While dairy is an important part of a balanced diet, as dairy is an excellent source of calcium, women with endometriosis may benefit from minimizing their consumption of dairy products.
Dairy can contribute to stimulating the production of prostaglandins, thereby worsening your symptoms. If you are planning to eliminate dairy from your diet, it is important to find other sources of calcium in order to meet your daily intake requirement of 1000mg/day.
Alternative sources of calcium can include:
- Dark green vegetables (i.e. spinach, broccoli, bok choy and kale)
- Calcium fortified tofu
- Sesame seeds
- Salmon and sardines
- Other food items fortified with calcium, like orange juice
Animal meat, though a good source of protein, is another food source that can aggravate your symptoms. In particular, meat, as well as lard which comes from animal fat, is known to promote PGF2a, so reducing your consumption may be helpful.
To ensure you still have adequate protein intake, though, try incorporating some of these protein-rich foods into your diet:
- Nuts (i.e. pecans, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, chestnuts)
- Seeds (i.e. sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, flaxseeds)
Other Foods to Avoid
In general, there are a number of foods that women with endometriosis are advised to avoid.
- Caffeine (i.e. coffee, tea)
- Saturated fats
- Butter and margarine
- Drinks and foods with a high sugar content
- Refined carbohydrates (i.e. pasta, bread, cakes, pastries)
- Fried foods
Furthermore, while soy products are often touted as a great alternative to meat, they may not be ideal for those with endometriosis, who are sensitive to estrogen.
Some of the isoflavones found in non-fermented soy products have been known to disrupt and interfere with certain tissues, especially in women sensitive to estrogen. Limiting your consumption of soy products that are not fermented to two to three times a week or less is best.
Also, keep in mind that every woman is different. It is very likely that you may have specific foods, like tomatoes or hot drinks, that aggravate your symptoms.
Paying attention to how your body reacts to certain foods will help you understand better which foods to eliminate during menstruation.
Finally, in order for women to have healthy diets, it may be necessary to use supplements to make sure you are getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals.
If your periods are exceptionally long and/or heavy, you may want to discuss with your doctor using iron supplements to guard against iron deficiency or anemia.
The endometriosis diet should diminish your endometriosis symptoms; and for those looking to lose weight, changing your eating habits to minimize endometriosis symptoms should minimize your waistline as well, since maintaining a healthy balance and cutting out bad-for-you foods is central to both!