Diet for endometriosis – quick start guide

The principles of using diet and nutrition to help with endometriosis can seem somewhat complex when you go into the details of chemistry and food and how these chemical changes affect the body.

Some women feel overwhelmed when they read the details of using the diet to help them with their symptoms and don’t know where to start, or feel that the diet is far too restrictive.  When you first look at the entire list of all the foods to leave out of your diet it looks like you will not be left with much to eat, but there are plenty of tasty, nutritious foods you can still enjoy.

The basis of the diet to help reduce the symptoms is based on the following:

  • Reducing foods that cause inflammation
  • Reducing foods the increase estrogens
  • Reducing foods that cause bloating and endo belly
  • Reduce foods that increase the negative prostaglandins which cause pain and inflammation
  • Reducing foods that stress the body with chemicals and additives
  • Adding in foods that help reduce inflammation
  • Using foods the boost the immune system

Foods to omit on the diet to help with endometriosisFoods to omit on diet for endometriosis

To give you a basic summary of the diet to help with the symptoms of endometriosis:


Wheat - this includes breads, cakes and pasta products. Wheat contains phytic acid which can aggravate symptoms of endometriosis, which is an issue that has been covered by Dian Shepperson Mills in her book about nutrition for endometriosis. Wheat also contains gluten which women with endometriosis seem to be sensitive to and feedback from other endo sufferers who omitted wheat saw an improvement in their symptoms

Red meats - promotes the negative prostaglandins which cause inflammation and may also contain growth hormones which can include estrogen.

Refined and concentrated carbohydrates - white bread, flour, cakes, pasta etc. made from refined flours. Most of the nutritional value has been removed and can have a negative effect on blood sugar levels

Refined sugars  - causes inflammatory reaction, produces a more acidic environment in the body which can increase the inflammation of endometriosis


Caffeine - found in tea, coffee, soft drinks - increases abdominal cramps and caffeine increases estrogen levels. Caffeine is a known phyto-estrogen. Coffee is also known to inhibit the absorption of iron.

Chocolate (cheap commercial chocolate - as it contains sugar which is inflammatory) - organic dark chocolate is fine especially if it has high cacao content which has many health benefits

Dairy produce - including milk, cheese, butter, cream - causes inflammatory reaction as they increase the inflammatory prostaglandins

Eggs - advised to leave out eggs unless you get organic as they may contain hormones. 

Fried foods - can stimulate negative prostaglandins

Saturated fats and oils – Foods that are high in fatty acids stimulate the negative inflammatory prostaglandins. Fatty acids are found in saturated fats, butter, margarine, lard. 

Soy products and soy protein products – soy has a negative effect on endometriosis as soy contains high levels of phytoestrogens - tamari can be used in small amounts. Soy also contains high levels of omega 6 which can cause inflammation. Read more about soy and endometriosis HERE

Convenience foods - they contain a host of additives, cheap ingredients and have very little nutritional value

Tinned foods - use sparingly. Certain exceptions are fine like tinned tomatoes, coconut milk and those foods that are part of ingredients when cooking a nutritious meal

Additives and preservatives - increase chemical load on the system

Alcohol - consumes vitamin B which is stored in the liver. Good liver function is vital as the liver will help to eliminate excess oestrogen from the body

Pasta with red pepper sauce

So what can you eat to help reduce your symptoms of endometriosis?

You now know what not to eat to manage the symptoms of endometriosis, but what is safe to eat when you have endometriosis? To give you some ideas of the foods you can eat which will not aggravate your symptoms this list will give you some hope that your diet will not be really restricted or boring.  It is not easy to provide a full list to suit everyone especially as everyone’s taste is different. However, the basic foods that are safe on the diet include:

White meat – chicken and turkey – try to get organic if you can afford it – obviously loads of dishes can be made with white meats like curries, casseroles, roast dinners etc

Oily fish – rich in omega 3 oils which can help to reduce inflammation and pain.  Best options are salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring, trout.

Gluten free bread instead of wheat based -many supermarkets are now stocking lots of gluten free breads, savoury biscuits, gluten free breakfast cereals

Lots of veg based meals – add in pulses to veg based meals and you will get plenty of nutrition and protein.  There are lots of recipes for veggie options for dishes like spaghetti bolognaise, casseroles, veggie burgers.

Fruit – great for making smoothies and adding in extra nutrients with protein powders and other super-foods

For carbs your options include rice, rice noodles, gluten free oats, quinoa as well as beans and pulses

Loads of pasta dish options – using gluten free pasta

Baked items like breads, cakes, pies using gluten free flour

Sweets and puddings using sugar alternatives

Nuts, dried fruits and seeds – good for snacking

Nut milks – like almond milk, rice milk instead of dairy

Herb teas, juices


To get some tips to help you gradually introduce diet changes there is plenty of advice HERE

And to give you a kick start guide to the diet there is a recipe book from endo-resolved HERE  which has over 250 recipes and includes advice about nutrition, tips to balance hormones and estrogen - all gluten, dairy, soy, meat and wheat free. - lots of good reviews on Amazon

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