First things first, approximately three (3) million women in Canada suffer from Endometriosis. So let’s start with what is it? Endometriosis is a medical condition that occurs when the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium, grows in other places, such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries or along the pelvis. In severe cases, it can spread and attach itself to just about anything that crosses its path; bladder, bowels and intestines.
When that lining breaks down, like the regular lining in the uterus that produces the menstruation, it has nowhere to go.
This causes cysts, heavy periods, severe cramps and even infertility.
The endometrial tissue may also grow in the vagina, cervix, bowel or bladder, and in rare cases it may spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs.
Not so lovely, is it? And I can assure you that any woman who has been diagnosed with this condition, suffers from it, in one degree to another.
Potentially one of the worst parts of this condition is there is no proven theory how or why it happens. Now, there are theories as to why in the medical world but nothing definitive. So, where does one begin to prevent this condition? Unfortunately because there is no direct or root cause, this can be difficult. What we can do however is learn the ways in which we can manage it, starting with diet.
According to a British nutritionist, “Women with endometriosis should avoid fatty foods, such as red meat and high fat dairy foods that may be high in PCBs and dioxins, to reduce their exposure to these estrogenic pesticides”.
Use organic food whenever feasible, or peel fruits and vegetables, she recommends. Some research suggests a link between dioxins in the environment and increased levels of estrogen.
Several of Ki’s Kitchen’s customers, unfortunately suffer from this condition and we have worked on compiling a list for both them, and our readers (you) on foods to avoid at all costs, and foods to consider adding to your diet. Because we are disease prevention and management focus, based on a vegan style diet, we have created the lists with this in mind.
Buy the freshest food you can find and eat it while it’s still, fresh. Avoid highly processed foods full of additives (this should go without saying). Cook with fresh foods, but also eat some raw vegetables and fruit every day. To minimize exposure to pesticides, eat organically grown produce whenever possible.
Include nuts, seeds, and legumes (such as beans),red or orange vegetables, green leafy vegetables, and fruits, including berries, which are high in antioxidants.
A healthy liver with a healthy supply of B vitamins can degrade estradiol to estriol. Estriol is the form in which estrogen will bind to fibre and excreted. The diet needs to have sufficient fiber and B vitamins from green vegetables to help the body deal with the constant breakdown of circulating estrogens.
Green, leafy vegetables can also help the nervous and immune systems, and magnesium relaxes smooth muscles found in the intestines and uterus.
The best vegetables: those in the cruciferous family, such as cabbage, sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, turnips, radishes, horseradish, and watercress.
Because of the amount of bleeding that can occur with people who suffer from endometriosis (whom also haven’t had a hysterectomy for example) it is important to replace the iron lost. Foods rich in iron such as; green, leafy vegetables, beetroot, dried apricots, and plain chocolate (you’re welcome for that one – but PLEASE be mindful of how much chocolate… we’re talking small amounts, and the darker the better!)
Adding fibre to your diet is great for a ton of reasons, and managing endometriosis is one of them! Fibre from fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains (for those who are not gluten free) including rye, oats, rice, corn, millet, and buckwheat to keep your intestinal tract healthy and promote the excretion of excess estrogens.
Eating a wheat-free diet seems to help many women with endometriosis symptoms. Whether this is a result of gluten or another component of wheat is unclear at this stage. But, it may be worth excluding wheat for one month to see if it makes a difference to your abdominal pains at periods and ovulation.
You could (and in our opinion, should) also try to exclude dairy foods if you have excess mucus problems. When removing dairy, to replace the calcium component, we suggest adding foods rich in calcium such as sesame seeds for example.
There is suggestion that foods high in citrus such as grapefruits, can also be a trigger for flare ups with those who suffer from this condition. Similar to other elimination suggestions, you may want to consider eliminating them for a period of time and reintroducing slowly to see how your body reacts.
Bottom line, if a food you are eating is causing you discomfort, stop eating it. Not only are you upsetting the digestion in your body but you are also contributing to an immune system response (not a good thing!)
If you have any specific questions when it comes to this condition, you should speak with your physician or registered dietician. Ki’s Kitchen would be more than pleased to help accommodate any requests that may contribute to your overall health and managing any troublesome symptoms.
Thank you so much for visiting! I hope you have found some valuable information, if so, I’d love to hear about it! Please feel free to share this post with anyone who might benefit, and comments are always welcomed and appreciated.
I look forward to connecting with you next time!
From our kitchen to yours,
Love + Peace