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“What is the best diet for endo?”

I get this question a lot.

Here’s the thing — nutrition for endo is not black and white. We all have a unique history and therefore unique needs. That said, there are a few basic principals that I’ve found to be clinical “Golden Rules” for successfully managing endo pain:

🌈Eat a rainbow” aka eat a variety of foods (yes, including some animal products), as close to their “whole” or natural form as possible. The more processed a food is, the less nutrients it has. Remember, endo babes tend to be nutrient deficient, making it harder to put out the inflammatory “fire.” To combat this, we must eat whole foods!

🌱Eat mostly plants (ideally 80% of each meal). Plants contain nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fiber and other naturally occurring goodies like resveratrol & inositol 👉🏼inflammation fighting rockstars.

🤟🏾Fat is your friend. Specifically, fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K which are essential to combat inflammation. Food sources that are highest in these vitamins? Liver, grass fed butter, egg yolks & sardines. 🛑 Not all fats are created equal, though. Some are actually pro-inflammatory (“vegetable” oils made from soy, corn, canola, margarine, etc). Instead, reach for avocados, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, olive oil, and cold pressed oils like flax.

🥩Choose animal products wisely. Not all animal products are created equal. A grass-fed steak, for example, contains significantly more anti-inflammatory omega-3s than a conventionally raised grain-fed steak. Wild caught salmon is high in omega-3s, while farmed salmon is pro-inflammatory. Same goes for grass fed dairy vs conventionally raised.

🤔Be mindful of food sensitivities & gut health, & limit pro-inflammatory foods. Most endo babes have some degree of gut impairment. This often manifests as intestinal permeability aka “leaky gut” which can lead to chronic inflammation and a susceptibility to food intolerances. Dairy, eggs and gluten may be a problem for endo babes, even from the best of sources. Refined sugars (even from natural sources) will also ☝🏼 inflammation. This does not mean that you should never have these foods, but you may want to do some experimenting to see which foods you tolerate and which may lead to endo symptoms. I also often see an imbalance in the microbiome of the gut (dysbiosis) with endo, which can also add fuel to the “inflammation fire” and contribute to malabsorption issues and hormonal imbalances.

🙌🏼Connect with your food & cultivate a joy for cooking & sharing meals. Food brings people together, and we need each other to thrive. ❤️

🙋🏻‍♀️ Q: “But aren’t animal products bad for endo?” The short answer is, there are no “bad” foods. But there are foods that may make endo symptoms worse, and which foods those are depends on the product… and the person. More on this next.

Love,

Dr. Merritt