Simplifying Dietary Advice for Endometriosis
With so much dietary advice at our fingertips, it is easy to find yourself confused about what you really should be eating. There are so many conflicting views. The most common diet that is prescribed to women with endometriosis is the “endo diet.” But what about the paleo diet, the anti-inflammatory paleo diet, the anti-inflammatory diet, and the low histamine diet? Most nutritionists will be able to see merit in the application of all of those diets. However, each woman with endo experiences such a difference in the presentation of her symptoms, support network, and life circumstances that it can be difficult to choose one way of eating over another.
When it comes to dietary change, the best changes are incremental. That is, by changing things one step at a time. These types of changes do not overwhelm, nor do they feel restrictive and are generally better adhered to in the long run. This is an important factor to consider if you are just starting with dietary modification for reduction in symptoms or to improve your quality of life.
What factors should be considered when changing your diet?
Everybody is individual. Some patients respond well to low histamine diets, vegetarian paleo diet, whilst others that find that just restricting gluten was the step they need to take. Looking at the bigger picture of health, it is important to ensure that the diet is healthy and balanced. It is also important to consider both short-term and longer-term health and disease prevention. Imagine adding on further disease to those suffering endometriosis. The physical, social and economic burden from endometriosis are already so enormous, it doesn't bear thinking about.1 When framed this way, it is easy for a nutritionist to decide what dietary modifications to start with first.
Where is a good place to start with dietary change?
Diet is a modifiable factor for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease. The evidence also suggests that certain foods are associated with endo symptoms and disease progression.2 When deciding where to start, where these paths cross is a probably a good place.
Which foods should you focus on?
Eating a lot of red meat, trans-fats, and caffeine can negatively impact endometriosis. These are also foods that are linked with cardiovascular disease and obesity. Interestingly, endometriosis and many chronic diseases are associated with low consumption of fruit and vegetables. This provides the perfect place to begin for changing your diet to improve your endo symptoms. The bottom line is, if you are looking to change your diet, don't get overwhelmed. It doesn't have to be complicated. Just start by taking small steps to reduce red meat and caffeine, avoid trans fats, and eat your fruit and vegetables. Who knows, you might find that you manage to reduce your endo symptoms and your chances of diseases like cardiovascular disease at the same time.
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