Can Fruits and Vegetables Help Endometriosis?
An Italian study (1) analyzed the diets of 504 women - all with laparoscopically confirmed endometriosis and their diets were compared to 504 female controls without endometriosis.
This study found that there was a 40% reduction in the risk of having endometriosis when women ate a diet rich in green vegetables and fresh fruits and concluded that:
"This study suggests a link between diet and risk of endometriosis."
Certain types of green vegetables and fruits seemed to confer a higher level of protection and these include: spinach/other greens, cruciferous vegetables - think broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts - green and red salads, zucchini and artichokes.
Fruits which included in the study were: citrus, apple, peach, melon, strawberries/cherries, bananas and pears.
If you are planning to increase your fruit and vegetable intake to minimize your endometriosis risks you may want to become aware of the 'dirty dozen' list. This is an annually updated list of the most pesticide-laden produce compiled by the Environmental Working Group. The list is available annually at ewg.org and you can also download it an an iphone app. for convenience while shopping.
The complete list of pesticide levels in all fruits and vegetables is also available for fuller information along with the 'clean 15' list which identifies the fifteen types of fruits and vegetables with the lowest pesticide residue levels of non-organic produce.
According to the Environmental Working Group, avoiding or minimizing consumption of the dirty dozen - or eating these fruits and vegetables only if organically grown - may cut your pesticide exposure by 80 percent or more. And that's huge.
There is suspicion that synthetic chemicals may also be connected with endometriosis and the dirty dozen list is a great way to minimize pesticides while avoiding the costs of switching to a 100% organic diet.
Meat and dairy food may also be rich in estrogenic substances and pesticides - especially if non-organic, non-grass-fed - as a result of current farming practices. Organic meat and dairy may also be a good choice if you hope to reduce endometriosis in your body.
Certain vegetables may also to help process and eliminate estrogen more effectively which could help to lessen risks for endometriosis growth. Lightly steamed, fermented or raw cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts or other brassicas such as broccoli sprouts are thought to have potent estrogen clearing effects which may help lessen endometriosis. Cooking lessens the anti-estrogen activity of these vegetables.
Simply changing your diet may help you to stay endometriosis free for longer after having your endometriosis surgically removed. Simple, natural changes such as increasing fruits and vegetables may have far-reaching effects for improving fertility when endometriosis is your diagnosis. Be sure to ask your physician before radically changing your diet, a dietitian can help to construct a healthy we--balanced diet if you need some help.
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This article is for purely informational purposes and is not intended to diagnose to treat medical conditions or to offer nutritional advice for which you should consult a physician or dietitian.
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 Selected food intake and risk of endometriosis. Human Reproduction. (2004) 19 8: 1755-1759 Parazzini et al.
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