Endometriosis cannot simply be managed by surgery alone. It is a multi-system condition that requires an integrative approach. In my last few posts, I talked about how physiotherapy can help women suffering from endometriosis and introduced 6 simple exercises women could start at home to help manage their pain. In my last post, I discussed endometriosis, inflammation and anti-inflammatory foods.
In this post, I will give some general nutrition recommendations for women with endometriosis. This includes:
- Ensuring you have lean protein, healthy fats and fibre at every meal
- Going gluten-free. More and more research is showing significant improvements in women who stop eating gluten. Gluten ranks as one of the highest toxins for women with endometriosis. Simply going gluten-free without any other changes can be enough to reduce pain significantly. Some women can also be sensitive to other grains, but if not, you can enjoy brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, millet and teff as alternatives.
- Limiting soy. Pelvic pain is found to be higher in women who regularly eat soy. If you need to have soy, its best to stick with low amounts of non-GMO, organic, fermented whole soy foods.
- Limiting dairy. A lot of women with endometriosis have developed sensitivities to dairy. This can be sensitivity to lactose, which is a sugar found in dairy, or sensitivity to casein, which is a protein found in dairy. Dairy can cause inflammation which can lead to pain. Simply substitute for non-dairy alternatives e.g. almond or other nut milk, rice milk, coconut milk, coconut yoghurt, coconut cream and coconut ice cream. Grass-fed butter is usually well-tolerated.
- Limiting sugars. Processed and refined sugars wreak havoc on the gut. Switch to coconut sugar or pure maple syrup for sweeteners. If you have a chocolate addiction try Loving Earth brand of chocolate instead.
- Limiting coffee and alcohol. These can affect your hormones and gut microbiota. It is best to eliminate these completely if you can.
- Increasing omega-3 fatty acids. Foods that are high in omega 3 are your powerhouses of anti-inflammatories. They can even be used as an alternative to pharmaceutical NSAIDs! For example, flaxseeds/linseeds, walnuts, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and fish such as sardines, salmon, tuna, blue mackerel, gemfish and shrimp.
- Increasing your vegetable intake. Have rainbow colourful vegetables at every meal, making sure you have lots of green leafy vegetables. Sulfur-containing vegetables and cruciferous vegetables help with estrogen detoxification. This is found in broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale, leafy greens and cabbage.
- Increasing your fibre intake. This is effective for estrogen detoxification. Simply add chia seeds or flaxseeds to your meals. Your goal here is 35–45g of fibre per day.
- Increasing your antioxidants. Foods high in Vitamin C are very effective for reducing inflammation. These can include papaya, bell peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts, strawberries, pineapple, oranges, kiwi fruit, cantaloupe and cauliflower.
- Drinking lots of water and tea. English breakfast and green tea are anti-inflammatory teas. Make sure you have 6–8 cups of fluid per day, more if you are exercising so that you stay hydrated and improve detoxification.
- Taking probiotics. Cycle between 3 different brands of high-quality probiotics with multiple strains every 3 days for optimal gut health.
So there you have it, 12 tips you can start to improve your health and wellbeing, and to reduce pain and inflammation associated with endometriosis.