Fibroids and endometriosis are conditions that impact many women in the United States. Endometriosis occurs when uterine lining cells grow outside the uterus; fibroids are benign tumors that grow in the uterus. Both conditions can trigger pain and fertility problems. Your physician may recommend traditional therapies to prevent or treat fibroids or endometriosis, but there are foods that fight these conditions that you may include in your meal plan. Always consult a health care provider before trying a new therapy or altering your diet, especially if you have a health condition.
Foods Rich in Fiber
The daily recommended intake of fiber stands at 25 g of fiber for women, although you need less as you get older -- 21 g if you are over the age of 51. This is critically important if you have fibroids or endometriosis. Johanna Skilling, author of "Fibroids: The Complete Guide to Taking Charge of Your Physical, Emotional and Sexual Well-Being," suggests that boosting fiber intake to 30 g per day reduces the amount of estrogen in your body, the hormone that triggers fibroid growth. Additionally, eating a high-fiber, plant-based diet may help protect you from endometriosis. Choose fruits and vegetables as well as whole grain foods such as pasta and bread to increase your fiber intake.
Add cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli or Brussels sprouts, to avoid fibroids. Compounds that exist in these good-for-you vegetables fight changes in tissues in your body, which can prevent the formation of noncancerous growths, including fibroids. Mary Lou Ballweg, author of "Endometriosis," points to the estrogen-lowering abilities of cruciferous vegetables as beneficial for both endometriosis and fibroids.
Including fatty fish in your diet, the kind that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, may reduce your risk of endometriosis. A study published in the June 2010 issue of the journal "Human Reproductions" indicates that female study participants who consumed the most omega-3 fats demonstrated considerably less risk -- 22 percent -- of an endometriosis diagnosis than those who eat the lowest amount. If you have fibroids, you can benefit from eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids as well; these fats reduce the formation of scar formation and decrease inflammation associated with the condition. The fish highest in omega-3 fats include albacore tuna, mackerel, salmon and herring.
Foods High in Lycopene
Supplement your meal plan with foods high in lycopene, a compound that provides certain fruits and vegetables -- such as tomatoes, pink grapefruit and watermelon -- with their coloring. Research featured in the February 2008 issue of "Nutrition Research" suggests that a diet that includes lycopene may reduce risk of fibroid growth. This study was carried out in animal models, so more research is required to determine if this finding correlates to humans.
- MayoClinic.com: Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet
- "Fibroids: The Complete Guide to Taking Charge of Your Physical, Emotional and Sexual Well-Being"; J. Skilling, et al.; 2006
- NutritionMD.org: Endometriosis: Nutritional Considerations
- Eat Right America; Cruciferous Vegetables; J. Fuhrman, M.D.
- "Endometriosis: The Complete Reference for Taking Charge of Your Health"; Mary Lou Ballweg; 2003
- "Human Reproduction"; A Prospective Study of Dietary Fat Consumption and Endometriosis Risk; S.A. Missmer, et al.; June 2010