Endometriosis is a painful chronic inflammatory disease that affects millions of women in Germany. Hormone therapy is often tried, but it is often very stressful due to its side effects.
A change in diet alone can make a huge difference. Nutritherapy is based on several pillars, including:
- inhibition of chronic inflammation through an anti-inflammatory diet with good fats and secondary plant substances
- Reduction of irritants like histamine
- if overweight: Lower estrogen levels losing excess pounds.
Meat consumption should be limited, as red meat and cold cuts in particular contain many pro-inflammatory substances. Among them is arachidonic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid found primarily in pork. Too much sugar also promotes inflammation. Therefore, it makes sense to limit the consumption of snacks, sweets, pastries and white flour products. Wheat is also pro-inflammatory for some.
Instead, plenty of vegetables should be on the menu. There are current studies indicate that cruciferous vegetables have a beneficial effect on inflammation in endometriosis. They also affect the water balance of the tissues: less water, less swelling and potentially less discomfort.
Omega-3 fatty acids also effectively support the body in the fight against inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids are found especially in high-fat fish such as salmon, herring, and mackerel, as well as high-quality flaxseed oil. Other sources of omega-3s include canola oil, walnut oil, and especially algal oil.
In case of endometriosis, note intolerances and allergies
Endometriosis rarely occurs in isolation – autoimmune diseases or bowel problems due to intolerance or allergies are fairly common companions. A diagnostic clarification is worthwhile. Avoiding gluten, for example, sometimes leads to a significant improvement in symptoms. You can know exactly what to omit by keeping a food diary. Professional assistance (nutritional or Nutritionists can be extremely helpful here.
In order to protect the intestines, those affected should eat only small amounts of flatulent vegetables such as raw onions, garlic, cabbage and legumes and preferably not eat raw vegetables in the evening. Other advice: Drink coffee and alcohol in moderation, preferably plain water and not freshly baked bread.
Omit cycle-dependent histamine in endometriosis
Since histamines can increase pain and many affected individuals are particularly sensitive to them, cycle-dependent histamine omission can help alleviate symptoms. Using an elimination diet for a good four weeks, it is possible to determine if and to what extent avoiding histamines improves symptoms. Since a low-histamine diet is very restrictive, you should definitely keep a food and symptom diary and only omit what is really causing problems. So it may be a good idea to avoid foods that contain histamine for a week before your period and during your period. Histamine is found, for example, in chocolate, red wine, tomatoes, spinach, avocado and in lactic acid-fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut, as well as in cured cheeses or sausages.
Balancing Hormone Levels With Weight Loss
Obesity alters the hormonal balance. The fact that abdominal fat emits pro-inflammatory messenger substances makes the symptoms worse. Weight loss can reduce hormone levels, preventing the growth of new endometriotic tissue.
What to eat for endometriosis: foods and recipes
If you change your diet to include anti-inflammatory foods (see below), you can ease your symptoms and save on some medications. If you are sensitive to histamine, please also refer to the histamine list (PDF), depending on your cycle if necessary.
2 palm-sized servings/day
Recommended: Wheat-free bakery: thin wholemeal bread – preferably toasted, crispy wholemeal bread, wholemeal bread rolls; Wholemeal pasta (spelt), brown rice, boiled potatoes, quinoa, millet, oatmeal, sugar-free muesli
Not recommended: white bread, croissant, crusty bread, rusks, wheat and milk rolls, pretzels; Wheat noodles (durum), fries, croquettes, mashed potatoes, potato pancakes