Endometriosis Diet: Foods to Eat and Avoid 

Aarohi Batra
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Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
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endometriosis diet

During their reproductive years, 1 in 10 women in the US and about 200 million globally have Endometriosis.

If you are one of them, it may disrupt your daily life.

This disease isn’t curable yet but can be managed with complete care. 

The care should include a plan for dealing with pain and a healthy way of life that includes eating well.

An Endometriosis diet could relieve pain, fatigue, and digestive issues.

This article helps you learn more about how the Endometriosis diet may help if you have Endometriosis.

The importance of an anti-inflammatory diet for Endometriosis

More research is needed to study the link between nutrition and Endometriosis.

However, some people believe that consuming particular foods either worsens or improves their Endometriosis symptoms.

Endometriosis cannot be prevented. 

However, individuals can lower their chances of acquiring it by refraining from consuming foods and substances that spike their Estrogen levels. 

Examples of these substances are caffeine and alcohol.

You may want to learn more about Endometriosis pain to find ways to deal with it.

According to a 2013 study, women who ate more veggies and omega-3 fatty acids may have been better able to fend off Endometriosis symptoms than those who ingested red meat, trans fats, or coffee. 

However, current studies have produced conflicting or variable outcomes, indicating that more research is needed.

A 2015 literature review conducted in Brazil proposed that adhering to a nutritious diet may be a preventive measure against the onset and progression of Endometriosis.

The diet consisted of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and omega-3 fatty acids.

But it’s important to know that changes to your diet won’t cure Endometriosis, but they might improve your symptoms.

Therefore, incorporate them into your Endometriosis treatment routine to reap the benefits. 

Fact:
The prevalence of Endometriosis in the global population (as of September 2023) is estimated to be between 1.9% and 5.7%, with women of reproductive age making up approximately 38% of the population.

Foods and supplements to include in a diet for Endometriosis

Focus on a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetablesSource: rimmabondarenko
Focus on a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables

There are certain supplements and foods for Endometriosis that can make a difference in those battling the symptoms. 

Some of these foods that may have a beneficial effect on Endometriosis have been discussed below.

Omega 3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids help lower inflammation, raise HDL cholesterol (the good kind), and safeguard heart health.

Some studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids help reduce endometrial tissue and inflammation, especially in those diagnosed with stages 3 or 4.

Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include:

  • A variety of seafood, including swordfish, anchovies, mussels, mackerel, salmon, tuna, pacific oysters, trout, and sardines
  • Seaweed or nori
  • Walnuts
  • Seeds, e.g., chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, and pumpkin seeds
  • Canola oil
  • Soybeans
  • Certain fortified foods (vegan goods and eggs)

Fibrous foods

Fiber can help with Endometriosis symptoms by aiding in removing excess Estrogen, which can aggravate the condition. 

Furthermore, fiber can help stabilize blood sugar levels and decrease inflammation, which helps manage Endometriosis. 

Soluble fiber, found in foods such as legumes and chia seeds, is particularly useful as it binds to substances (fatty acids and excess hormones like Estrogen) and reduces their absorption.

This further contributes to its positive effects on Endometriosis symptoms.

Some examples of fibrous foods that can help with Endometriosis symptoms include:

  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes
  • Chia seeds

Magnesium

Get enough magnesium if you have Endometriosis. 

Magnesium can help with cramps during your period.

It relaxes muscles naturally.

When you ovulate, your body produces Progesterone, which balances the Estrogen.

Food high in magnesium include:

  • Dark chocolate (but only in small amounts since it usually has extra sugar) 
  • Kale, spinach, arugula, dark lettuce, and other leafy greens
  • Legumes, including edamame and black beans
  • Nuts and seeds, e.g., almonds and pumpkin seeds

Zinc

Foods rich in ZincSource: piotr_malczyk_from_Getty_Images
Foods rich in Zinc

Zinc helps keep your hormones in order by controlling your periods. 

In other words, zinc helps your body produce an egg.

Zinc is found in the highest amounts in animal sources.

So, if you don’t eat meat or dairy, talk to your doctor about taking a zinc tablet. 

These are some good sources of zinc:

  • Seafood with shells, like lobster, crab, and oysters
  • Poultry, such as turkey or poultry
  • Red meat, but restrict weekly consumption to two low-fat portions

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Iron


Endometriosis patients frequently experience exhaustion and weakness. Low iron levels could be the reason. 

Iron is needed for hemoglobin, which delivers oxygen from the lungs to the tissues. 

If your iron levels are low, you might feel tired and have trouble focusing.

The only way to tell for sure whether you have low iron is to visit your doctor for a blood test. 

Your doctor could advise you to take an iron supplement or eat more foods high in iron if you have low iron levels or Anemia. 

Some of these are:

  • Beans 
  • Fish 
  • Dark leafy greens like spinach
  • Iron-fortified foods like cereal

Antioxidants


Oxidative stress and inflammation are associated in women with Endometriosis. 

Foods that are high in antioxidants can help lower oxidative stress and inflammation. 

Preclinical studies have shown that antioxidants can effectively decrease oxidative stress and reduce endometriotic lesions. 

Antioxidant-rich nutrients like vitamin E have been demonstrated to help reduce period pain and maintain healthy hormone levels. 

Additionally, clinical trials have indicated that antioxidant supplementation, particularly vitamins E and C, can reduce Endometriosis-related pelvic pain and inflammatory markers in women with the condition. 

A 2018 research showed that an increased consumption of cruciferous vegetables is associated with a 13% higher risk of Endometriosis, whereas a high intake of citrus fruits is linked to a 22% lower risk.

Therefore, foods rich in various antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids, and other phytochemicals can help with oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.

Fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants include

  • Fruits: Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, goji berries, apples, avocado, apricots, cantaloupe, mangoes, oranges, papaya, kiwi, grapes
  • Vegetables: Kale, spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers, artichokes, asparagus, beets, cauliflower, bell peppers, turnip and collard greens

What not to include in an Endometriosis anti-inflammatory diet

Making dietary changes would help you know what foods are bad for Endometriosis or affect it adversely.

Below is information about some foods to avoid with Endometriosis.

Trans fats

Extreme consumption of trans fats and, possibly, animal fats is correlated with an increased susceptibility to Endometriosis. 

According to research, consuming trans-unsaturated fats increases the likelihood of developing the condition.

Additionally, a study suggests that women with diets high in trans fats might be more likely to develop Endometriosis.

In contrast, people with diets high in foods with omega-3 oils might be less likely to develop the condition.

Furthermore, a literature review indicates that women with Endometriosis tend to consume more trans fats.

These findings emphasize the potential impact of dietary fats, particularly trans fats, on the risk of developing Endometriosis.

Gluten

Research suggests that a gluten-free diet may benefit women with Endometriosis. 

A study involving 207 women with Endometriosis found that following a gluten-free diet for 12 months resulted in reduced pain and discomfort for 75% of the women, with no increase in pain reported.

Another study found that a gluten-free diet not only helped resolve Endometriosis but also corrected infertility.

Gluten may set off an immunological reaction that harms the small intestine’s lining and can contribute to inflammation and hormone imbalances.

Alcohol

Pouring beer in glassSource: doucefleur_from_doucefleur's_Images
Pouring beer in a glass

It is recommended to minimize or avoid alcohol intake because it can aggravate Endometriosis symptoms.

Alcohol can increase Estrogen levels, which can cause more painful Endometrial symptoms.

Additionally, alcohol can weaken the digestive system and disrupt gut health, which can exacerbate digestive symptoms.

A moderate alcohol intake is significantly associated with Endometriosis.

High-FODMAP foods

FODMAP refers to Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. 

Those are short-chain carbohydrates that the small intestine has difficulty digesting.

Individuals with Endometriosis are more likely to have IBS.

People on the FODMAP diet cut out certain carbs to limit the amount of foods that might irritate them. The goal is to let the digestive system get better.

Once someone stops eating these foods, they can slowly start eating some again to see how their body reacts.

According to a study, individuals with Endometriosis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) who adopted a low-FODMAP diet reported a significant improvement in their symptoms.

High-FODMAP foods that should be avoided in an Endometriosis diet include:

  • Certain fruits: Apples, pears, mangoes, watermelon, and cherries
  • Certain vegetables: Asparagus, cauliflower, mushrooms, and snow peas
  • Legumes: Chickpeas, lentils, and black beans
  • Dairy products: Milk, yogurt, and soft cheeses

Red meat

Research suggests that red meat contains heme iron, associated with inflammation and oxidative stress mechanisms, potentially exacerbating Endometriosis symptoms.

Additionally, non-organic red meat may include xenohormones and antibiotics, which can harm the health.

Higher red meat consumption enhances the risk of Endometriosis diagnosis in a dose-response manner.

The study reported that women who ate more than two servings of red meat each day had a 56% increased risk of Endometriosis.

Apart from diet, you can benefit from Endometriosis self-care

Conclusion

Endometriosis is a tough condition that affects a large number of women globally. 

While there is no cure for this condition, there are ways to manage its symptoms, including adopting a healthy lifestyle and diet. 

An Endometriosis diet may help relieve pain, fatigue, and digestive issues. 

Several foods and supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids, fibrous foods, magnesium, zinc, and iron, can make a difference in those battling Endometriosis symptoms. 

Therefore, it is essential to include foods that are beneficial for Endometriosis. 

It is also essential to avoid foods and substances that spike Estrogen levels, such as caffeine and alcohol, to manage Endometriosis symptoms. 

In addition, it is always advisable to consult with your doctor before making any significant changes to your diet or lifestyle.

Warning:
Don’t leave Endometriosis untreated. It could lead to infertility.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can certain foods cause Endometriosis to flare up?

Yes, certain foods can cause Endometriosis to flare up. It’s recommended to avoid or limit alcohol, caffeine, red meat, saturated and trans fat, and gluten. Instead, focus on a nutrient-dense, well-balanced diet rich in fibrous foods, iron, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants.

How does food affect Endometriosis?

Some foods that may worsen Endometriosis symptoms include alcohol, caffeine, red meat, saturated and trans fat, and gluten. A nutrient-dense, well-balanced diet that’s primarily plant-based and full of vitamins and minerals, including fibrous foods, iron-rich foods, and foods rich in essential fatty acids and antioxidants, may help manage Endometriosis symptoms. 

What supplements are good for Endometriosis?

Supplements potentially beneficial for Endometriosis include vitamin D, magnesium, zinc, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids. These supplements may help with anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-proliferative, and immune-modulatory effects, contributing to symptom relief and managing Endometriosis. Consult a doctor before you start any new supplement regimen.

What is the best diet for Endometriosis?

The best diet for Endometriosis typically involves anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and omega-3-rich sources while avoiding processed foods, caffeine, alcohol, and excess red meat to alleviate symptoms.

Citations:
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