Many women who are trying to conceive have small uterine fibroids. In such circumstances it becomes important to take steps to reduce fibroid growth to reduce the risk that existing fibroids may impair fertility. Women who have had had uterine fibroids removed may be at higher risk for developing new fibroids and may also benefit from taking steps to retard fibroid growth. A number of factors are know to increase the risk of developing fibroids, such as vitamin D deficiency, and research continues to tease out nutritional factors which may make fuel uterine fibroid growth.
A novel study set out to test the hypothesis that a low fruit intake may increase the incidence of uterine fibroids and that higher fruit intakes may help to retard fibroid growth. This study focused on black women as they have a significantly higher incidence (three times greater) of uterine fibroids.
The study followed 22,583 pre-menopausal women between 1997 and 2009 and analyzed their diets for fruit content, the incidence of uterine fibroids was assessed by ultrasonography. Twenty nine percent of the women developed fibroids over the course of the observation period. The results showed that high fruit and vegetable diets had a very protective effect against fibroid development and the effect was especially pronounced for fruit, particularly citrus fruit. Dietary pre-formed vitamin A was also found to be protective.
How much fruit did it take to make a difference? Just two servings of fruit a day were found to help reduce the incidence of fibroids by 11% compared to women who barely ate fruit. Eating four servings or more of fruit a day made women 10% less likely to develop fibroids and the researchers concluded that:
"These data suggest a reduced risk of UL (uterine fibroids) among women with a greater dietary intake of fruit and preformed vitamin A."
"Our study suggests that uterine fibroids can now be added to the list of potential health outcomes for which increased fruit and vegetable intake might be beneficial."
If you have small fibroids and are trying to conceive, adopting a high fruit and vegetable diet - preferably organic - may be able to slow the growth of existing fibroids and prevent new growths naturally. If you know that you have small fibroids - or have had fibroids removed and are trying to conceive eating more fruit daily may help to keep fibroids at bay.
This article is intended for informational purposes only and is NOT intended to diagnose, offer medical or nutritional treatment or replace medical or nutritional advice for which you should consult a suitably qualified physician or dietitian.
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Intake of fruit, vegetables, and carotenoids in relation to risk of uterine leiomyomata1,2,3,4 Lauren A Wise,Rose G Radin, Julie R Palmer, Shiriki K Kumanyika, Deborah A Boggs, and Lynn Rosenberg First published November 9, 2011, doi: 10.3945/ ajcn.111.016600 Am J Clin Nutr December 2011 ajcn.016600