Endometriosis (en-doe-me-tree-O-sis) is a chronic medical disorder. It is a painful inflammatory condition in which tissue that is identical to the endometrium, which normally lines the lining of your uterus, develops outside your uterus. It may grow in the vaginal lining, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and even tissue lining the pelvis.
As it is an inflammatory disease, it can cause severe pain. The reason why you should have anti-inflammatory food for endometriosis is to lower the levels of inflammation and ease endometriosis pain. It significantly impacts women’s quality of life and helps ease their professional lives, daily activities, sexual and nonsexual relationships, and fertility.
One of the most frequent questions we get is how to reverse endometriosis. In this blog, we’ll tell you how endometriosis nutrition in your diet might help manage endometriosis symptoms and improve your overall health. Let’s look at foods that can help fight inflammation and bring comfort, as well as those that can aggravate your symptoms.
A] Understanding Endometriosis and Inflammation
Endometriosis is a severe inflammatory condition that causes abnormal endometrial-like tissue growth outside the uterus. It causes pelvic pain, fatigue, painful urination before periods, painful bowel movements during periods, pain during intercourse, pain before and during periods due to severe cramping, heavy menstrual flow, periods lasting for more than seven days, diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, etc. Endometriosis and infertility are also often deeply linked due to the increased risk of having difficulty becoming pregnant.
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The presence of this misplaced tissue in the body causes an inflammatory reaction. Inflammation, in turn, adds to the genesis and development of endometriosis, causing chronic pain, discomfort, and other consequences. Endometriosis also causes inflammation in the surrounding area and activates the immune system’s inflammatory response.
Because the immune system is unable to ‘clean up’ endometriosis, the inflammatory cycle continues as the body attempts to inflame and repair the area. This leads to increased scar tissue, which causes more damage by adhering to organs and inflaming pelvic areas over time.
Now the question is, how does food affect endometriosis?
While research emphasises the intricate link between endometriosis and inflammation, adopting a highly anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense diet and lifestyle may help manage symptoms and enhance overall well-being for those affected by endometriosis.
Antioxidants, which counteract the inflammatory process of oxidation, are full of colorful fruits and vegetables. Thus, the phrase ‘eat the rainbow’ is not without reason! Of course, limiting pro-inflammatory foods like sweets and alcohol to special occasions also helps a lot. Read on to learn more about how to heal endometriosis with diet.
So when should you consider Endometriosis diet changes?
If traditional endometriosis treatments or endometriosis diagnosis or management strategies aren’t giving you sufficient relief, adjusting your diet could help you control your symptoms.
When you’re dealing with inflammation-related symptoms such as bloating, swelling, or joint pain in addition to your endometriosis symptoms, or you’re considering pregnancy after being diagnosed with endometriosis, or simply if you’re looking to enhance your quality of life, manage stress, and feel more empowered in your journey with endometriosis, making some dietary changes can be beneficial for you.
Always keep in mind any changes in diet should be discussed with a healthcare professional or certified dietitian. Especially if you have dietary restrictions or particular health conditions, our endometriosis specialist can customise the best diet for endometriosis for you.
B] The Best Foods for an Anti-Inflammatory Endometriosis Diet
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These foods can be beneficial for women with endometriosis, as they help manage the symptoms very efficiently.
Here is a list of foods that have anti-inflammatory properties:
- Berries: Berries are rich in fibre, antioxidants, and vitamin C. You can incorporate blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries into your diet.
- Pineapple: Pineapple contains bromelain, which is an anti-inflammatory enzyme, so it helps control your symptoms. Adding it to your also helps in better digestion.
- Cherries: Cherries contain compounds like anthocyanins and quercetin, which have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Choose sour cherries over sweet cherries for better results.
- Leafy greens: Leafy greens, for example, bok choy, kale and spinach, are packed with vitamins C, A, and K. It also has antioxidants, minerals, and fibre. They provide essential endometriosis nutrition that reduces inflammation and supports immune function.
- Cruciferous Vegetables: Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts contain sulforaphane. It is a popular compound that helps in detoxification and also has anti-inflammatory effects.
- Turmeric: Include turmeric in your diet, as it helps manage pain and inflammation associated with endometriosis. The active compound in turmeric, curcumin, a bright yellow chemical produced by plants, includes potent anti-inflammatory properties.
3. Whole Grains
- Quinoa: Quinoa adds complete protein to your diet and is a great source of fibre. It provides essential nutrients for overall well-being, offers sustained energy and supports digestive health.
- Brown rice: You can have brown rice, as it is a complex carbohydrate that helps stabilise blood sugar levels. It also supports hormonal balance and contains fibre as well as essential nutrients.
4. Healthy Fats
- Avocado: Avocado is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which contribute to pain reduction and overall health support. It is rich in antioxidants, nutrients and monounsaturated fats. It also improves digestion.
- Fatty fish: You can add fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel to your diet. These are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory effects and support heart health and hormonal balance.
5. Nuts and Seeds
- Walnuts: Walnuts are filled with omega-3 fatty acids. It provides anti-inflammatory benefits, and it also contains antioxidants that support immune function.
- Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds are great for digestion and inflammation reduction. These are rich in lignans and ALA, which also provide hormonal balance.
- Chia seeds: Chia seeds help maintain stable blood sugar levels and support heart health. It is packed with fibre and omega-3.
- Lentils and beans: Lentils and beans have a low glycemic index. It supports blood sugar stability and hormonal balance. It is a great source of plant-based protein and fibre and has all the essential nutrients.
7. Herbs and Spices
- Ginger: Ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory compound. It contains gingerol, which can reduce pain and inflammation.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Adding it to your diet can help you manage endometriosis symptoms.
8. Herbal Teas
- Peppermint tea: Peppermint tea is known for pain relief. Its soothing properties can also ease digestive discomfort often associated with endometriosis.
- Chamomile tea: Chamomile tea has anti-inflammatory effects and can promote relaxation and stress relief, contributing to symptom management.
C] Foods to Avoid for an Endometriosis Diet
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There are many foods that might worsen inflammation and heighten endometriosis symptoms. Here’s a list of popular inflammatory foods to avoid with endometriosis or reduce from your diet:
One of the most crucial endometriosis foods to avoid is processed foods. It tends to have chemicals, preservatives, and high sodium levels. These factors can cause inflammation and fail to provide the necessary nutrition to control symptoms.
Examples – Microwave meals or ready-to-eat or ready-to-cook meals, cakes, biscuits, breakfast cereals, cheese, tinned vegetables, bread, meat products, such as sausage, bacon, salami, ham, and paté, as well as savoury snacks, such as sausages, crisps, pies, and pasties.
Trans fats have been related to increased inflammation and heart disease and are typically present in partially hydrogenated oils. These fats might upset the body’s healthy fat balance and aggravate inflammatory reactions.
Examples – Fried foods, including french fries, doughnuts, and fried chicken, as well as non-dairy coffee creamer, stick margarine, microwave popcorn, frozen pizza, commercial baked goods, such as cookies, cakes, and pies, and refrigerated dough, such as biscuits and rolls, etc.
Refined carbs, such as white rice, pasta, pizza dough, white bread, and sugary snacks, induce blood sugar increases and inflammation. They are deficient in fibre and important minerals for general wellness.
Highly Processed Meats
Try cutting down on highly processed meats such as sausages, hot dogs, and deli meats. It has inflammatory chemicals, high saturated fat content and preservatives that may cause inflammation and hormone abnormalities.
Some people diagnosed with endometriosis report intestinal discomfort when they have dairy, as it may include hormones and inflammatory chemicals that worsen your symptoms. Reduce your dairy intake. Limit the use of condensed and dried milk, butter, cheese, ice cream, and yoghurt in your diet.
Excess consumption of sugar can make your symptoms worse and lead to hormonal abnormalities. It can cause immediate blood sugar spikes and inflammation. Try limiting the intake of sugary beverages or sweets, as well as processed foods with added sugars.
Highly Processed Vegetable Oils
Highly processed vegetable oil might cause inflammation if consumed excessively. Incorporating a healthy mix of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in your diet is essential. For example, corn, soybean, and sunflower oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids.
During the menstrual cycle, oestrogen thickens the lining of the uterus and excessive alcohol consumption boosts your oestrogen levels. It disrupts your hormonal balance and aggravates endometriosis symptoms, as well as interferes with liver function.
Caffeine and High-Caffeine Beverages
Consider limiting your daily caffeine to 200 milligrams or less. Too much caffeine creates inflammation and aggravates the digestive system. It can also impact sleep quality in certain people, as well as increase anxiety and tension, thereby worsening endometriosis symptoms.
Even though artificial sweetener’s influence on hormones and metabolism is still being researched, you should try reducing your intake of diet drinks and sugar-free goods, as they might disturb gut health and cause inflammation.
D] Meal Planning and Recipes
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Planning your meal for an anti-inflammatory endometriosis diet will help you with symptoms, as it will help you stay on track. Here are some recommendations that might help you:
- Overnight Chia Seed Pudding
Mix together chia seeds, almond milk, honey, and berries. Let it sit overnight for a wholesome and filling breakfast.
- Spinach and Mushroom Omelette
Cook an omelette with spinach, mushrooms, and a sprinkle of feta cheese for added flavour.
- Quinoa and Roasted Vegetable Salad
Toss cooked quinoa with roasted veggies, leafy greens, and a splash of olive oil and squeeze in a lemon.
- Lentil and Vegetable Soup
Make a soup with lentils, carrots, celery, and kale for a nutrient-packed lunch.
- Baked Salmon with Steamed Broccoli
Season salmon with herbs and bake, then serve with steamed broccoli and quinoa.
- Stir-Fried Tofu and Mixed Vegetables
Stir-fry tofu and a mix of colourful vegetables in a ginger and garlic sauce. Serve over brown rice.
- Greek Yoghurt Parfait
Layer mixed berries, and a sprinkle of chopped nuts of your choice to your Greek yoghurt for a protein-rich snack.
- Apple Slices with Almond Butter
Apple slices with spoonfuls of almond butter can be a satisfying and nutrient-dense snack.
Incorporating an anti inflammatory diet for endometriosis can be very much helpful in your journey of maintaining your health. The significance of such a diet cannot be overstated. Individuals can take an approach towards minimising the often-debilitating symptoms linked with this condition by accepting the possible use of food as medicine. Nutrient-rich food choices like berries, fatty fish, leafy greens, and whole grains that combat inflammation and support hormonal balance give relief from pain, discomfort, and other challenges associated with endometriosis.
For expert guidance on crafting a personalised endometriosis treatment diet, feel free to contact us.