Are You Eating the Right Foods to Reduce Your Risk of Endometriosis?
by Ashleigh Feltham
Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist
Nutrition plays an important role to support your health in many ways, not just achieving your ultimate summer body. Optimal nutrition can reduce your risk of many diseases and conditions. Endometriosis is when the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus and this reproductive tissue spreads to one or multiple organs in your body. This condition is linked to pain during your period, during sex, pelvic pain, pain with urination or defecation, altered bowel functions and heavy menstrual bleeding.
The reason endometriosis is not fully understood yet, but there are suspected links, like being exposed to estrogen for a longer period, so you get your period earlier and go into menopause later in life. This condition affects 1 in 10 women in Australia so if you suffer from endometriosis you are not alone.
There is a relationship between diet and endometriosis. One study in 2017 showed there was a link in certain foods consumed and your risk of developing endometriosis. This study found red meat, Trans fat and fruit all increased your risk. Fruit may be due to the pesticides on the fruit which is consumed when you eat the skin of stone fruit or an apple. The option could be going organic, but this may not be necessary or possible. Research has shown if you wash your fruit thoroughly in baking soda this can help to remove the pesticides from the skin of fruit.
The foods, nutrients, and specific macronutrients which you want to add into your diet to help reduce your risk of endometriosis include:
- Safcol Seafood – Research has shown that women with endometriosis have lower levels of vitamin D. Seafood is a fantastic source of this fat-soluble vitamin and Safcol Seafood provides an array of choices to suit any taste preference.
- B vitamins – From bread and cereals, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, animal products. B12 is an important vitamin to decrease your risk of endometriosis and is found in animal products like meat, poultry, Safcol seafood and dairy.
- A high antioxidant diet – Including all your serves of fruits and vegetables needed for your needs.
- Fibre – Meeting 25-30g of fibre needed a day for health.
- Healthy fat from fish or fish oil. Food always trumps supplements due to its matrix of health benefits. Why not save yourself some money and opt for one of the delicious varieties of seafood produced by Safcol Seafood?
You may think that soy needs to be removed from your diet as it contains phytoestrogens which can weakly mimic estrogen in your body and weakly bind with estrogen receptors. However, the risk of including soy is not set in stone and some people, especially those following a vegan diet may be including this food as a staple source of calcium and protein. The best way forward is stick to the recommended 2 serves of soy a day and try to choose minimally processed over the ultra-processed foods which include soy, like fake meat.
Specific mention needs to be given to the brassica or cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussel sprouts and bok choy. These contain indoles which help aid the liver’s ability to naturally ‘detox estrogen’ which means there is less around to promote the growth of endometriosis. This group is also abundant in fibre which feeds the good bacteria in your gut. These good bacteria make an enzyme which can change the function of estrogen which assists in keeping your risk of endometriosis low.
Take home message
Nutrition alone is unlikely to solve endometriosis, but it does have an effect. Diet in combination with support from your doctor can allow your body the best health outcome and this is something which you deserve.