Today we’re going to discuss the five most important diets in Endometriosis cases. As you know, Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory condition that results in tissue growing in other parts of the body, most commonly within the pelvis. This can cause painful periods, exhaustion, bloating, back pain, and can result in fertility problems. Check our article about: What are the symptoms and how to test for Endometriosis?
There are different stages or grades of Endometriosis, but altering your diet can help in reducing symptoms and pain. So What are the best Diet Strategies to overcome Endometriosis?
“Good” Fat and “Bad” Fat:
Firstly, you need to focus on Fats. As Endometriosis is an inflammatory disorder, it’s important to focus on consuming foods which can reduce inflammation. I’m sure you’ve heard about “good” fats and “bad” fats. Well, bad fats promote inflammation and good fats reduce it. So you need to check your Endometriosis diet for good fats. For example, a fat found in processed foods such as fried food, pastries, cakes, biscuits, and refined oils is “bad” fat. They are produced through high levels of processing and induce an inflammatory response in your body. Check here some processed foods that are healthy.
Palmitic acid is another fat that has also been linked to increased rates of Endometriosis. This fat is found mostly in red meat and again heightens the inflammatory response in your body. So, a practical strategy would be to replace some of your red meat intake with vegetable sources of protein such as lentils, chickpeas or tofu.
Omega-3 fats: on the other hand, are anti-inflammatory fat which can decrease Endometriosis inflammation. A study by researchers from Harvard University found: that women who ate high levels of omega 3 rich foods have reduced period pain. So adding fish, as well as nuts and seeds on your Endometriosis diet increase the portion of your anti-inflammatory fat.
The second strategy is to boost your intake of Antioxidants. Women with Endometriosis have an increased number of highly reactive substances in their body, known as free radicals. These little monsters cause something known as “oxidative stress“, which really just means they enhance inflammation. Antioxidants can reduce the number of free radicals by binding with them to create a more stable form. This reduces the amount of oxidative stress and therefore reduces inflammation in those with Endometriosis.
One study researched the effects of antioxidants, using vitamin E and C supplements on diets in endometriosis cases decrease by 43% period pain and back pain compared to 0% from the group without supplementation. Not only this, but three different inflammatory markers were found to be significantly lower in those taking the antioxidant supplement compared to those without supplementation. Getting your antioxidants from food will ensure that you’re getting all of the other key nutrients that you need from these healthy foods too. For example, Vitamin C is found in oranges, strawberries, spinach, broccoli, mangoes, and kiwifruit, while Vitamin E is found in avocados, nuts, seeds, and grain.
The third strategy is Fiber. Fiber can help excrete estrogen out of the body through a process known as “barrier protection” in which fiber surrounds substances and takes them on a journey outside the body before they can be absorbed. You may be thinking, ‘but I don’t want my hormones gone, do I’? Excess estrogen in the body can worsen the effects of Endometriosis by promoting inflammation. Along with this, too much estrogen increase Endometriosis cell growth and numbers, meaning larger cells and more of them. So, diets in Endometriosis with at least 25 grams of fiber per day from foods like fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and grains reduce Excess estrogen.
Glycemic Index foods :
The fourth one is to focus on choosing low Glycemic Index foods. High GI foods enhance the insulin response which may lead to it increasing the numbers of Endometriosis cells. So, put down the white bread and potatoes and choose low GI foods like sweet potato, pasta, oats, and barley.
Finally, strategy number five is to reduce your intake of Pesticides. A diet rich in fruit and vegetables is a good idea, as they are rich in antioxidants and high in fiber. However, exposure to pesticides and dioxins found on fruit and vegetables have been positively associated with Endometriosis and its symptoms. This is probably due to certain pesticides interfering with hormonal pathways and contributing to oxidative stress. So, if you’ve got Endo, or have a high risk of developing it, you may wish to consider trying organic produce on your diet, which would remove the risk of pesticides worsening your symptoms while still getting all the benefits of eating fruit and vegetables.
In conclusion, for healthy diets in Endometriosis cases: Ensure that you’re eating lots of good fats such as fish and nuts, and limit your intake of bad fats from biscuits and fried foods. Check that your diet is rich in antioxidants by eating a diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Make sure that you’re eating at least 25 grams of fiber each day. Choose low GI foods by swapping white bread with dense wholegrain bread or swapping sugary breakfast cereals for oats. Reduce your intake of pesticides by investing in organic fruits and vegetable.