By Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
How can nutrition help?
Some key objectives regarding nutrition and endometriosis should be to boost gut flora, normalize immune response, remove metabolic wastes and to optimize liver function (the liver is key to detoxification of toxins and in the metabolism of hormones).
Foods to increase:
High fibre fruit and vegetables including cruciferous vegetables (as these can help to eliminate excess oestrogen from the body which is found in women with endometriosis and help to improve the immune system) – Fibre is important as it helps to expel unwanted substances from the body, particularly excess hormones such as oestrogen. Fibre will help to balance gut flora- but introduce slowly.
Drink plenty of fresh water each day (lovely with a slice of lemon in!) to flush out toxins.
Omega 3- oily fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel along with nuts and seeds to reduce inflammation.
Recent research has indicated that lycopene may be useful in reducing the abnormal activity of cells and as a result, reduce the adhesion effects of endometriosis. Lycopene is a phytochemical and is found in tomatoes (in highest amounts), and other brightly coloured fruit and vegetables such as watermelons, apricots, pink grapefruit- to name a few!
Leeks, onions and garlic are prebiotics that help boost gut flora. These also contain compounds and bioflavonoids that help protect against inflammation. Have you ever considered taking a high quality probiotic?
Consume organic produce whenever possible.
Foods containing selenium such as brazil nuts, walnuts, eggs, tuna, turkey, chicken and cod – selenium helps to boost white blood cell function and thus immunity. It also helps to produce liver detoxification enzymes.
Foods to decrease:
Processed meats and red meats – these can lead to further inflammation. Look for grass fed or organic meat if you do consume a small amount of red meat or choose chicken, fish or turkey (lean protein) if you include meat in your diet.
Full fat dairy – Dairy includes milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter. Of course, not all dairy is created equal. Some people can easily digest yogurt, but not milk, or butter, but not cheese. There is no conclusive evidence that dairy is bad for endometriosis however, dairy products often contain a high percentage of saturated fat and many types of hormones, which may aggravate endometriosis. Why not start by trying a non-dairy milk such as almond or coconut milk for a while to see if it makes a difference to you?
Reduce omega 6 foods to help rebalance the omega 3:6 ratio. Examples of some omega 6 containing foods are: processed snacks, fast foods, cakes, fatty meats, and cured meats – these lead to an increase in inflammation.
Limit Caffeine – can increase oestrogen levels and menstrual pain in some.
Additives and processed foods- affect the liver which is involved in hormone processing.
High fat foods – as saturated fats lead to more inflammation.
Sweets – excess sugar can lead to inflammation.
Foods containing gluten – substitute with sweet potato, quinoa or wild rice for a while to see if symptoms ease.
Alcohol – A healthy liver is important for good hormone balance, as the liver detoxifies chemicals and waste products including excess hormones.
Dbouk, T, Fletcher, N, Jiang Z et al (2008). HYPERLINK “http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(08)01996-1/abstract” Lycopene a powerful antioxidant with remarkable anti adhesion effects. Fertil Steril
Head over to Babble Fertility Store for GinSen Endometrio Herbs – Made with natural ingredients Endometrio Herbs can also reduce endometriosis symptoms including pain and menstrual irregularities.
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