Hi everyone, happy midweek.
So we were talking about the endo diet and what can exacerbate the symptoms of endometriosis. Apart from reducing the levels of estrogen in the body, there’s also the need to reduce prostaglandins. These are very complex natural fatty acids that are derived from dietary sources. It is thought that much of menstrual and endometriosis pain is due to inflammation caused by high levels of ” bad prostaglandins”. There’s also “good prostaglandins” which counteracts the levels of the bad ones and this is where a good diet comes in. Simply cutting down on saturated and animal fats can boost the levels of good prostaglandins in the body thereby reducing inflammation and pain.
So far, so depressing. However the good news is that there are actually other tasty food groups to eat. The idea is to eat a high fibre and plant based diet:
Fruits and vegetables- All types of fruits and vegetables which include but are not limited to apples, lemons, spinach( good for efo stew), lettuce, broccoli, green beans, carrots etc. If possible, buy organic produce as non organic have been treated with pesticides and chemicals. Raw fruits and veg are extremely rich in fiber which decreases and eliminates estrogen through the liver.
Whole grains- These are cereal grains that contain all the essential parts and naturally occuring nutrients of the entire grain seed in their original proprtions unlike refined or processed grains. e.g oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice or pasta, whole grain bread and bagels. These foods are also rich in fiber and nutrients.
Nuts and seeds- These add vitamins, minerals, fiber and essential fatty acids like omega 3 n 6 to your diet and should be consumed raw e.g almonds, cashews, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts etc. The good oils in omega 3 leads to good prostaglandin production.
Oily fish and legumes-These include sardines, herring, salmon, mackerel ( titus for my Naija sisters) etc. Legumes include beans, peas , lentils etc.
This is not an exhaustive list so please do more research. There’s also white meat like turkey and chicken(skinless), onions, garlic, ginger, mushrooms etc. The key is reducing estrogen and prostaglandins levels in the body and boosting the immune system and balancing hormones. Understandably, this is a lot of hardwork especially as you are used to eating certain types of food all your life but unfortunately, this disease has changed all that. I had been doing some research now for a few years on how to combat this disease and changing one’s diet always comes up constantly. I had to retrain myself to think and eat healthily( most of the time) For my Naija and African sisters, l know some of these foods might not be readily available but l stand to be corrected. However,l know fruits and veg are mostly available. Nuts like peanuts and cashews too should be easy to find too and of course, beans, fish, chicken and turkey shouldn’t pose a problem. Now whole grains is a different matter. I’m not sure if brown rice and pasta or whole bread without wheat are easy to find; however please do give tips if there are supermarkets that stock these. Now l know you are all wondering what l actually eat! Well, my meals consists of beans or grilled veg like big peppers, mushrooms, onions, broccoli with fish, chicken or turkey. This would be my main meal in the evening. For breakfast, it’s normally soup( it’s always too early for me to eat in the morning anyway) and lunch, wholegrain bread . Snacks are fruits or nuts and seeds. Determination has made me find ways of making these meals tasty however it can still be a bore so l tend to relax on the weekends and eat “forbidden” foods in small quantities. l also relax on holidays abroad( my last visit to Naija still makes my mouth water; my mum, mother-in-law and friends all competed among themselves to give me the best Naija cuisine!) and date nights with my hubby( life is too short!). I tend to restrict myself at parties and on visits to family and friends but on important occasions like Christmas, it would simply be too offensive and rude to let all that lovely food go to waste!
My sisters, this is my experience with the diet and it has been working for me. Please do send in tips of any diet that has worked for you too and remember to consult your doctor before changing your diet. Thanks for reading.