This month we’ve been paying close attention to how to achieve healthy Female Hormones and how best to manage the sometimes unpleasant side effects or conditions that hormonal imbalances present.
Did You Know?
One in 10 women of reproductive age in the UK suffers from endometriosis. 176 million worldwide. The prevalence of endometriosis in women with infertility is as high as 50 per cent. Endometriosis is the second most common gynaecological condition (after fibroids) in the UK.
There are numerous natural strategies to improve hormone balance and support people suffering from endometriosis. If you’re dealing with endometriosis or its complications, include these foods for an effective nutritional,natural support strategy.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a painful condition where the tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of the uterine cavity. This displaced endometrial tissue leads to cysts, scar tissue, and adhesions. Endometriosis can spread to other areas of the body such as the ovaries, pelvis, bladder, bowel and fallopian tubes, this can eventually lead to cysts and scar tissue.
Here are the common symptoms of endometriosis;
- Generalised pelvic pain
- Heavy or irregular periods
- Painful periods
- Painful sex
- Back pain
- Diarrhoea, bloating, pain during a bowel
movement or urination.
There are different theories as to the cause of endometriosis, but the exact cause for each individual is unclear. Inflammation, hormonal imbalances, blood sugar imbalances, bacteria, and environmental toxins are factors that have been shown to contribute to the development and progression of endometriosis. Endometriosis is sensitive to oestrogen and the balance of oestrogen in the body seems to have a significant role to play in the condition. Bringing excess oestrogen back into balance and supporting the body’s ability to safely process and eliminate it from the body are crucial aspects of a support protocol. Since safe oestrogen processing relies on both a healthy gut microbiome and optimal liver function these are crucial areas of support too.
What Can You Eat For Endometriosis?
Reach For These 10 Dietary Delights To Naturally Support Symptoms Of Endometriosis.
1. Add Phytoestrogen-Rich Foods
Phytoestrogens are trace biochemicals produced by plants that act like estrogens in animal cells and bodies. A number of epidemiological studies have reported a connection between high dietary intake of phytoestrogens and lower rates of certain cancers, cardiovascular problems, and menopausal symptoms. Daily intakes of 45 mg of phytoestrogens have been shown to have beneficial stabilizing effects on hormone balance.
The list of foods that contain phytoestrogens includes; soybeans, tofu, tempeh, soy beverages, linseed (flax), sesame seeds, wheat, berries, oats, barley, dried beans, lentils, rice, alfalfa, mung beans, miso, tempeh, chickpeas, apples, carrots, wheat germ, rice, bran, and soy linseed bread.
To ensure you get these nutrients in, try Seed Cycling For Female Hormone Balance
Various kinds of phytoestrogens are also found in many medicinal herbs, including red clover, black cohosh, alfalfa, hops, liquorice, and turmeric, so there are plenty of ways to include phytoestrogen-rich foods into your diet
2. Choose Organic and Free-Range Foods
Research has shown that pesticides like organochlorines, organophosphates, bipyridines have been associated with decreased antioxidant capacity of fruits and vegetables. In addition, organochlorines have been shown to negatively affect hormonal pathways. Dairy and meat products have added hormones that may be linked with hormone imbalances in patients with endometriosis.
To reduce the number of hormones in your foods and your overall intake of toxins which in turn takes the pressure off of the liver choose organic milk or dairy-free milk and grass-fed beef. Avoid refined and processed foods cook meals with fresh whole foods from scratch. Choose wholegrain versions of carbohydrate foods such as quinoa and oats.
3. Include Good Quality Protein
Lean meats are lower in saturated fat to better control cholesterol levels. Source reliable and responsibly sourced poultry, meat, tofu, tempeh, beans, chickpeas, eggs, oily fish, be sure to eat these with healthy fats like nuts, avocados and fish and vegetable oils.
4. Increase the Variety of Plant Foods.
Aim for 40+ different types of fruits, vegetables and culinary herbs in your diet each week. Include plant foods rich in prebiotic fibres such as chicory root, dandelion greens, Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, onions and asparagus, and resistant starch such as cooked potatoes left to cool and then eaten cold. Try out the Diversity Diet to guarantee variety in your diet for optimal Hormonal Health.
5. Be good to your gut with pre and probiotics
Probiotic foods may not only be good for our intestines, but they also affect the onset and progression of endometriosis, which can lead to infertility. Good bacteria in the gut is one factor that may prevent women from developing endometriosis. Additionally, gut microbiota also plays a role in balancing the hormones in our bodies. When the bacteria in our guts are out of balance, called gut dysbiosis, it is likely that the hormones in our body are also unbalanced.
Prioritise a daily portion of pre and probiotic foods, these are found in fermented foods, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, Yogurt, Kefir, Tempeh, Pickles, legumes, beans, berries, asparagus, dandelion greens and garlic.
6. Increase Your Intake of Omega-3 Rich fats
Oils are high in Omega-3s and antioxidants which are anti-inflammatory. They are also rich in monounsaturated fats that raise good cholesterol (HDLs) and lower bad cholesterol (LDLs). Expelled cold-pressed oil is best since it is not chemically treated and heated at lower temperatures to extract the oil. When cooking with oil, use lower temperatures as higher temperatures increase the production of trans fat.
Drizzle cold-pressed oils on salads, over vegetables for roasting or sautéing, or even popcorn! Mix organic butter with a cold-pressed oil for a healthier spread.
Great sources of Omegas are found in Extra virgin olive oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, flaxseed oils, nut-based oils, oily fish, nuts, seeds and their oils.
7. Include Liver-Supportive Foods and Drinks
One of the liver’s roles is to help regulate the balance of sex hormones, thyroid hormones, cortisone and other adrenal hormones. The liver transforms or removes any excess hormones from the body.
Eat Fresh parsley, artichoke, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, swede, turnips, kale and watercress
Teas like nettle tea and green tea
Drink plenty of fresh filtered water daily.
Milk Thistle is an effective herb for detoxifying the liver, promoting the flow of bile and protecting hepatocytes (liver cells). Milk thistle protects the liver from exposure to toxins. Additionally, its derivative is an antioxidant that lowers the liver oxidative stress levels associated with toxin metabolism
Drink Lemon Water. Lemons help the liver detoxify the body by regulating hormones like glucose and leptin.
8. Take In Turmeric
Turmeric is a powerful herb with abundant health benefits. It has been used for centuries to treat a variety of conditions. Turmeric has antioxidant, anti-thrombotic, and antimicrobial properties. It is a potent anti-inflammatory that can improve symptoms of endometriosis.
Curcuminoids are bioactive compounds found in turmeric. Curcumin is the main curcuminoid. It inhibits the growth of endometriosis through several mechanisms. Curcumin was found to suppress the growth of endometrial cells by reducing estradiol production. Estradiol is the major estrogen made in the ovaries.
Curcumin also downregulates vascular endothelial growth factor, a protein produced by cells that stimulate the formation of blood vessels. This can decrease the growth of endometrial cells in endometriosis
9. Must-Have Magnesium
Typically lacking from the everyday westernised diet yet this mineral is essential to support a healthy oestrogen balance. As a general rule, foods that are high in fibre provide magnesium. Some good sources of magnesium include leafy green vegetables, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, almonds, spinach, boiled, peanuts, soymilk, oatmeal, bread, whole wheat, Avocado and brown rice.
10. Increase Cruciferous Vegetables
Some of the greatest vegetables for endometriosis are from the cruciferous vegetable category! These vegetables are the powerhouse players of veggie nutrition. They can help to eliminate excess estrogen from the body which is found in women with endometriosis and help to improve the immune system.
Some examples of these ‘cruciferous incredibles’ include Arugula, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collard greens, Kale, Kohlrabi, Radishes, Turnips, and Watercress.
Elimination and Endometriosis
To help manage painful symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea, and cramping that can be associated with endometriosis, certain foods can be eliminated from the diet that worsens these symptoms. Research has shown that a gluten-free diet can lead to dramatic pelvic pain reduction in women suffering from endometriosis.
These may include:
- Dairy contains a sugar called lactose that may be difficult for some women to breakdown and digest, causing cramping, diarrhoea, and pain.
- Gluten is a protein found in grains and wheat products that have been shown to cause diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and bloating in women with gluten sensitivity. Gluten can cause the malabsorption of vitamins and minerals that regulate hormones. Gluten, also can cause inflammation and induce autoimmune reactions that attack hormones and hormone receptors.
- Added sugars in processed foods, such as packaged or prepared foods, soft drinks and baked goods, can increase inflammation.