3 Foods to avoid for endometriosis (and 3 to eat!)
I know when I first started on my journey with healing Endometriosis using natural methods, I found it incredibly confusing. There seemed to be a long list of foods that I was told were best to avoid and yet, somehow there didn’t seem to be many that were recommended that I should eat. I was often left standing in the middle of the supermarket, staring at the shelves, wondering what there was left to eat!
There is one major benefit I found with Endometriosis which perhaps seems ironic to some but for me, it allowed me to become a great Guinea Pig for women with Endometriosis. See, for me…. my pain is immediate! My Endometriosis would flare up fairly instantly when I ate something that didn’t agree with me. This offered me a strange advantage: I could nail down exactly what foods triggered pain and then find the opposite foods that could lower it.
So, I bring you my top 3 recommended “Go To Foods” and my top 3 “Stay Clear Foods”. There are obviously others, but to me, these ones gave me the most obvious reactions and benefits.
The most logical place to start is with the foods that create pain as we can avoid those nasty flare-up’s from the beginning.
The “Stay Clear Foods”
Gluten is actually a protein that is found in all grains. The type of gluten we are mostly concerned with is the one found in wheat. See, it is not the same as it used to be! This gluten has been hybridized and processed in a way that is very difficult for our bodies to digest. 70% of the world’s population actually struggle to digest this new form of wheat. It instantly creates an inflammatory reaction within the body but what makes it so harmful is that it limits mineral and vitamin absorption. With women with Endometriosis, it limits those same minerals and vitamins that we so desperately need including the Vitamin B’s, Iron, Selenium, and Iodine.
The strain of wheat is often used in other grains such as barley, rye, and spelt. It is therefore advised to avoid all gluten and not just wheat-based foods.
If this is the first time you are hearing this, you are probably freaking out now. What? I can’t have any bread? I know I believed there was nothing left to eat when bread, pasta and my favorite chocolate chip cookies were no longer an option.
There are fabulous alternatives like quinoa seeds, millet and chia seeds. Truth is, when we start getting creative about what we eat, breads and pasta is just so passé. (Just love that word!)
2. Soy Products
Soy is probably one of those confusing foods. Many proclaim that it has incredible sources of protein and that it is a great health food. I have found that for Endometriosis women it is not a recommended food. It is very high in phytoestrogens. These are plant-based hormones and will alter our natural hormone balance. With Endometriosis, we tend to naturally have imbalances when it comes to our hormones. Women with Endometriosis are often estrogen dominant, which basically means we have too many estrogens and not enough progesterones. These hormones work like a seesaw and too much of one or the other is not a good thing.
Soy has been shown to alter the natural hormone balance in women and particularly women with Endometriosis. This means, we should avoid any foods that contain high amounts of soy and even traces of soy. That includes soy milk, soy ice-creams and soy products. We should also be careful of hidden soy ingredients, such as soy lecithin often found in chocolates, protein powders and many packaged foods. Some soy products are however beneficial for women with Endometriosis, particularly those which have been fermented such as tempeh and natto.
The way soy is produced and extracted is also questionable for our general health. Soy is often sourced from genetically modified beans and is extracted using hexane gas.
3. Flax seeds
I absolutely loved flax seeds when I first discovered them. They were a great source of Omega 3’s and contain high amounts of protein. Unfortunately, after a few months of eating them and religiously slurping my flax oil, my pain became quite intense. I eliminated all other possible culprits and eventually settled on triple researching flax.
What I discovered was that flax oils can frequently be rancid. This means, that instead of being beneficial to the body they actually become free radicals in the body. Free radicals create damage and will make us age faster too! Definitely, don’t want that to happen.
Flax is also highly estrogenic and once again will create imbalances with our hormones.
* There are many foods, oils and supplements which are estrogenic in nature. Most plants are naturally estrogenic and it is impossible to avoid all of them. Soy and Flax that have very high levels of plant estrogens, which is why they have made it on my list of “Stay Clear Foods”. You can read more about plant-based hormones through my website.
Okay, so we have gotten the nasty stuff out-of-the-way! Lets focus on all the good stuff we can add back into our bodies.
The “Go To Foods”
1. Brazil Nuts
I have always enjoyed nuts and when I discovered the amazing healing properties and minerals found in Brazil Nuts, I was very excited. There is a mineral which is found in high volumes within Brazil Nuts called Selenium. It is a mineral which is frequently deficient in those that suffer from Endometriosis. It is so well-recognized that farmers will feed their cows selenium to prevent them from getting Endometriosis!
By eating just two Brazil Nuts a day, we will get sufficient quantities of Selenium to meet our daily needs.
2. Those Leafy Greens
They keep coming up, don’t they? Well, these guys are crucial from so many aspects. They help detoxify our bodies, they ensure our digestion has got adequate roughage and they provide us with heaps of good Vitamins and minerals. The one we are really interested in is folates. This is the natural form of Folic Acid we have been encouraged to take. Folates are found naturally in dark leafy greens and provides the building blocks for red blood cells and provide heaps of healing for Endometriosis.
You can get dark leafy greens into your body is simple ways like juicing and blending combinations together. There are also forms of dark leafy greens which provide even more benefits than the usual salads. Try Moringa leaf, Dandelion leaves and Beetroot leaves in your next salad for a wider variety of nutritional benefits.
3. Chia Seeds
This tiny little black seed provides a fabulous source of Omega 3 and healing for our bodies. This source of Omega 3 provides healing for Endometriosis as it balances out the Omega 3 to 6 ratio. Most of us have an imbalance of too much Omega 6 fats in the body. This imbalance creates an inflammatory reaction and with Endometriosis this is really noticeable!
The Chia Seed is also loaded with minerals and vitamins and includes some great anti-oxidants like Quercetin and Myricetin.
Chia Seeds also provide a great remedy for digestive troubles. Many women with Endometriosis also experience symptoms of IBS. Chia Seeds provide a mucus layer for the intestinal wall and help heal Leaky Gut Syndrome – a condition very common with women with Endometriosis.
My favorite way to eat Chia Seeds is in a pudding recipe. It tastes delicious and you can add a whole bunch of superfoods to the mix. I enjoy having Chia as a desert and even breakfast. It certainly keeps me regular and has reduced any inflammation.
Endometriosis has given me an amazing gift as I was able to heal my body, simply by learning to listen and recognize what triggered pain and what provided healing. Nature has provided us with so many amazing tools to heal.
These are just some of my favorites.
What foods, herbs and tools have you found that have helped your Endometriosis?