More and more women are finding the benefits of using diet to help control their symptoms of endometriosis. The disease of endometriosis causes an inflammatory reaction in the body which is caused by the implants, adhesion's and damage caused by the disease.
This is a natural response of the immune system when there is damage in the body, and the body is trying to protect itself. But when this inflammation persists it causes worsening symptoms of pain.
One of the most effective solutions to reducing inflammation does not need to rely on medication which can have side-effects. Simply changing the foods you eat can have a dramatic effect on inflammation and pain.
The basis of the diet is to reduce foods that cause inflammation as well as foods that can increase pain caused by negative prostaglandins. Additionally, it has been found that an anti-inflammatory diet can help relieve mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
Many food groups can cause inflammation including:
Many of these inflammatory foods are responsible for causing endo belly which is a painful and distressing symptom suffered by many with endometriosis. Stress can also make symptoms worse and can cause a flare, so reducing stress can also help along with diet changes.
As well as reducing your intake of inflammatory foods, it can help to change your diet to include foods that can actually help to fight or reduce inflammation. The food groups that help to reduce inflammation also have additional health benefits by providing quality nutrition with vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and amino acids.
Anti-inflammatory foods you can add to your diet
Many foods, herbs and spices can help reduce inflammation. Below is a breakdown of different food groups that can help with inflammation.
Many herbs and spices have anti-inflammatory properties and can easily be added to your savoury dishes.
The following are commonly used herbs and spices:
Basil, Cayenne pepper, Cilantro/Coriander, Cinnamon, Cloves, Cumin, Curry, Dill, Ginger, Garlic, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Turmeric
~ turmeric and cayenne can also help with pain
~ ginger can help with bloating and endo belly
Interestingly certain fats/oils can help with inflammation. These oils contain omega 3's which are great for helping to reduce the inflammatory response in the body.
The following is a list of oily foods that can help inflammation:
Almonds, Avocados, Brazil nuts, Cashews, Chia seeds, Hazelnuts, Hemp seeds, Olives, Peanuts, Pecans, Pistachios, Sesame seeds, Sunflower seeds.
~ Many of these foods are high in nutrition, especially avocados, chia seeds and hemp seeds.
Anti-inflammatory vegetables can be used in many recipes either as part of a main dish or as a side dish. Adding plenty of veggies to your diet can also help to excrete excess estrogen from your system.
The best anti-inflammatory vegetables include:
Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumber, Garlic, Eggplant/Aubergine, Lettuce, Kale, Leeks, Onion, Peppers, Shallots, Spinach, Tomato, Watercress, Zucchini/courgette.
~ Beets and celery are really good for detoxing your liver which will also help to speed the removal of estrogen
Anti-inflammatory Beans & Pulses
Certain beans and pulses can help with inflammation and are easily incorporated into many recipes like casseroles, curries and soups.
The best anti-inflammatory pulses include:
Adzuki Beans, Black Beans, Cannellini Beans, Garbanzo/chickpea Beans, Green Beans, Lentils, Butter Beans, Navy Beans
Fruit is a good addition to your diet to help with inflammation and help with digestion. It is advisable not to have too much fruit as the sugars in fruit can upset some with endometriosis, but having some fruit in your diet helps to provide balanced nutrients.
The best anti-inflammatory fruits include:
Apple, Apricot, Banana, Blackberries, Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Cherries, Dates, Grapes, Melon, Lemon, Mango, Orange, Papaya, Pineapple, Plum, Strawberries, Watermelon.
~ Pineapple is really good at helping to relieve pain and is also good to aid digestion. Lemon water is good to drink first thing in the morning to help stimulate digestion and helps the liver
The best anti-inflammatory proteins come from oily fish as they contain high levels of omega 3 oils. Ideally you should aim for 2 to 3 portions of oily fish a week.
The best anti-inflammatory proteins include:
Tuna, Crab, Sole, Halibut, Herring, Mackerel, Trout, Salmon, Sardines, Shrimp Bass.
As well as reducing foods that cause inflammation and adding
in foods that reduce inflammation, as mentioned earlier, you need to reduce
foods that promote the negative prostaglandins which are responsible for
causing pain and inflammation. You can
read more how prostaglandins affect endometriosis here.
Additionally, your diet needs to include foods that help to balance your estogen levels. Including foods that contain phyto-estogens can help to block the excess estogen in your system as well as block xenoestrogens that are found in chemicals in the environment and in household cleaners and toiletries.
You do not want to have too many phyto-estrogens in your diet, but consuming enough to be of benefit will help block excess estogens from entering your receptors. You can read more about balancing phyto-estogens in your diet here
Everyone is different and as such will respond differently to diet changes. But most women with endometriosis who leave out inflammatory foods are finding a reduction in the symptoms they suffer. Adding in foods that can help to reduce inflammation will help even more in the fight against the debilitating symptoms of this disease.
Trans Fatty Acids and Systemic Inflammation in Women:
Affects of red meat and inflammation
Influence of diet on endometriosis