Endometriosis affects millions of women worldwide, causing chronic pain, fertility challenges, and a significant impact on their overall well-being.
While medical treatments play a crucial role in managing endometriosis, the role of nutrition should not be overlooked.
A well-balanced diet tailored to the specific needs of individuals with endometriosis can help alleviate symptoms, reduce inflammation, and improve overall quality of life.
In this blog post, we will explore evidence-based nutrition strategies for managing endometriosis and discuss the invaluable support a registered dietitian can provide.
Before diving into nutrition management, let's briefly understand what endometriosis is.
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus, leading to pain, inflammation, and the formation of scar tissue.
Hormonal fluctuations throughout the menstrual cycle exacerbate symptoms, making dietary interventions an important component of managing the condition.
An anti-inflammatory diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can help reduce inflammation associated with endometriosis.
Foods high in antioxidants, such as berries, leafy greens, and fatty fish, can help combat oxidative stress and inflammation within the body .
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish (salmon, mackerel), walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds, possess anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce pain and inflammation associated with endometriosis .
Phytoestrogens are plant-based compounds that possess oestrogen-like properties.
Incorporating foods rich in phytoestrogens, such as soy products, lentils, and flaxseeds, may help balance oestrogen levels and reduce symptoms of endometriosis .
A diet high in fibre can aid in regular bowel movements and help eliminate excess oestrogen from the body.
Incorporate whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables to increase your fibre intake and support hormonal balance .
Certain foods may trigger inflammation and worsen symptoms in individuals with endometriosis.
While triggers can vary from person to person, common culprits include processed foods, high-sugar foods, caffeine, and alcohol.
It is essential to identify and eliminate or reduce these trigger foods from your diet .
Seeking guidance from a registered dietitian who specialises in endometriosis can be immensely beneficial.
A dietitian can provide personalised nutrition plans, offer education on symptom management through diet, and help you make sustainable lifestyle changes.
They can also provide ongoing support, monitor your progress, and adapt your dietary strategies as needed.
Incorporating evidence-based nutrition strategies into your daily routine can significantly impact your experience with endometriosis.
An anti-inflammatory diet, rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, phytoestrogens, and fibre, can help reduce inflammation, manage pain, and improve overall well-being.
Remember, working with a registered dietitian is crucial for individualised guidance and support on your endometriosis nutrition journey.
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FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols! They are a group of carbohydrates and sugar alcohols found in various foods. Sound confusing? Let’s elaborate.
These compounds are not fully absorbed in the small intestine and instead travel to the large intestine, where they can cause trouble for sensitive tummies, leading to those unwelcome digestive symptoms .
Let's meet the members of the different FODMAP groups and common foods which fall within these groups:
Oligosaccharides: These include fructans and GOS (Galacto-Oligosaccharides) and are commonly found in wheat, rye, onions, garlic, and legumes .
Disaccharides: Lactose, the sugar present in dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese, falls into this category.
For those with lactose intolerance, consuming these foods can lead to unpleasant symptoms, commonly loose bowel movements .
Monosaccharides: Fructose, the natural sugar found in fruits, honey, and high-fructose corn syrup, is part of this group.
While fruits are healthy options, some individuals may experience gut symptoms after eating certain high-fructose fruits .
Polyols: These are sugar alcohols like sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, and maltitol, which can be found in sugar-free gum, stone fruits, and certain artificial sweeteners .
These could be the sneaky additions to your diet that contribute to your symptoms of bloating!
Let's discuss the low FODMAP diet approach.
A common myth is that the low FODMAP diet is something you must maintain or stick to in order to maintain your symptoms. This is totally incorrect!
The low FODMAP diet is a 3-step process, not a life-long diet. It's not about banning all FODMAPs forever, because this would actually be terrible for your gut health long-term.
Although they can be problematic to sensitive tummies, These FODMAPs actually provide an essential food source to the healthy bacteria living in your gut, so cutting them out for long periods of time can actually do more harm than good!
Rather we use this low FODMAP diet approach to eliminate these FODMAPs temporarily and then re-introduce each of them to identify your personal food triggers in order to expand your diet again. It involves reducing high FODMAP foods for 4-6 weeks, followed by systematically reintroducing them to determine your triggers and tolerance levels .
Remember, it's a 3-step approach, and you don't have to face it alone. Consulting with a registered FODMAP Dietitian can provide valuable guidance and support throughout the process.
Following a low FODMAP diet doesn't mean giving up on delicious meals.
It's all about making smart swaps and exploring FODMAP-friendly options. Seeing your registered FODMAP Dietitian can make the process a lot smoother by providing FODMAP-friendly recipes and meal plans.
Here are some quick tips on what foods to choose on the low FODMAP diet, phase 1:
Please note, this is just a very small glimpse of what you can consume on the low FODMAP diet and you should always consult your local doctor or FODMAP Dietitian before starting the low FODMAP diet.
Remember, taking care of your gut health and overall well-being goes beyond the food you eat.
Managing stress, practising relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation, getting enough sleep, and staying physically active can all contribute to a healthier gut . So, pamper yourself, find activities that bring you joy, and let your inner glow shine.
Remember, the low FODMAP diet should never be undertaken without guidance from a trained professional. For more questions and direction around FODMAPs and the low FODMAP diet, see your doctor or registered FODMAP Dietitian!
 Monash University. (n.d.). About FODMAPs. Retrieved from https://www.monashfodmap.com/about-fodmap-and-ibs/
 Gibson, P. R., & Shepherd, S. J. (2010). Evidence-based dietary management of functional gastrointestinal symptoms: The FODMAP approach. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 25(2), 252-258. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1746.2009.06149.x
 Monash University. (n.d.). Vegetables, Proteins, Grains, Fruits, Sweeteners. Retrieved from https://www.monashfodmap.com/blog/vegetables/
 Halmos, E. P., Power, V. A., Shepherd, S. J., Gibson, P. R., & Muir, J. G. (2014). A diet low in FODMAPs reduces symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome and a probiotic restores Bifidobacterium species: a randomized controlled trial. Gastroenterology, 146(1), 67-75. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2013.09.046
Pregnancy is a critical period for both the mother and the developing baby. Eating a healthy, balanced diet during pregnancy is essential to ensure the health and well-being of both.
Proper nutrition during pregnancy helps to support the growth and development of the baby, while also providing the mother with the necessary nutrients to maintain her own health.
Here are some of the key reasons why good nutrition is important during pregnancy:
During pregnancy, the developing baby requires a steady supply of nutrients to support growth and development.
These nutrients are important for the development of the baby's brain, nervous system, and other vital organs.
For example, folic acid is essential for the development of the neural tube, which later becomes the baby's brain and spinal cord.
Eating a healthy diet during pregnancy can help to reduce the risk of certain complications, such as pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and preterm birth.
Proper nutrition during pregnancy is not only important for the baby but also for the mother.
Eating a healthy diet can help to maintain the mother's energy levels, support her immune system, and reduce the risk of anemia.
Good nutrition during pregnancy can help to support the mother's body during the postpartum period.
This can help to reduce the risk of postpartum depression, support breastfeeding, and aid in the recovery process.
Here are some key nutrients to focus on:
This B vitamin is essential for fetal development and can be found in foods like leafy greens, citrus fruits, beans, and fortified cereals.
Iron is important for the production of red blood cells and can be found in foods like lean red meat, beans, and fortified cereals.
Calcium is important for the development of the baby's bones and teeth and can be found in foods like dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified cereals.
Protein is important for fetal growth and development and can be found in foods like lean meats, beans, and dairy products.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain development and can be found in fatty fish like salmon, as well as in fortified eggs and some plant-based sources like flaxseed.
Eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods can help to support fetal development, reduce the risk of complications, maintain maternal health, and aid in postpartum recovery.
We offer a Dietitian run pregnancy program to support you throughout your pregnancy journey, and also run a postpartum program to support you throughout your postpartum journey.
Enquire with us today to help with your nutrition along your pre & postpartum journey.
Stress is a normal part of life, but chronic stress can have negative impacts on our physical and mental health. One area that is often overlooked when it comes to the effects of stress is the gut microbiome.
The gut microbiome is the community of bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that live in the digestive tract.
These microorganisms play an important role in many aspects of health, including digestion, metabolism, and immune function.
Research has shown that stress can disrupt the balance of the gut microbiome, leading to a range of negative effects on health.
One way that stress can impact the gut microbiome is by altering the types of bacteria that are present.
Chronic stress has been shown to increase the prevalence of "bad" bacteria, such as Escherichia coli, and decrease the amount of "good" bacteria, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli.
This imbalance can lead to digestive issues, such as constipation or diarrhea, as well as a weakened immune system.
Stress can also affect the gut-brain axis, the communication network between the gut and the brain.
This communication is important for maintaining gut health, but stress can disrupt this communication, leading to further imbalances in the gut microbiome.
In addition to these direct effects on the gut microbiome, stress can also indirectly impact the health of the gut through behaviors that are commonly associated with stress, such as poor diet and lack of physical activity.
These behaviors can further disrupt the balance of the gut microbiome and lead to negative health consequences.
Practice stress-reducing techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing, or exercise.
Eliminate all the gut irritants, re-build a healthy gut and nourish it long term to improve gut health and minimise digestive discomfort. See our Gut Health Bible and Recipe Ebook which steps you through exactly how to do this yourself.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes a variety of the 5 food groups, fermented foods, prebiotics and probiotics to promote the growth of good bacteria. See the Gut Health Bible & Recipe Book on how to do this.
Get enough sleep to allow the body and the gut microbiome to rest and repair.
Stay physically active to promote good gut health, but don’t over do it!
By taking steps to reduce stress and promote a healthy gut microbiome, it is possible to improve overall health and well-being.
If you want an easy guide on how to completely re-build and nourish your gut health, see our Gut Health Bible & Gut Healthy Recipe Ebook.
We also offer a Dietitian Gut Health Program if you feel you need more accountability and support on your gut health journey.
Iron is an incredibly important mineral in the body, particularly for women of child-bearing age. Read more about the importance of iron for women.
Iron is a very important mineral and micronutrient for the body, helping with oxygen transport around the body, immune health, metabolism and daily energy needed to function.
Recommended Dietary Intake of Iron for women, according to the Nutrient Reference Values by the National Health and Medical Research Council (2014), are:
Iron-deficiency anaemia is a consequence of prolonged iron deficiency which can be caused by a number of reasons and those who suffer from iron deficiency will feel tired, lethargic, have a poor immune function, fatigue and low energy. Iron deficiency is diagnosed through a blood test.
Iron takes months to replenish stores in the body, unless you get an iron infusion, focus on dietary changes, or take regular iron tablets for a prolonged period of time. It is important to always check with a doctor regarding the management plan following a diagnosis with low iron, or iron deficiency anaemia.
Red meat is often associated with high iron levels, which is for good reason. Red meat, particularly lamb and beef are a great source of iron in the form of haem iron. Haem iron is most easily absorbed by the body. Other animal meats such as chicken, fish, seafood and pork are also great sources of iron.
Plant-based sources of iron contain non-haem iron which is less readily absorbed by the body, but this doesn't mean its any less of value. Do not get discouraged from eating non-meat sources of iron due to the low absorbative capacity, because this is not entirely true.
Sure, meat has been shown to contain the haem iron which is more readily and efficiently absorbed by the body. This is because meat sources contain all the necessary enzymes and cofactors for efficient breakdown and uptake of iron into the bloodstream from the gut.
Plant-based, or non-haem iron sources such as legumes, nuts, seeds, breads and cereals have to undergo an extra step to allow the uptake of iron into the bloodstream, but this can be done more efficiently and effectively with a few dietary changes.
Non-haem iron-containing foods are not any less value.
Essentially, if your body needs iron it will increase its absorption of these foods to compensate, but it just takes a little bit of extra effort. There are certain things we can do to help this absorption of both haem and non-haem iron within meals and around meals.
Including dietary sources of vitamin C before, during or after iron-rich meals can increase iron absorption.
Vitamin C assists with reducing the iron into its absorbable form.
Foods such as tomatoes, berries, strawberries, kiwi fruit, broccoli, squeezing lime and lemon juice on meals can all help increase the iron absorption. Take a look at the vitamin C post for more information on foods rich in vitamin C.
Also, eliminating things like tea, coffee and even green tea ~2 hours before and after meals can help iron absorption as these contain tannins that block the absorption of iron.
Overall, make sure you include a wide variety of iron in your diet and if you are ever feeling tired or lethargic for a long period of time, a blood test from your doctor can be really beneficial to see where your iron levels are sitting.
Whether you are a meat-eater or a non-meat eater that does not matter, but remember some of these tips and tricks to enhance your iron absorption if you think you might need it!
Vitamin C is obtained from the food we eat and is so important for many processes within the body. Here are our top 3 facts about vitamin C.
The first fact about vitamin C is that it enhances immune function by protecting the white blood cells (immune defence cells within the body) from oxidative damage. Studies have shown supplementing with vitamin C when you feel cold symptoms approaching can reduce a cold by 8% in adults and 14% in children.
The second fact about vitamin C.
When iron rich food is consumed in conjunction with vitamin-c rich foods, for example a steak with green leafy vegetables, the vitamins and minerals in those vegetables will also provide extra enzymes and cofactors to boost the absorption of the iron. Without the added vegetables containing the vitamin C, less of the iron in the meat will be absorbed. Vitamin C in the presence of iron, will capture it and store it in a more absorbable form which makes it easier for the body to take up.
The daily Estimated Average Requirements of vitamin C in different age groups are listed below. This data is retrieved from the National Health and Medical Research Council (2014), Nutrient Reference Values.
An example of 50mg of vitamin C = 200ml of orange juice
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