Many women have uterine fibroids which if they become large can interfere with fertility. If you have had fibroids removed - or if you have existing fibroids - it may be helpful to become apprized of the dietary factors which may encourage fibroid growth so you can take steps to keep your fibroids small and preserve your fertility. African American women are especially prone to fibroids and may want to take extra care.
Although your doctor may not mention your diet as a factor in fibroid growth, numerous studies have demonstrated that certain nutritional factors may encourage fibroid growth, one such fibroid-stimulating factor to be aware of is a high glycemic diet otherwise known as a high GI diet.
The glycemic index of a food is simply a measure of how quickly a food releases glucose into your blood stream. Most foods when digested are broken down into glucose which is released slowly - or quickly - depending upon the food. Foods which release glucose fast can trigger a substance called insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) which can spur and feed fibroid growth.
A study (1) followed 21,861 premenopausal women for ten years to record incidence of fibroids (diagnosed by ultrasound) and assessed the frequency of high-glycemic foods. The study discovered that having a high glycemic diet was especially correlated with uterine fibroids in women under 35 years of age and concluded that:
"Our results suggest that high dietary GI and GL may be associated with an increased UL risk in some women. The observed associations warrant investigation in future studies."
If you want to lower your risk of having fibroids you may want to become familiar with the glycemic index; there are many books and online resources that have extensive glycemic indexes of foods to help you make the right choices.
Generally speaking refined grains such as white flour products have a very high glycemic index, think white bread, crackers and cakes / cookies. Other high glycemic foods include mashed potato, instant oatmeal, breakfast many cereals, sugary foods and drinks such as sodas and fruit juice.
A low glycemic diet is rich in beans, vegetables, and low-glycemic fruits such as apples and berries, whole-grains, healthy fats, nuts and seeds and moderate amounts of fish, meat, dairy foods and eggs.
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 licensed dietitian.
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1. Dietary glycemic index and load in relation to risk of uterine leiomyomata in the Black Women's Health Study1,2,3 Rose G Radin, Julie R Palmer, Lynn Rosenberg, Shiriki K Kumanyika, and Lauren A Wise Am J Clin Nutr May 2010 vol. 91 no. 5 1281-1288