Endometriosis and how diet may help
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Yesterday was the start of Endometriosis Awareness Week. If you have endometriosis it is important to consider your diet and lifestyle when tackling your condition. What you eat affects how you feel, and including or excluding certain foods may help to relieve many of the symptoms. Some foods are good at naturally controlling hormones, which play a key role in endometriosis symptoms. Other foods are great at boosting your immune system or reducing inflamation. Whilst certain foods may also have a negative effect, triggering symptoms.
Try and eat:
As well as helping you to keep fuller for longer soluble fibre helps the body to naturally expel hormones. Top foods that are rich in fibre include:
Apples, pears, plums, citrus fruits, beans, lentils, peas, oats, quinoa, whole grain foods, chia seeds, flax seeds and nuts. Try and aim for 24gs of fibre a day; i.e. bran cereal or oats with some raspberries and a teaspoon of chia seeds, a handful of almonds as an snack with an orange, wholemeal sandwich for lunch, an apple for an afternoon snack and a vegetable stir fry with brown rice for your evening meal
Omega 3 and 6 Essential fatty acids (EFAs)
EFAs help to control inflammation, contribute to helpful prostaglandin production, which can help with pain and may help to relieve endometriosis symptoms. Foods rich in essential fatty acids are:
oily fish, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and walnuts. The nuts and seeds can be added to your muesli in the morning. And grilled salmon is the perfect healthy supper dish
Vitamins and minerals
A healthy liver is crucial for good hormone balance, as the liver detoxifies chemicals and waste products including excess hormones. To help do that it needs plenty of vitamins and minerals, particularly B vitamins and antioxidants (vitamins A,C & E). As well as the liver, these
Fruit and veg
nutrients will also support the immune system. Try and include these foods in your diet: red, green and orange fruits and veg, citrus fruits, blackcurrants, kiwi fruit, blackberries, peppers, broccoli, sweet potatoes, vegetable oils, nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, seeds like pumpkin and sunflower. Green leafy veg like spinach, kale, chard, and broccoli. Fortified cereals, margarine, dairy, eggs and marmite. Using all the vegetables to make a warming soup is a great way to make sure you get plenty of vitamins and antioxidants.
Eating iron-rich foods will help replace iron that may be lost through heavy periods, and help reduce tiredness and fatigue
To ensure you’re getting enough iron in your diet, try to include more of the following foods:
- dark green leafy vegetables like cabbage, kale, spinach, watercress
- broccoli, beetroot, meat, fish, eggs, tofu, beans and pulses, nuts and seeds, iron-fortified cereals or bread, brown rice.
For the body to absorb plant based iron you will need to eat it with foods rich in vitamin C, such as peppers and fruits. Bubble and squeak is a great way to add green leafy veg in to your diet. Its great topped with a poached egg for even more iron
Try and limit
These are foods that may trigger or aggravate your condition.
Some processed foods may contain certain additives and preservatives that may result in inflammation. They may also be high in saturated or trans fats that could again lead to inflammation. Take time to read the ingredients list and look at the traffic light guidance before you decide to purchase soft drinks, sugary foods, ready meals and snacks, fried foods, smoked and processed meats, baked goods and white flour
Full fat dairy products are relatively high in saturated fats and as with processed foods may increase inflammation, Low fat options may be a better choice – although they may have higher sugar content. Or stick with full fat but just have smaller portions. You may decide to reduce your dairy intake, so opt for calcium enriched non dairy milks and yoghurts like soya, oat or almond
It is not yet fully understood why some people with endometriosis are also gluten sensitive. If you are affected try limiting your intake and eating naturally gluten-free options such as wild rice, quinoa and sweet potato to see if there is an improvement.
Other foods may trigger your symptoms
Alcohol – has an inflammatory response in the body as well as affecting vitamin D levels in the liver.
Red meat – can be difficult to digest , and like dairy is inflammatory
Caffeine – Can increase menstrual pain and oestrogen levels.
Soya – in some women the high levels of phyto-oestrogens can trigger endometriosis symptoms.
If you would like help and support to tackle your symptoms then please con take me for a free 20 minute consultation