Fibroids are non-cancerous lumps of tissue found in the uterus. They are really common, and usually don’t cause any problems, but if they’re in the wrong spot, they can cause infertility or terrible pain during pregnancy.
What you eat can have an impact on them and I’m going to tell you what to eat for fibroids, and what to avoid. Stay tuned! I’ve been through the latest research about what to eat for fibroids, and have nine dietary tips for you.
Let’s get started! Number 1 – avoid alcohol intake – women who drink alcohol seem to be more likely to have fibroids than those who don’t. This is believed to be because women who drink alcohol tend to produce excess estrogen hormones.
Number 2 – Don’t drink any more than 3 cups of coffee per day. High intakes of caffeine, over 500milligrams per day have also been found to impact hormone levels which may cause fibroid production.
Thirdly, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables – studies show that fruit and veg are one of the best foods to eat when it comes to reducing your risk of fibroids. Current studies seem to suggest that you need at least two servings per day of fruit and four servings per day of veg.
So, let me ask you…are you eating enough? Fruits and vegetables high in vitamin A seem to be particularly helpful, so try to include some carrots, squash, kale or sweet potato most days. Now number four is an interesting one.
Studies suggest that a higher intake of dairy foods is protective against uterine fibroids. At the moment there is no conclusive research on why, but theories include their high calcium content or another compound called butyric acid which is commonly found in dairy.
The research doesn’t show any difference between high fat or low fat dairy, but I would recommend making sure that you are including at least two serves of calcium-rich dairy foods, such as yoghurt, milk or cheese, in your eating plan each day.
Number five is to limit your intake of red meat and ham. Studies suggest that women who consume more of these foods are more likely to develop fibroids, so I’d recommend limiting red meat to no more than three times per week, and limiting ham intake to once every few weeks.
When you do have red meat, ensure that it’s a nice lean cut. Instead, swap red meat and ham for fish, eggs and nuts which are protective against fibroids. Which leads me to dietary tip number six – boost your intake of healthy fats.
Healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in foods like fish and nuts appear to be protective against uterine fibroids, whereas saturated fats found in take away foods and biscuits seem to increase the risk.
This also explains why red meat and ham are problematic as they can be high in bad, saturated fats So, aim to include fish in your diet three times each week, use a good quality extra virgin olive oil and include a handful of nuts each day.
Tip number seven is to avoid food additives. Research suggests that women who have a higher intake of food additives such as colours, artificial flavours and preservatives, have a higher risk of developing uterine fibroids than those who consume more whole foods.
So, where possible, try to shop for whole foods such as fish, nuts, dairy, fruit and veg instead of packaged foods. Number eight is exposure to plastic. It is believed that chemicals found in plastic is one of the main reasons why rates of fibroids have been on the rise.
Where possible, use glass containers for cooking instead of plastic, and cover meals with a lid instead of plastic wrap. Finally, number nine is to optimise your levels of body fat. Body fat produces estrogen so women with excess body fat often have higher levels of estrogen which is believed to be one of the main causes of uterine fibroids.
If you have some excess body fat, watch your portion sizes, monitor your calorie intake and ensure that you are undertaking some regular physical activity.