to eat alternatives so you avoid any nutrient deficiencies.
“If a food is upsetting digestion and causing an immune system response, then that food should be avoided,” Let food be your medicine.
Do you have Endometriosis? Do you have any advice or ocmments you would like to make? Please comment below.