An endometriosis diet can be an integral part of managing the symptoms and pain caused by this disease. By making dietary changes women with endometriosis are able to provide their bodies with the proper nutrients needed to control the causes of endometrial flare ups and the accompanying symptoms. |
Endometriosis is a disease that has no diagnosed cause but the symptoms it causes are very real. The fact is that in women with endometriosis the symptoms and pain can be very debilitating. The endometrial tissue growing in the abdominal cavity can cause a number of health problems including inflammation, scarring, bleeding and infertility.
The aim of an endometriosis diet is twofold; one is to increase the overall health and immunity of the woman suffering from endometriosis and the second is to help limit the amount of estrogen and prostaglandins in her body.
Research has shown that women with healthy immune systems generally do not suffer from endometriosis. It is also known that endometrial cell growth is driven by estrogen and prostaglandins are thought to stimulate the body’s production of estrogen. Following a healthy endometriosis diet is a natural way to manage these issues and help with the painful symptoms that include cramps, inflammation, and bloating.
A woman’s body is a complex living machine that is sensitive to the types of food she eats. In many cases certain food types can exacerbate an existing health problem while at the same time other food types can help mitigate or manage that same issue. With that in mind let’s take a look at the two biggest culprits in the fight against endometriosis; estrogen and prostaglandins.
Avoiding foods that are high in saturated, mono-saturated and Trans fats is the first step to reducing the amount of estrogen stimulating “bad” prostaglandins present in the body. Foods that are high in these types of dangerous fats include red meat, high fat dairy products and other products derived from animal fat such as lard. Instead opt for foods that are high in essential Omega-3 fatty acids such as fish oils, walnut oil, flax seeds/oil and olive oil. These not only help reduce the “bad” prostaglandins but also have a relaxing effect on the uterine muscles.
It is also important to realize non-organic fatty foods and non-organic foods in general may also contain large amounts of PCB, dioxins and other Xenoestrogens that help contribute to the current estrogen dominance that many women, and men, are currently experiencing. When possible select foods that are organic in nature and wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before use.
Next on the list of good endometriosis diet ideas is incorporating more fiber into the woman’s diet. Fiber is an integral part of any healthy diet and for women with endometriosis it is doubly so. Not only does help in the overall digestive process it is also instrumental in removing excess circulating estrogen. The recommended daily amount of fiber women should be ingesting is between 25 to 30 grams.
There are also foods that are believed to help regulate estrogen levels. They include mustard greens, broccoli, cabbage and turnips. It can be beneficial to eat one or two servings of these vegetables per day.
Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kale and radishes are an important part of an endometriosis diet because they are high in B vitamins. B vitamins convert the form of estrogen known as estradiol to estriol. This is important because estriol is the form of estrogen that easily bonds to fiber and can be excreted from the body. These green leafy vegetables also contain magnesium which is known to help relax smooth muscle like found in the intestines and uterus.
There are also foods that should be avoided when planning an endometriosis diet; these include:
• Refined wheat products and sugars – wheat products contain phytic acid and gluten which can aggravate the symptoms of endometriosis. Refined sugars found in candy and chocolate can cause increased inflammation.
• Red meats, dairy products, and fried foods – these all contain large amounts of saturated fats that are known to increase the bad prostaglandins which stimulates estrogen production. There is also an increased risk to exposure to dioxins, pesticides, and other Xenoestrogens.
• Caffeine – in research studies caffeine increased estrogen levels and can increase abdominal cramping.
• Soy and soy protein products – foods made from soy contain large amounts of phytoestrogens which are believed to increase estrogen, the primary hormone responsible for its growth.
• Alcohol – while it’s okay to have a drink every now and then excess alcohol consumption reduces vitamin B levels in the liver. Vitamin B is an essential vitamin in the removal of excess estrogen from a woman’s body.
The dietary modifications needed for a successful endometriosis diet will take some work and planning. It is also important to understand that it will take some time for your body to adjust and see the benefits of using diet to help manage this disease. Eating healthy means a healthy body, and a healthy body is able to combat the effects endometriosis.
Managing hormone levels with an endometriosis diet can be an important part of this diseases treatment regimen. If you would like to learn more about endometriosis and how to manage it please click our link.
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