Inflammation is our body’s natural response as discussed in previous post – What are food – inflammatories?
Here, we will talk about the best foods that fight inflammation.
Whether you are an endo-sufferer or simply health-conscious, you will get some helpful recommendations in this post.
Nowadays, people get sick easily and there more cases of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Also known as modern-day metabolic diseases. My grandmother rarely falls ill because in their time they’re taught to eat veggies and fish.
Stress, environmental toxins, pandemic lack of sleep, unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle can all contribute to inflammation.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of good nutrition.
Even the bible have spoken a lot about it. “He gives food to every creature, His love endures forever.” – Psalm 136:25
As promised here are the best anti-inflammatory foods;
green leafy vegetables
fruits like anti-oxidant rich berries
herbs and spices including turmeric, cinnamon, etc.
*Broccoli is an example of cruciferous vegetables. It is highly nutritious and is rich in sulforaphane – an anti oxidant and anti-inflammatory that fights inflammation by reducing levels of cytokines and NF-kb. Sulforaphane is a sulfur-containing compound that gives it a bitter bite. Another superfood is spinach. No wonder it’s the favorite of popeye 🙂 Spinach is packed with anti-inflammatory carotenoids – pigments that give them it’s color (1,2)
*Fruits like berries are packed with anti-oxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Berries have anthocyanins which are effective anti-inflammatories and improve immunity. Polyphenols reduce the risk of chronic metabolical diseases and give the fruit its beautiful bright colors. (3)
*Fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, EPA & DHA. Great choices are wild salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel and anchovies. Omega-3 is mentioned in what to do when you have both endometriosis & adenomyosis (4)
*Whole grains are considered whole foods. Our stomach digest grains slowly, thereby minimising sudden spikes in blood sugar that promote inflammation. They are also a good source of magnesium. (5)
*Amino acid tryptophan on nuts lower pain sensitivity and examples of nuts are almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and so on. High in omega-3 fatty acids, some of the phytonutrients in walnuts are hard to find in other foods. (6)
Spirulina, turmeric and other herbals will be separately discussed in future post.
This type of assortment is very similar to a Mediterranean diet, while others call it Paleo diet. According to Harvard studies, chronic inflammation has been strongly linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression and Alzheimer’s.
Best way to fight inflammation is with a healthy diet.
Food that can trigger an inflammation is considered an inflammatory. Women with endometriosis/ or adenomyosis should stay away from these inflammatories to lessen flare up & discomforts we experience regularly.
Inflammation – is our body’s immune response, a natural response to protect itself from harm.
When our body is in continuous inflammation due to stress, bad habits & unhealthy eating, it becomes “chronic” manifesting into various symptoms such as; fatigue (loss of energy), digestive problems like diarrhea or constipation, skin issues, allergies, asthma, depression, anxiety, & high blood glucose levels.
With body in constant inflammation, our cells start attacking our body (auto-immune response). This results to many illnesses, e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, heart diseases and cancer.
So what are these inflammatories that we should get rid from our diet?
saturated and trans fatty acids
alcohol & caffeine
sodas & other drinks with artificial sweeteners
After that very painful attack recently, I’ve made a decision to really eliminate the inflammatories in my diet. In our international community we call it – endodiet.
I thought I was going to die in severe pain, while vomiting everything I ate that day. Perhaps, this is life-changing for me, optimistic as always, dealing with endometriosis while helping fellow endo-sufferers by sharing my story, learnings and researches.
Usual expression, but it is true – food is medicine.
Since inflammation can have so many triggers and there are inevitable factors such as pollution, injury or sickness. We have the power to control and be mindful of what we eat/drink to stay healthy or pain-free. Join me for further studies on how to help and manage our unique condition.
Next post we will discuss the best anti-inflammatories.
Having Endometriosis & Adenomyosis; avoiding hysterectomy by lifestyle/diet change
If you are like me, sadly, having both endometriosis and adenomyosis – we have natural alternatives to deal with these conditions. No need to suffer in silence, I know entirely how you feel and the infallible agony you are going through, for I’m experiencing it too!
I sympathised with my endo-sisters in their 20’s or 30’s who had hysterectomy as their last resort. That’s what most doctors would recommend to end patient’s complain about pain.
But is it the only cure?
If there’s anything we can do to avoid the ousting of our wombs or ovaries, we would definitely jump on it right? Most especially when we’re still trying to conceive. We are often confronted with varying dilemmas of whether to have it removed or not, take synthetic hormones to mask the symptoms and pain, and the endless misconception that the pain we are feeling is “normal” for women during their menstruation.
In Endometriosis Diet: Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid, there are certain lifestyle choices that play a big role in the progression of endometriosis or adenomyosis. Foods can greatly influence the hormones, particularly estrogen balance, and can negatively affect us with these conditions.
Both diseases are caused by what else – hormonal imbalance, usually an excessive of estrogen supply. The management for endometriosis and endometriosis is the conventional palliative therapy with pain medications and hormonal manipulation. Minor surgeries and the final course is hysterectomy.
“Various published studies have shown that 12% of patients with Adenomyosis also have been diagnosed with Endometriosis in other sites outside the uterus, within the pelvis. As high as 62% of women who had hysterectomy were found to have this disease on pathology reports.” – alternativesurgery.com
Endo-diet for me seems unthinkable & impractical (pardon the candidness). Of course I want to be healthy but being able to eat only what is suggested ugh! is a punishment. And so I thought of improvising, tweaking it a little bit. I call it my hormone-helper nutrition. Long name alright, it is basically a diet of having mostly plant-based whole foods and some selected supplements.
I still indulge on eating seafood, pork, free-range chicken but not red meat. I now avoid red meat, alcohol, artificial sweetener and other inflammatories. I also began reducing my calorie intake and monitor my calorie consumption. There’s a lot actually, but baby steps is crucial and really important.
So what is plant-based whole foods?
Plant-based examples; almond milk, coconut sugar, whole grains, cereal, nuts, legumes, fruits – food that didn’t undergo processing. Organic and free from chemical or GMO’s. The supplements I’m taking are posted in herbal supplements. We may have different reactions and in Filipino saying “hiyang” when certain herb improves our situation. So I suggest to do baby steps, take supplements one at a time and monitor any response.
Wellness practices – Lifestyle change
Exercise – when we sweat, our body releases endorphins. These are chemicals to help you become less sensitive to pain. It also triggers a positive feeling in the body, naming it “happy hormones”. Do you know that I went back to the gym and started doing dumbbell workouts, and I feel so good after workout.
R and R (rest and relaxation) – living in constant pain can cause more stress. Making symptoms worse and you more anxious and sensitive to pain. So chill out, relax and practice deep breathing exercises.
Acupuncture – this I have yet to try. It is a traditional Chinese therapy that uses fine needles to stimulate points in your body. It increases blood flow and releases natural pain-killing chemicals thus help us in pain during flare-ups.
Counting Calories – which helps a lot in weight management. Using a mobile app to assist you, I have the free version of – Lose it! and thinking of upgrading to premium because of a continued effort to improve my condition.
These are some points to consider or to try, paying tribute to my endo-community. I recently underwent some endometrial procedures, my doctor removed two benign polyps from my uterus (thank God) and so far I’m pain free!
Having both endometriosis and adenomyosis should not dictate your life. It led however to a drastic awakening on my part, but I got up and continue to get up in spite the pain. Seek help and there’s always hope – #endohope.
My Endometriosis Story: Journey through Pain
endometriosis story: procedures
endometriosis is different from period pains
herbal supplements for Endometriosis
endometriosis story: journey through pain 2
Years with endometriosis made me scour the internet for answers, explanations, & remedies. Spoke with many experts including my friends; Doc April Fabian and Doc Mae Syki-Young. Sadly, endometriosis and adenomyosis are both understudied and misunderstood. But no time for self-pity, not me, and so I began a crusade against most women’s health issues.
The thing with doctors is that they’re too busy to explain our illness. And so when I was made aware of these complications, it hit me hard – I’m not getting well. Instead of falling into despair, I decided to continue my advocacy, share my story so others can learn from it.
This post is to help my endo-sisters take care of themselves, save the rest of their reproductive organs in natural ways possible, manage painful symptoms, avoid further complications, when you’re like me – afflicted with endometriosis and adenomyosis.
So far, I had two surgeries since the time of diagnosis. First surgery when the doctor was proudly pre-occupied in using the latest technology, yet there was lack of sympathy and everything seemed fuzzy. I thought I had to seek another opinion. And so I did.
“The hard part is that you can’t really do anything—you can’t fix it.”
“You can treat heavy periods but you can’t get rid of adenomyosis without a hysterectomy. That’s why we don’t look for it [as doctors] because we can’t do anything about it.”
“People often think that with modern medicine, everything can be fixed. No, actually, a lot of things can’t be fixed but we can do a lot to minimize people’s symptoms,” explained Dr. Lisa Dabney (harpersbazaar.com)
I hope it’s not too late for me, my dear Nanay (grandma) would always remind and worry about me and I was like “I’ll be okay, this is nothing.” I’ve been always “matapang” which means brave in Filipino, in dealing with life’s hurdles. Until I discovered two years ago that I also have adenomyosis. So these two plus other adhesions are my arch nemeses.
“The medical definition of endometriosis does not even begin to describe the reality of what it means to have endometriosis. The next time you hear about endometriosis, please remember how devastating this disease can be to a person. While endometriosis can be frustrating, if you have a loved one, friend or co-worker who suffers from endometriosis, please remember to treat them with respect and compassion.” – vitalhealth.com
Endometriosis was explained in previous posts. You can check them here —
Adenomyosis in brief is a condition when the tissue that normally lines the uterus grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. Similar to endometriosis with displaced endometrial tissues but the affected area is different. In adenomysis it is inside the wall of the uterus, as to endometriosis is outside the uterus and can be on other organs of the body like intestines, appendix and lungs (rare).
Difference between Adenomyosis and Endometriosis
Though there are no specific cures, you can positively help your condition with pain management, healthy lifestyle, good/proper nutrition and exercise. The food we ingest affects our bodies especially our hormones. The endocrine system like the rest of our body systems work in complex structure that begins from ingestion of nutrients. And so we shall start with food.
There’s a diet called endo-diet. In endo-diet there are suggested foods to avoid and to take. See below;
Foods to avoid –
trans-fat – Recent research showed higher rates of endometriosis diagnosis among women who consume diet high in trans fat. Trans fat is found on fried, processed and fast foods.
red meat – the consumption of red meat can increase risk to develop endometriosis as suggested by some research.
gluten – there’s one study showed a decreased in pain by 75% after eliminating gluten in their diet.
FODMAP – stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These are all types of carbohydrates. When poorly absorbed, these can aggravate symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) including bloating, constipation, flatulence, pain and nausea. It is best to read the labels and watch out for the following that has FODMAP in it; fructose, lactose, polyols like xylitol, maltitol & mannitol found mainly on artificial sweeteners.
alcohol & caffeine – these can promote inflammation and worsening of our condition.
Foods to eat (yay!)
fibrous foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains
iron-riched foods to replenish the blood loss in heavy bleeding or clotting. Examples are dark leafy greens, broccoli, beans, nuts and seeds
foods high in essential fatty acids such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, chia and flax seeds
anti-oxidant rich foods like oranges, cranberry, dark chocolate (yum!) and beets
Supplements as mentioned in this post – herbal supplements for Endometriosis were found to be also beneficial. Studies showed significant reduction in pain & other crippling symptoms using supplementation.
There’s just too much, ikr! but ladies don’t lose hope. We can do baby steps, and remember you’re not alone.
Let’s continue on next post! Thanks for your time 🙂
Prayer of Gratitude
Thank you God for the times You have said “no.” They have helped me depend on You so much more.
Thank you, God, for unanswered prayer. It reminds me that You know what’s best for me, even when my opinion differs from Yours.
Thank You, Lord, for the things you have withheld from me. You have protected me from what I may never realize.
Thank You, God, for the doors You have closed. They have prevented me from going where You would rather not have me go.
Thank you, Lord, for the physical pain You’ve allowed in my life. It has helped me more closely relate to Your sufferings on my behalf.
Thank you, Lord, for the alone times in my life. Those times have forced me to lean in closer to You.
Thank you, God, for the uncertainties I’ve experienced. They have deepened my trust in You.
Thank You, Lord, for the times You came through for me when I didn’t even know I needed a rescue.
Thank You, Lord, for the losses I have experienced. They have been a reminder that You are my greatest gain.
Thank You, God, for the tears I have shed. They have kept my heart soft and mold-able.
Thank You, God, for the times I haven’t been able to control my circumstances. They have reminded me that You are sovereign and on the throne.
Thank You, God, for those people in my life whom You have called home to be with You. Their absence from this earth keeps my heart longing for heaven.
Thank You, God, that I have an inheritance in the heavenly places something that this world can never steal from me and I could never selfishly squander.
Thank You, God, for the greatest gift You could ever give me: forgiveness through Your perfect Son’s death on the cross on my behalf.
Thank You, God, for the righteousness You credited toward me, through the death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s a righteousness I could never earn or attain on my own.
Thank You, Father, that You know me, You hear me, and You see my tears. Remind me through difficult times that You are God, You are on the throne, and You are eternally good.
And thank You, Lord, not only for my eternal salvation, but for the salvation You afford every day of my life as You save me from myself, my foolishness, my own limited insights, and my frailties in light of Your power and strength.
prayer courtesy of a good family/friend who never fails to send me motivations daily.
Envious of other countries where they have shown support, sympathy and awareness to those suffering in endometriosis. There’s even an organisation to help endo-sufferers raise fund, and begin valuable scientific research to find a cure for this “invisible” illness.
I would like to start a campaign here in my homeland, gather all my endo-sisters because I know we are stronger together – let us not suffer in silence!
I always believe that when we help others, we all rise up. And I want you to know that you are not alone…
A procedure called hysteroscopy was done to me two days ago. But before I jump into that, let us begin with the basics.
There are several endometrial procedures one has to undergo to diagnose and manage – endometriosis.
1. It takes an average of 10 years to accurately diagnose endometriosis.
2. One in Ten (1 in 10) women gets affected by it.
3. that’s about 176 million women in the world have endometriosis.
4. 68% of women with endometriosis were misdiagnosed with another condition.
*ultrasound – to diagnose this illness or other causes of pelvic pain. This test uses high frequency sound waves to create images of what’s inside the body. It cannot tell however if you have endometriosis but still helpful to see if you have cyst formations. This I need to have yearly or as advised by my Ob to monitor the cysts, scars or adhesions due to endometriosis.
*laparoscopy – this is an invasive procedure which was done to me more than 5 years ago. During this test, the doctor will make tiny incisions to insert the laparoscope – in my case 5 incisions, to see the endometrial implants, some may have to collect sample for biopsy and remove adhesions.
*SISH (saline infusion sonography) – is a type of ultrasound where a small volume of saline is inserted into the uterus, which then allows the lining of the uterus to be clearly seen on uterine scan.
*hysteroscopy – using a hysteroscope, similar to that of laparoscopy, the doctor inserts that to view into the cervix and inside the uterus. It can also remove polyp/s like in my case, and get samples for lab testing.
These procedures are very crucial in diagnosing and management of this condition. Please see your doctor to help and guide you in your endo-journey.
Hope this post helps, supporting fellow endo-sisters an once of pain at a time. See you again.
related articles and resources:
endometriosis is different from period pains
My Endometriosis Story: Journey through Pain
herbal supplements for Endometriosis
My endometriosis story: Journey through pain 2
My Endometriosis Story: Post Op