Diet for Endometriosis
Anuja Dani

Anuja Dani

Apr 13Menstrual Health

Diet for Endometriosis

This blog has been compiled by Komal Adhlaka, a content writer for Proactive For Her.

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is an excruciating, chronic disease where tissue that lines the inside of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. This tissue may grow on the ovaries and fallopian tube just like the bladder, bowel, vagina, cervix, and the region between the vagina and rectum. The lost tissue develops, separates, and sheds like the tissue that lines the uterus during menstrual cycles. In any case, the lost tissue has no chance to leave the body which causes internal bleeding, inflammation, bowel issues, scar tissue formation, etc

How common is Endometriosis?

More than 170 million women across the world have endometriosis. The early symptoms of the disease often occur during reproductive age (12-60 years old) but most women are usually undiagnosed.

What are the symptoms of Endometriosis?

The symptoms of the disease include:

  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Painful urination before periods
  • Painful bowel movements during periods
  • Painful sex
  • Severe cramps before and while periods
  • Heavy menstrual flow
  • Periods lasting more than 7-8 days
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Infertility

diet for endometriosis

What should your diet include if you have endometriosis? 

A good diet to ease the endometriosis and help with irregularity and pain of periods includes:

  1. Vegetables:

Vegetables contain rich amounts of flavonoids and carotenoids with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Eat a wide variety of vegetables that contain vitamins, including A, E, and C which help lower the pain in endometriosis patients.

Servings- 5 servings per day (one serving = 2 full cups of salad and dietary fiber, ½ cup of cooked vegetables with controlled salt levels).

Sources- spinach, collard greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, beets, onion, peas.

2. Fruits:

Eat fruits religiously because they are a wholesome food source, which contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. If you can, choose organically grown fruits for reduced pesticide residue that have been associated with hormone imbalances.

Servings- 1-2 servings per day (include fresh as well as dried fruits)

Sources- Grapes, cherries, apples, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, oranges, plums, pomegranates, blackberries, and pears, etc. have a lower glycemic index.

3. Beans and Legumes:

Legumes are rich in folic acid, potassium, magnesium, and soluble fiber. They have low-glycemic levels which help to stabilize blood sugars.

Servings- 2-4 servings per week (one serving = ½ cup boiled or blandly cooked legumes)

Healthy Sources- Chickpeas, black-eyed peas, lentils, kidney beans, etc.

4. Cold-Pressed Vegetable Oils:

Oils contain high amounts of Omega-3s and antioxidants which are anti-inflammatory. They are also rich in monounsaturated fats that increase HDLs (good cholesterol) and lower LDLs (bad cholesterol). Expelled cold-pressed oil is not chemically treated and is the better alternative to vegetable oil.

Servings- 2-4 servings a day (one serving= 1 teaspoon of oil)

Sources- Canola oil, extra virgin olive oil, vegetable oil, nuts-based oils, flaxseed oil, etc.

Quick note:

When using oil to cook, heat it at lower temperatures as higher temperatures increase the production of trans fat. When you’re not using the oil to cook, you could drizzle some on salads, over vegetables for roasting, or while sautéing the veggies.

5. Low-fat Dairy or Dairy Alternatives:

Studies suggest that Vitamin D helps to reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines that contribute to inflammation caused during endometriosis. Low-fat dairy products could help reduce the number of hormones added to your foods.

Servings- 3 servings a day (minimum 2 glasses of low-fat, skimmed milk/dairy-free milk, 1 cup of yoghurt, etc.)

Sources- Low-fat cheeses like mozzarella, parmesan), fat-free yoghurt, cottage cheese or paneer, skimmed milk (coconut, almond milk for alternatives). You can always find dairy-free options of these foods if you’re a vegan.

6. Fish and Seafood:

Fish is rich in Omega-3s which are anti-inflammatory. For an endometriosis diet, high-fat, deep-sea fish would be the best alternative available as it contains huge amounts of Omega-3s.

Servings- 4-5 servings per week (one serving = 4 oz. of seafood or fish)

Sources- tuna, salmon, mackerel, etc.

7. Eggs, Lean Meat, Poultry:

Lean meats have fewer amounts of saturated fat that help in controlling the cholesterol levels better.

Servings- 3-4 servings per week (one serving = 3 oz. of poultry)

Sources- Skinless poultry, brown eggs, turkey, grass-fed lean meats, etc.

8. Whole Grains:

Whole grains contain vitamin-B and fiber which help to promote a healthy digestive tract and reduce spikes in blood sugar that cause inflammation.

Servings- 3-5 servings a day (one serving = ½ cup cooked grains, potentially unsalted) ·

Sources- Brown rice, basmati rice, quinoa, gluten-free noodles or pasta, flat rice, or poha.  

9. Nuts and Seeds:

Nuts and seeds have huge amounts of Omega-3s. They are excellent sources of vitamin B and phosphorus.

Servings- 1-2 servings a day (one serving = 2-3 walnuts, 1 tablespoon of flaxseed (optional), 1 oz. of avocado, 4-5 almonds, etc.)

Sources- Almonds, avocado, chia seeds, walnuts, ground flaxseed, hemp seeds, etc.

10. Alcohol, Caffeine, Processed Foods, Sugars:

It is always better to avoid these foods. They have no nutritional value. Moreover, the added sugar can prevent other vital nutrients from being absorbed. Caffeine and alcohol have been suggested to impair ovarian function, aggravate PMS symptoms, and negatively affect infertility. While sweets or chocolates, etc. proinflammatory and should be limited.

Servings- 1-2 servings per week, you can also avoid if you can

Sources- Processed foods, fried and fast food, caffeine, alcohol

11. Water:

Water is important for the overall proper functioning of the body because it helps in keeping the body hydrated and removes unnecessary metabolic wastes.

Servings- minimum 8 glasses of water, half a gallon (64 oz.)

Foods to avoid 

Reducing or eliminating some foods from your diet may ease the pain, nausea, and cramps if you have endometriosis. Some foods to avoid include high-fat foods, caffeine, and processed foods with added sugar. Soy products increase estrogen levels, which may aggravate the symptoms of endometriosis and encourage the growth of new lesions if consumed in large quantities. Red meat, such as beef also increases estrogen levels and aggravates endometriosis symptoms. 

Everyone has a different body and food consumption system. Hence, some foods may worsen the symptoms in some people while they may not impact others. It is, therefore, important to recognize which foods may aggravate disease symptoms and eliminate them from your diet.

Final Words

While surgical or medical treatments remain the most effective methods of managing endometriosis, there is hardly any natural cure for endometriosis. However, making some relevant and needful dietary changes is a complementary approach that may help some women manage their symptoms. Consulting a health expert would help you plan your diet to fulfil your nutritional requirements and manage endometriosis effectively.

Disclaimer - This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare practitioners before undertaking any changes in your diet or adding supplements.

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