10 foods to avoid with endometriosis
There are certain foods to avoid with endometriosis. In fact, many women who suffer from endometriosis can improve their condition and symptoms naturally by simply controlling their diet. Knowing what not to eat can make a significant difference in how someone with endometriosis feels.
Creating an endometriosis-friendly diet involves eliminating foods that increase prostaglandins. Prostaglandins stimulate estrogen, which is the main hormone that wreaks havoc on someone with endometriosis. Estrogen is responsible for symptoms such as painful menstrual cramps, as well as meorrhagia (heavy periods), diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
However, when you learn which foods to avoid with endometriosis, you’ll find that not all prostaglandins are bad. For example, prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) actually helps relieve symptoms, while prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and prostaglandin F2a (PGF2a) help with the symptoms mentioned above.
Here are 10 foods to avoid with endometriosis –
1. Sugar – Sugar in any form (refined, artificial, natural) can produce a more acidic environment that can promote inflammatory pain from endometriosis. It is therefore a good idea to limit the consumption of chocolate, sweeteners, drinks and sweets rich in sugar and honey.
2. Wheat – Wheat contains phytic acid which can aggravate symptoms of endometriosis. Additionally, wheat contains gluten and studies have shown that many people with endometriosis seem to have a sensitivity to gluten which can cause and increase painful symptoms. Products containing wheat and gluten should be avoided or limited.
3. Soy Products – Like wheat, soy contains phytic acid; however, phytic acid levels in soy are significantly higher than in wheat. Phytic acid is known to irritate the digestive system and reduce the absorption of minerals, especially calcium. Soy is found in many food products, including granola, pasta, meat imitations, soy milk, soy-based cheese, and more.
4. Caffeine – Caffeine, especially when consumed in large amounts, has been found to increase estrogen levels, which can trigger attacks of endometriosis and cause the disease to develop. Caffeinated foods to avoid with endometriosis include coffee, tea, and sodas. Consuming more than two cups of coffee a day can cause estrogen levels to rise.
5. Alcohol – Alcohol devours the B vitamin stored in the liver. Liver function plays a vital role in eliminating excess estrogen which helps control endometriosis. Removing alcohol from the body puts excessive stress on the liver, preventing it from expelling other elements from the body.
6. Dairy products – Dairy products stimulate the production of PGE2 and PGF2a, which can make symptoms worse. The main dairy products you should avoid with endometriosis include milk and cheeses. To help maintain calcium levels, you can find other sources of calcium in sesame seeds, almonds, salmon, sardines, seaweed, figs, and calcium-fortified foods (ie. i.e. tofu, orange juice, etc.) products such as pasteurized milk with soy milk, as soy can also make symptoms worse.
7. Red meat – Meat promotes the production of PGF2a. Additionally, red meat may contain growth hormones, including estrogen. If meat is your main source of protein, you can get the protein you need from other high protein foods such as beans, tofu, tempeh, walnuts, cashews, chestnuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds and peanuts.
8. Saturated fats and oils – Foods rich in fatty acids stimulate the production of PGE2 and PGF2a. Fatty acids are found in saturated fats, oils (i.e. coconut oil, palm oil, etc.), butter, margarine, lard, organ meats and many fried foods.
9. Refined carbohydrates – refined carbohydrates (ie white bread, pasta, flour, pastries, cakes, etc.) have lost most of their natural nutrients. Refined carbohydrates deplete the body’s nutritional stores because they are needed for the body to absorb the nutrients found in refined carbohydrates. This can lead to symptoms of endometriosis. Instead of refined carbs, stick to unrefined carbs such as wholegrain breads, pasta, rice, etc.
10. Additives and Preservatives – Processed, frozen and pre-packaged are foods to avoid with endometriosis as they are full of additives, chemical preservatives and many other ingredients that promote poor health and PGE2 and PGF2.