If you’re a woman who’s been diagnosed with uterine fibroids or muscular tumors of the uterus, you might be worried about what lies ahead. And it might help to know that you’re not alone. In fact, about 20–80% of women are at risk of developing fibroids before they hit their fifties. While some of these women live with fibroids without ever being troubled by any of their symptoms, others go through a host of reproductive health complications, the most complex one being infertility.
Typically, fibroids stop growing and shrink with the arrival of menopause, which is why its growth might be influenced by the reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone. But once they cause symptoms, conventional medicine recommends treating this condition with the help of hormone therapy which shrinks the fibroids, surgical removal of fibroids, or the removal of the uterus itself. However, more and more women today are seeking less aggressive interventions with fewer side effects from alternative health systems. And if you’re one of them, we’ve got all the options listed below.
1Eat A Low-Estrogen, “Fibroid” Diet
Switching up your diet can help your body cope with fibroids. Studies have found that they tend to grow and cause severe symptoms when your body has high levels of estrogen. A “fibroid diet” should, hence, be one that balances estrogen levels in the body. To do so, it’s important that your diet supports liver function, which is responsible for removing excess estrogen from your body. Here are a few things you should keep in mind.
Eat Low-Fat Foods
A high-fat diet has been associated with higher concentrations of estradiol, a steroid hormone that increases the risk of developing uterine fibroids. In fact, research has found that women with uterine fibroids tend to eat a lot of red meats and not enough fish, green vegetables, and fruit. Excessive intake of meat and poultry can build up fat in the body. This fat, in turn, is used by the body to produce more estrogen, which then puts undue pressure on the liver. So be sure to avoid transfats and limit foods rich in saturated fats such as red meat, lard, cream, cheese, and poultry with skin. Instead, opt for beans and legumes and choose low-fat organic dairy products.
It might be a good idea to skip that beer with your meal or at least, limit yourself to one pint if you’ve got fibroids. Studies have found that alcohol consumption is directly proportionate to the prevalence of uterine fibroids. This is because alcohol intake stresses out the liver, hampering its ability to process estrogen.1
Most of us are addicted to our morning cuppa. But, if you’ve got fibroids, it might do you good to either completely avoid or reduce your caffeine intake. Too much caffeine is known to promote hormonal imbalance by adversely affecting the liver’s ability to process estrogen. Besides this, caffeine can also interfere with the body’s ability to absorb iron, which can be problematic seeing as how women with fibroids may already be anemic due to heavy bleeding. A good way to quit caffeine is to slowly try herbal teas such as chamomile, oat straw, valerian, or vervain. That said, do remember that caffeine is not limited to coffee. Other foods with high caffeine content include energy drinks, tea, sodas, chocolate bars, and certain flavors of ice cream.
Avoid Processed Foods
Skip the processed food aisle at your next grocery run. This is because your liver needs B vitamins, such as vitamin B6, to effectively process estrogens and restore hormonal balance in order to stop fibroid growth, However, processed foods containing artificial colors such as hydrazine and tartrazine, preservatives, and flavorings hamper this process. Not only do some of them promote hormonal imbalance and trigger fibroids but they are also believed to be carcinogenic. Besides this, food processing techniques are also known to strip foods of magnesium and zinc. And studies have found that deficiencies of these nutrients can increase your risk of fibroids. So say no to food that’s boxed, canned, frozen, and packaged. Instead, opt for wholesome, fresh fruits and vegetables as well as meals that you’ve made from scratch.
Load Up On Nutrient-Rich Foods
While there is no single diet that is perfect for everyone, certain foods might improve a woman’s hormonal health. Studies have found that women whose diets included a higher measure of fresh fruits, vegetables, and preformed vitamin A (found in dairy and fish) had a lower risk of developing fibroids. Here are a few foods you should load up on.
- Cruciferous vegetables: These are known to be especially capable of converting estrogen into helpful hormone-balancing by-products, reducing the risk of fibroids.
- Cold-water deep-sea fish: Fishes like salmon, tuna, herring, halibut, mackerel, and sardines are usually rich in fish oils, which the body uses to manufacture prostaglandin E3 (PGE3), which are anti-inflammatory hormone-like compounds that lower pain caused by fibroids.
- Organic eggs: These are a healthy source of protein. Organic eggs generally come from poultry that is given feed high in omega-3 fatty acids, making the eggs rich in the nutrient.
- Garlic and onions: The antioxidants in onions and garlic are very beneficial for fibroid-afflicted women. Garlic, in particular, can help shrink and prevent fibroids through its ability to prevent the formation of new blood vessels and thereby limit blood supply to fibroids.