Endometriosis can cause painful periods, exhaustion,
bloating, back pain..and make it more difficult
But, there is hope!
Dietary modification is one of the best things
that you can do to reduce your endo symptoms.
Today on Nourish, we’re going to discuss the
six most important dietary strategies you
should be following if you have endometriosis.
If you’ve got endo, I’m sure that by now you
know that it is a chronic inflammatory condition
that results in tissue (which is similar
to the lining of the uterus).. growing in
other parts of the body, most commonly within
This results in severe menstrual pain and
bleeding, chronic pain, and can result in
There are different stages or grades of endometriosis,
but altering your diet can help in reducing
symptoms and pain.
Okay, number one is to focus on fats.
As endometriosis is an inflammatory disorder,
it’s important to focus on consuming foods
which can reduce inflammation.
I’m sure you’ve heard about “good” fats and
“bad” fats…well bad fats promote inflammation
and good fats reduce it.
For example, trans fats are “bad” fats found
in processed foods such as fried food, pastries,
cakes, biscuits and refined oils.
They are produced through high levels of processing
and induce an inflammatory response in your
Palmitic acid is another fat that has also
been linked to increased rates of endometriosis.
This fat is found mostly in red meat and again
heightens the inflammatory response in your
So, a practical strategy would be to replace
some of your red meat intake with vegetable
sources of protein such as lentils, chickpeas
Omega-3 fats, on the other hand, is an anti-inflammatory
fat which can actually improve endometriosis
A study by researchers from Harvard University
found that women who ate high levels of omega
3 rich foods were 22% less likely to develop
And some small studies have found that boosting
omega-3 intake has reduced period pain for
women with endometriosis.
Good sources of omega-3 include fish, as well
as nuts and seeds.
Strategy number two is to boost your intake
Women with endometriosis have an increased
number of highly reactive substances in their
body, known as free radicals.
These little monsters cause something known
as “oxidative stress”, which really just means
they enhance inflammation.
Antioxidants can reduce the number of free
radicals by binding with them to create a
more stable form.
This reduces the amount of oxidative stress
and therefore reduces inflammation in those
One study researched the effects of antioxidants,
using vitamin E and C supplements, on endometriosis
pain and found that 43% of those with a higher
intake of antioxidants reported less pain
compared to 0% from the group without supplementation.
Not only this, but three different inflammatory
markers were found to be significantly lower
in those taking the antioxidant supplement
compared to those without supplementation.
Before you go out and buy a whole lot of supplements
though, can I encourage you to look at your
Vitamin C is found in oranges, strawberries,
spinach, broccoli, mangoes and kiwifruit,
while Vitamin E is found in avocados, nuts,
seeds and grains.
Getting your antioxidants from food will ensure
that you’re getting all of the other key nutrients
that you need from these healthy foods too…which
brings me to number three.
Fibre can help excrete oestrogen out of the
body through a process known as “barrier protection”
in which fibre surrounds substances and takes
them on a journey to outside the body before
they can be absorbed.
You may be thinking, ‘but I don’t want my
hormones gone, do I’?
Excess oestrogen in the body can worsen the
effects of endometriosis by promoting inflammation.
Yes we need oestrogen, but too much oestrogen
stimulates the formation of nasty substances
which ACT like hormones- these are called
I like to think of prostaglandins like a fake
OK, I admit it.
I was tempted into purchasing one when I was
It looked like a Gucci handbag, felt like
a Gucci handbag…But within a few weeks,
it had fallen to pieces in my hand.
Prostagladins are just like a fake Gucci handbag.
They look like estrogen, but instead of doing
what they’re supposed to, they reek havoc.
Prostaglandins increase inflammation and heighten
Along with this, too much oestrogen has been
found to actually increase endometriosis cell
growth and numbers, meaning larger cells and
more of them.
So, aim for a diet with at least 25 grams
of fibre per day from foods like fruit, vegetables,
nuts, legumes and grains.
Dietary strategy number 4 is to focus on choosing
low GI foods.
High GI foods have been found to increase
the insulin response which may lead to it
increasing the numbers of endometriosis cells.
So, put down the white bread and potatoes
and choose low GI foods like sweet potato,
pasta, oats and barley.
Strategy number five is to reduce your intake
A diet rich in fruit and veggies is obviously
a good idea if you have endo as they are rich
in antioxidants and high in fibre, however
exposure to pesticides and dioxins found on
fruit and vegetables have been positively
associated with endometriosis and its symptoms.
This is probably due to certain pesticides
interfering with hormonal pathways and contributing
to oxidative stress.
So, if you’ve got endo, or have a high risk
of developing endo because you have others
with endo in your family, you may wish to
consider trying organic produce, which would
remove the risk of pesticides worsening your
symptoms while still getting all the benefits
of eating fruit and vegetables.
Finally, strategy number six is to trial a
low FODMAP diet
An Australian study conducted by Monash University
found that there is a high level of overlap
between women who have Irritable Bowel Syndrome
and women who have endometriosis.
Furthermore, their research discovered that
women who had both endo AND IBS found significant
improvements in pain, bloating and digestive
issues with a low FODMAP diet.
The low FODMAP diet is a diet which limits
fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides,
monosaccharides and polyols, then challenges
these to help you work out which of these
fermentable carbohydrates your body is reacting
OK, so I’ve given you a lot of information
So, let’s summarise:
Ensure that you’re eating lots of good fats
such as fish and nuts, and limit your intake
of bad fats from biscuits and fried foods
Number 2: Check that your diet is rich in antioxidants
by eating a diet with lots of fresh fruit
Make sure that you’re eating at least 25 grams
of fibre each day
Choose low GI foods by swapping white bread
with a dense wholegrain bread or swapping
sugary breakfast cereals for oats
Reduce your intake of pesticides by investing
in organic fruits and veg, and
If you have bloating or bowel issues, see
a dietitian about trialling a low FODMAP diet.
Now, I’m sure that you’ll have loads of questions,
so feel free to post them in the comments
And, to make all this easier for you, I’d
love you to download my free meal plan.
Just go to www.melaniemcgrice.com/fertility.
I look forward to catching up with you next
week on Nourish.