Trying to figure out how to eat for endometriosis? Like most endo warriors, you’ve probably scoured the internet for that one proven endometriosis diet that will make your symptoms disappear. The truth is, endo requires a multifaceted approach — there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment for endometriosis, including nutrition…and that’s okay! In fact, it’s more than okay because it means we have the freedom to create a diet that works uniquely for us.
So, what’s the secret to managing endometriosis symptoms through your diet? It’s all about embracing a few key principles that support your overall health and well-being.
1) Optimize Nutrient Intake to Fight Inflammation
Did you know that nutrient deficiencies can be linked to a significant worsening of endometriosis symptoms? To combat this, we suggest shifting your focus away from restrictive diets and toward nourishing your body with nutrient-dense foods. A simple place to start is by aiming to eat 5-7 half cup servings of veggies per day. Simply put, “eat the rainbow” every day!
Nutrient density is all about getting the most bang for your calorie buck. Opt for foods like cold-water fatty fish, seafood, organ meats, healthy fats, and tons of veggies. These choices provide your body with essential vitamins and minerals, helping to reverse nutrient deficiencies and support your immune system.
2) Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Balance
Surprisingly, blood sugar plays a significant role in how endometriosis behaves. High or low glucose levels can contribute to more inflammation and worsening of endo symptoms. If you struggle with blood sugar regulation, you might unknowingly be fueling your endo symptoms with each meal.
3) Identify Your Inflammatory Triggers for Endo
Inflammation is a hot topic in the world of endometriosis diets, but it’s essential to separate fact from fiction. While some foods may trigger inflammation in certain individuals, it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario. Focus on reducing processed, refined foods loaded with sugar, starch, and vegetable oil. These culprits are often real troublemakers. You may have been told or read somewhere to cut out gluten and dairy completely. While this may be helpful, try to tune into your body and to identify if gluten and dairy are triggers – ie, does eating them make you feel poorly? If you’re not sure, you could try a simple elimination diet for 4-6 weeks to evaluate more thoroughly.
4) Get Acquainted with Your Microbiome
Your gut health is closely linked to your overall health, and can have a significant impact on endometriosis symptoms. Dysbiosis (an imbalance of gut bacteria) may be contributing to the inflammation associated with endo, essentially adding “fuel” to the fire. The good news is that targeted diet and lifestyle changes can help restore balance. One way to figure out what type of dysbiosis is at play, if any, is a stool analysis. We often run a comprehensive stool analysis for patients in our clinic and find it can be very helpful in navigating next steps.
Ultimately, the optimal endometriosis diet is a personalized one. What works for one person might not work for the next with the exact same symptoms, and that’s perfectly okay. Shifting your perspective away from “what do I need to eliminate” and start healing your body by prioritizing nutrient-dense foods, balancing blood sugar, exploring potential food intolerances, and nourishing our gut.
You’ve got this, endo warrior. Progress, not perfection. Happy eating!