“Eat enough fruits and vegetables”
I am sure that most of us would have heard this sentence more than a thousand times from different people when emphasizing the importance of vitamins, but it’s so sad that this advice has fallen on many deaf ears.
The truth is that chronic inflammation driven by inflammatory lifestyles and poor diets is one of the leading causes of chronic disease. For people with endometriosis, eating for health can make a dramatic difference to the quality of life and improve symptoms of the disease.
I would like to share some vitamins that can help improve menstrual cycles while also addressing endometriosis. All nutrients are important, so this piece is not about making you focus on only these vitamins. I hope this list encourages you to eat a wider variety of food to ensure you’re getting adequate levels of the nutrients you need.
Vitamin E: Endometriosis is an inflammatory disease, and vitamin E is a very good antioxidant that has been proven to significantly reduce pelvic pain, both during sex and during menstruation, in people with endometriosis. Food sources include: seafood, avocado, olive oil, walnuts, almonds, and green leafy vegetables
Vitamin C: Vitamin C can increase progesterone levels. Low levels of progesterone can cause cyclical migraines, fertility struggles, PMS, and depression, among other symptoms. In fact, some of what we may think are endometriosis symptoms may actually be due to hormonal imbalances. Some food Sources of Vitamin C are: oranges, lemon, pawpaw, sweet potato, mango, and carrot
Probiotics: Probiotics are good bacteria that help keep your gut healthy. These help to regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation and they may also help relieve some endometriosis-related symptoms. Examples of probiotics are yogurt and cheese
Vitamin D: Vitamin D has been found to help reduce pain in people with dysmenorrhea, and low levels of the vitamin have been linked to the occurrence of menstrual disorders. Its deficiency has also been strongly linked to endometriosis. Many of us struggle to get enough vitamin D. It’s found in eggs, and oily fish and we also create it from sunlight
Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 helps to clear excess estrogen by supporting the liver to filter the hormone out of the body once it’s been used. It has also been found to raise progesterone levels, and this makes it helpful if there are signs of progesterone deficiency or estrogen dominance, such as heavy periods or painful cramps. Fish, beans, bananas, potatoes, and other starchy vegetables are good sources of this vitamin.
Omega-3 fatty acids: As I mentioned earlier, endometriosis is an inflammatory condition, so inflammation makes symptoms worse. Omega-3 fats can help calm inflammation. Good sources include Fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, and tuna, nuts and seeds, like walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseed, and plant oils, such as olive oil and canola oil.
Dietary Fiber: Fiber in the diet makes way for an easy bowel movement and your body gets rid of excess estrogen in the stool. It is important to have a healthy bowel movement every day. If you don’t, you probably have constipation, and your estrogen levels could be too high. But you have to increase your fiber intake gradually as adding a lot of fiber at once can cause bloating, gas, and digestive discomfort. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are rich in fiber.
Zinc and Magnesium: Zinc regulates your menstrual cycles, which is important for hormonal balance and Magnesium helps with menstrual cramps, it is a natural muscle relaxer. Zinc sources Include Chicken or turkey, red meat (but this should be limited to two low-fat servings per week), shellfish, like oysters, crab, and lobster, while foods like Leafy green vegetables, like kale and spinach, beans, nuts, and seeds, especially almonds and pumpkin seeds are good sources of magnesium.
Herbs: such as chamomile, peppermint, turmeric, and ginger are also known to improve symptoms of endometriosis
In Conclusion, eating an array of healthy foods is a great way to ensure you’re supporting your body to fight inflammation and improve symptoms of endometriosis.
Do you need to consult a dietitian? Book your appointment today!