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An Ideal Diet for People With Endometriosis

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  • Your diet may play a crucial role in alleviating the symptoms of endometriosis
  • Foods that contain vitamins B1, B9, C and E, fiber and iron may be good additions to your diet
  • Caffeinated drinks, alcohol and red meats are foods you should avoid if you have endometriosis

Making sure you follow a nutritious diet is important not just for alleviating endometriosis-caused pain, but in improving your overall health and potentially preventing further cases.

The Nutrients From These Foods May Help Ease Endometriosis

Authors of a 2015 Brazilian study highlighted that women with endometriosis can benefit from including organically grown fruits and vegetables and omega-3-rich foods into their diet.1 Good sources of omega-3 fats include wild-caught Alaskan salmon, sardines, anchovies and high-quality krill oil supplements.

According to a study published in the journal Health Reproduction in 2010, women who consumed high amounts of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids had a lower risk for endometriosis, while those who consumed trans fats were more at risk for endometriosis.2,3 A 2016 Taiwanese Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology animal study also revealed that feeding omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids to rats helped promote “significant regression of endometriotic implants.”4

Aside from omega-3 fats, consider eating foods with the following nutrients if you’re dealing with endometriosis symptoms:

Iron — Women with endometriosis usually struggle with heavy menstrual bleeding,5 and this may increase the risk for an iron deficiency or iron deficiency anemia.6 There are two types of iron you can get from foods: heme iron from grass fed beef liver, pasture-raised chicken liver and wild-caught salmon; and non-heme iron from spinach, pumpkin seeds, broccoli and split peas.7

Fiber — Eating more fiber-rich foods may help reduce the amount of estrogen in the body (a known endometriosis risk factor8,9) and promote optimal hormone levels.10 As much as possible, ensure your daily fiber intake is at 50 grams per 1,000 calories consumed.

High-fiber foods include chia seeds,11 vegetables like artichokes,12 cauliflower,13 broccoli,14 Brussels sprouts15 and mushrooms (button, chanterelle, maitake and shiitake).16 Organic whole husk psyllium is another good fiber source, and taking supplements containing it at least three times per day may increase your daily intake of dietary fiber by as much as 18 grams.

Just make sure to purchase 100% organic and unsweetened psyllium husk, as most sources may be sprayed and contaminated with herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers that can be harmful for you.

Vitamins B1 (thiamine) and B9 (folate) — According to a cohort study, consumption of these B vitamins from food sources was “inversely related to endometriosis risk.”17

Vitamins C and E — The previous study also mentioned that eating foods with vitamins C and E helped lower the chances a woman will struggle with endometriosis.18 Plus, authors of a 2003 Fertility and Sterility article highlighted that vitamins C and E, both considered antioxidants, may aid in relieving pelvic pain caused by endometriosis.19

Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, tomatoes, red and green peppers, kiwi, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cantaloupes.20 Meanwhile, spinach, avocados, olives, nuts, seeds and fatty fish and seafood are some vitamin E sources to consider.

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Eliminate These Potential Endometriosis-Triggering Foods

Caffeine-containing drinks like sodas and green tea are foods you should avoid if you have endometriosis, as they were proven in a study to raise levels of a type of estrogen hormone21 called estradiol,22 which may be a precursor for endometriosis.23 Alcohol should also be avoided, since some studies highlighted that it may cause spikes in your estrogen levels.24,25

Moderate or significantly reduced consumption of red meat may be ideal too, as a 2018 American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology article revealed that women who ate more than two servings of red meat daily had a 56% higher endometriosis risk.26 The Saint Louis University Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology also recommends avoiding:27

  • Dairy — Lactose is a type of sugar found in dairy products. Women may not tolerate it well and find it hard to break down and digest, and as a result may deal with side effects like cramps, diarrhea and discomfort.
  • Gluten — A type of protein abundant in grains and wheat products, gluten may result in disrupted absorption of vitamins and minerals important for ideal hormone function, trigger inflammation and autoimmune reactions that mainly affect hormones and their receptors, and prompt side effects like diarrhea, stomach discomfort and bloating among women with a gluten sensitivity.
  • Added sugars — Found in packaged foods, baked goods and sodas, added sugars may trigger inflammation and possibly worsen endometriosis.

MORE ABOUT ENDOMETRIOSIS

Endometriosis: Introduction

What Is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis Symptoms

Endometriosis Causes

Is Endometriosis Hereditary?

Endometriosis Stages

Endometriosis Treatment

Endometriosis in Pregnancy

Endometriosis vs Adenomyosis

Endometriosis Prevention

Endometriosis Diet

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