When dealing with endometriosis, what you put into your body is as important for your fertility as what you don’t. I venture a guess you understand through all of your research about naturally managing endometriosis that things like red meat, dairy (particularly conventional dairy), gluten and refined sugar are all foods to avoid. You know to eat your vegetables and lots of them, and now it’s time to eat more antioxidant-rich foods and omega-3 essential fatty acids every day!
Include These In Your Endometriosis Diet!
Do you know why you need to eat antioxidant-rich and omega-3 foods every day if you have endometriosis? Because they help the body fight endometriosis by protecting against free-radical damage and are extremely anti-inflammatory. Yet, there’s more…
Many fertility foods provide antioxidants that protect DNA (egg and sperm cells contain your DNA) and reduce the formation of free radicals. These are both very important benefits no matter one’s fertility health journey, but may be particularly necessary for women with endometriosis.
Studies have provided evidence suggesting that lower antioxidant intake has a direct connection to how severe a women’s experience of endometriosis is — her levels of pain and inflammation, the rate of endometrial lesion/cell growth, as well as metabolic and immune function.
There are many ways to consume antioxidants as is covered in our guide New Research Shows The Importance of Antioxidants for Women with Endometriosis. I also wanted to share my favorite food sources of important antioxidants to consume. They are:
- Green tea – Green tea* offers concentrated antioxidants, the most notable and talked about being the polyphenols Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) and L-theanine.
- Cereal brans – wheat germ, rice bran and oat bran – Wheat germ provides a concentrated amount of vitamin E. Vitamin E is known to prevent oxidative damage of the cells, even blood cells helping to prevent anemia for those with endometriosis and heavy menstruation.
- Fruits and veggies high in vitamin C – Acerola cherries, guava, persimmons, papaya, strawberries, citrus fruits and oranges, tomatoes, kiwifruit, cauliflower, kale, spinach, mustard greens, parsley, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and red cabbage.
A trial published in Central Society for Clinical Research; Journal of laboratory and clinical medicine shared by LifeExtension found that
“…in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial, 59 women between 19 and 41 years of age were allocated to receive a combination of 1200 IU of vitamin E along with 1000 mg of vitamin C or a placebo each day for 8 weeks. Following the 8-week treatment period, 43% of women who received the vitamin E and C combination experienced reduction in chronic pain, 37% experienced reduction in pain associated with menstruation, and 24% experienced reduction in pain during intercourse compared to the placebo group. Moreover, several markers of inflammation and oxidative stress were reduced in the peritoneal fluid of women who took the antioxidants.”
- Turmeric (Curcuma longa) – Turmeric is richest in the polyphenol curcumin, an antioxidant that trials are proving to be not only anti-inflammatory, but also anti-proliferative, meaning it may prevent the spread of endometrial cells into tissues where they don’t belong.
Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids
Omega-3s EFAs – ALA, EPA and DHA – help the body quell and fight inflammation, yet have so many other benefits to offer as well. Preliminary studies are finding that endometriosis adhesions and inflammation were reduced in women regularly consuming omega-3s. The best food sources of omega-3s are:
- Fatty fish and fish oils – Wild Alaskan Salmon, herring, halibut and cod liver oil are all rich sources of long-chain omega-3 essential fatty acids.
- Raw walnuts, hemp seed and flaxseeds/oil – Each are excellent vegetarian/vegan sources of omega-3s. They are also a wonderful source of vitamin E (many nuts are).
Eat well and lots of these foods!
The Fertility Diet is far from limiting and we regularly hear of its benefits from those who commit to this varied, healthy, whole food way of eating on a daily basis. Increased energy and focus, positive changes in mood and PMS, the menstrual cycle and even changes in endometriosis symptoms are very common. Enjoy lots of fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, cold-water fish and turmeric, even green tea!
*Note: If you enjoy green tea, it may be best to drink it apart from taking your wholefood multivitamin. There is preliminary research suggesting green tea may inhibit the body’s ability to properly absorb folic acid.
- Functional Foods Fact Sheet: Omega-3 Fatty Acids. (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.foodinsight.org/Functional_Foods_Fact_Sheet_Omega_3_Fatty_Acids
- Willett, E. (n.d.) Green Tea – Do I Really Have to Avoid it in Pregnancy?. Retrieved from: https://natural-fertility-info.com/green-tea-pregnancy.html
- Endometriosis: Dietary and Lifestyle Considerations (n.d.) Retrieved from: http://www.lifeextension.com/Protocols/Female-Reproductive/Endometriosis/Page-09
- Akyol, A., ŞimşeK, M.,İlhana, R., Can, B., Baspina, M. et al. (December 2016). Efficacies of vitamin D and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on experimental endometriosis. Taiwanese Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. v55: 6 (pp 835-839). Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1028455916301954
- Endometriosis: Targeted Natural Interventions (n.d.) Retrieved from: http://www.lifeextension.com/Protocols/Female-Reproductive/Endometriosis/Page-10
- Santanam, N., Kavtaradze, N., Murphy, A., Dominguez, C. and Parthasarathy, S. (March 2013). Antioxidant supplementation reduces endometriosis-related pelvic pain in humans. Transl Res. 2013 Mar;161(3):189-95. doi: 10.1016/j.trsl.2012.05.001. Epub 2012 May. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3484190/
- Chi Wai Man, G., Xu, H. and Wang, C.C. (2012). Green Tea for Endometriosis, Endometriosis – Basic Concepts and Current Research Trends, Prof. Koel Chaudhury (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-51-0524-4, InTech, Retrieved from: https://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs-wm/36764.pdf