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Anti-Inflammatory Diet For Endometriosis: foods to eat

I’m a Registered Dietitian here to break down the science for the Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Endometriosis.

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What Is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is when endometrial tissue, called the endometrium ends up growing outside the uterus. Typical areas this can be found is on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, intestines, abdominal wall, the external surface of the uterus, the intestines, or the appendix. As the women’s uterus shed’s each month it causes bleeding, the endometrial tissue attached at other locations also bleeds but it doesn’t have anywhere to go, so it causes swelling and pain.

What Are The Symptoms Of Endometriosis

  • Painful menstrual cycles
  • Chronic lower belly or lower back pain
  • Painful intercourse
  • Bloating
  • Spotting between menstrual cycles
  • Heavy period flow
  • Infertility
  • Painful urination or bowel movements, constipation and diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Some don’t have any symptoms

Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Endometriosis

What is the anti-inflammatory diet you may be wondering? Harvard Education says that the anti inflammatory diet is not one particular “diet”, but that it is about what you don’t eat as much as it is about what you do eat.

Avoiding foods that are ultra processed like microwaveable dinners, chicken nuggets, processed meats, sugary cereals, refined grains, etc. These types of food are essentially of low nutritional value and high in saturated fat, high in sugar and sodium which are disease and inflammation-promoting.

This study showed that consumption ham, beef and other red meat significantly increased risk of developing endometriosis. Therefore swapping plant based proteins for meat proteins when possible could be helpful in managing symptoms and progression of endometriosis.

Omega Three Fatty Acids and Endometriosis

Including foods that help fight inflammation in the body can be beneficial in managing the symptoms of endometriosis. Some of these foods are omega 3 fatty acid rich sources like salmon, tuna fish, chia seeds, walnuts and flaxseeds. The recommended daily intake for women aged 19-50 years old is 1.1 g per day.

Fiber and Endometriosis

Increasing fiber intake has been shown to remove excess estrogen in the body and since endometriosis is an estrogen-dominant condition, removing excess circulating estrogen would be beneficial. Women should aim for 21-25 grams of fiber per day. Most plant sources have fiber in them as well as polyphenols which can protect the body against stress and inflammation. Some foods to increase through diet for more fiber include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Soy

Gluten free Diet and Endometriosis

Research does support that a gluten free diet could be helpful for those with endometriosis. This study of 156 women with endometriosis had results of 75% of women having statistically significant improvement in symptoms after 12 months on a gluten free diet. However, there are 25% of women in this group that there symptoms remained the same. That is to say, it won’t work for everyone. Nutrition is very individualized and unless you’re diagnosed Celiac, there might not be a correlation for symptoms and gluten intake.

Supplements for Endometriosis

Vitamin D3 has been shown to decrease pain associated with endometriosis. Vitamin c and e supplementation decrease symptoms by increasing antioxidant capacity in the body. This is because antioxidants help fight against the inflammation in the body. Another natural source that is anti-inflammatory is ginger root and seaweed. Incorporating these naturally or supplementing could potentially be beneficial in managing symptoms of endometriosis. Not all of these work for everyone though and always talk to your doctor before implementing supplements into your diet.

Other Ways to Improve Symptoms

Managing stress and cortisone levels in the body may be key to making symptoms of endometriosis lighter. Try going for a walk in nature or doing yoga, reading a book or sitting in a sauna. Whatever helps you feel calmer and breathe deeply will likely benefit your body by decreasing stress. As always, getting adequate sleep at night is healing.

To Conclude

The anti-inflammatory diet and Endometriosis can easily work hand in hand. There will be likely be no harm in implementing anti-inflammatory foods into the diet and decreasing consumption of saturated fat and processed foods. Endometriosis is a very individualized condition and women can experience it differently. It is fairly newly diagnosable disease in women and still has a lot of research to be done on exact causes and nutrition. Nutrition should be treated the same way. If you’d like to book an appointment for individualized nutrition therapy, click here.

Research Used In Today’s Blog Post

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9983692/
  • https://www.endofound.org/gastrointestinal-distress
  • https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation
  • https://journals.viamedica.pl/ginekologia_polska/article/view/GP.a2017.0017/42966
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23334113/#:~:text=A%20considerable%20increase%20of%20scores,months%20of%20gluten%20free%20diet.