Fibroids & Diet: Is It Possible To Shrink Fibroids Through Diet?
Fibroids are a common problem experienced by many women. Although they are harmless growths, they can sometimes cause complications and hence, many prefer to treat them in the best possible way. While there are many treatment options in the medical field, some prefer exploring natural treatment options. So, is it possible to shrink fibroids through diet? This is one of the commonest questions faced by many women. Let us understand about fibroids and whether it is possible to shrink fibroids through diet.
What are Fibroids?
Fibroids are a type of abnormal growths that develop in the uterus. Sometimes these growths can become quite large and cause heavy periods and abdominal pain. In other cases, these growths remain quite small and do not cause any symptoms or discomfort at all. Fibroids are typically non-cancerous and most women have them by the time they reach the age of 50 years. However, the majority of women also do not show any symptoms and go through life never realizing that they have fibroids. Only 20% of women are said to have symptoms of fibroids.
While in most cases, you don't need to undertake any treatment for fibroids, your doctor may nevertheless recommend certain lifestyle and diet changes to reduce your risk of getting fibroids or for symptomatic management. Only in some cases, where the symptoms are severe and are bothering to a great extent, appropriate medical treatment may be required.
Is It Possible To Shrink Fibroids Through Diet?
The fact is that experts have not really figured out why fibroids occur in the body. It is believed that an overproduction of estrogen is possibly one of the main causes of growth of fibroids. There are some fibroid treatments that aim to reduce the production of estrogen in the body, but even then, you may still be receiving estrogen from certain foods that you eat. This is because many of the produce is often sprayed with environmental estrogens like xenoestrogens. This is mainly why your diet may be related to fibroids. So, when you wonder if it is possible to shrink fibroids through diet, this belief forms the basis of diet planning. Many experts believe that if you suffer from fibroids, having organic fruits and vegetables is always a better option to avoid exposure to pollutants and possible environmental estrogens.
When you consume foods that do not contain any estrogen and those that reduce the production of estrogen in the body, will surely help in reducing or shrinking the size of your fibroids. This will also help prevent further fibroid growth and also reduce your symptoms. If you suffer from fibroids then it is also recommended that you consume foods that are good for the liver. For any condition linked to hormones, the preventive measures should always focus on helping the body get rid of any excess toxins through the liver. These are some of the effective ways to shrink fibroids through diet.
How to Shrink Fibroids Through Diet?
While there is a debate regarding, is it possible to shrink fibroids through diet, there are many experts that supports this possibility. While the results remain divided, what is known is that there are certain types of foods that may help prevent fibroids from growing and also help minimize your symptoms.
Let's take a look at what foods you should be having when trying to shrink fibroids through diet.
Fruits and Green Leafy Vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables are useful to prevent many health conditions as these are rich in disease-fighting and inflammation-fighting nutrients. Many fruits and vegetables are also rich in fiber, which helps control your weight. These factors are important when it comes to controlling the growth of fibroids because inflammation and extra weight are some of the contributing factors of fibroid. This may be an important way, making it possible to shrink fibroids through diet.
A study done in 2013 and published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researched the diets of premenopausal women, who were at the most risk of developing fibroids, and it was found that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables significantly lowers these women's chances of developing fibroids. The study also found that women who had a higher body mass index (BMI), also had an increased risk of developing fibroids.
Lentils and Beans
Legumes such as lentils and beans are known to be very rich sources of fiber. This makes them a primary choice for weight management. Legumes are also known to have a low glycemic index, which has a mild impact on the body's blood sugar levels. High-glycemic foods, processed foods, fatty meats and simple carbs, particularly sweets, are known to cause inflammation and also increase the growth of fibroids. Thus, if you wish to shrink fibroids through diet, you should consume nutritious and low-glycemic carbs, such as legumes. These are also rich in proteins and can easily replace meats for a healthy diet.
Low Fat Dairy
According to research published in May 2012, black women are up to three times more likely to have uterine fibroids as compared to white women. The research suggested that one reason for this could be that African-Americans tend to consume fewer dairy products. Dairy is known to have many protective properties. One of the biggest benefits of having dairy products is the calcium present in them helps inhibit cell growth that causes fibroids. If you are able to tolerate dairy products, then incorporating low-fat dairy products in your diet is a good idea. These can include products like yogurt, milk, and cottage cheese. If, however, you are lactose intolerant, then you can opt for having lactose-free fortified milk, almond milk, lactose- free yogurt, etc. It is advisable to avoid consumption of high fat dairy products like fatty cheese and whole milk, as they can cause inflammation in the body. So, if you are aiming to shrink fibroids through diet, opt for ani-inflammatory and nutritious foods like low fat dairy.
Unprocessed grains are known to lower your risk for getting fibroids. Processed foods or white foods such as starchy white bread or pasta, are known to increase the production of insulin and also increase the risk of inflammation. This can impact the manner in which estrogen gets metabolized in your body, thus increasing the risk of fibroids. To avoid this, you should stop the consumption of refined starches and increase your consumption of whole and unprocessed grains. Whole grains are known to have a lower glycemic index and are also rich in antioxidants, proteins, and fiber. Some examples of unprocessed grains include oats, brown rice, quinoa, and barley. This is an important way in which you can shrink fibroids through diet.
Flaxseeds and Soy
Flaxseeds and soy are rich in phytoestrogens, which are naturally occurring substances that have estrogen-like properties. For most women, having phytoestrogens can be beneficial as they block the estrogen receptors on the fibroid cells, thus reducing the symptoms and also decreasing the risk for fibroid growth. This is a most accepted and recommended way to possibly shrink fibroids through diet.
Flaxseed is also rich in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which is known to protect against inflammation and fibroid growth, while also helping the body get rid of excess estrogen. You can increase the consumption of flaxseed in your diet by including ground flaxseeds in your yogurt, smoothies, and even your morning cereal.
Soy is also seen as an alternative to fatty meats and lean protein alternative. You can increase your consumption of soy milk, tofu, podded soybeans, or even steamed soybeans.
Foods to Avoid If You Have Fibroids
As it is possible to shrink fibroids through diet, an important factor is the type of foods that you need to avoid. Some of the foods you must avoid, to fight fibroids include,
Refined Carbohydrates And Added Sugars
Sugary foods and simple carbohydrates that may not only trigger fibroid development but also worsen existing fibroids. These foods must be avoided as they can increase your blood sugar levels, production of excess insulin, weight gain and also affect the growth of fibroids. Foods that fall into the category of refined carbohydrates and added sugars include:
- Table sugar
- Corn syrup
- White bread, white rice, white pasta, and flour
- High fructose corn syrup
- Soda and other sugary beverages
- Fruit juice
- Packaged energy bars or energy drinks
- Potato chips or crackers
Foods that either increase the level of estrogen in your body or have added hormones that trigger your body to make excess estrogen, must be avoided. These include
Removing these foods from your diet can make it possible to shrink fibroids through diet.
Maintaining a balanced diet and also losing the extra kilos are not just important to shrink fibroids, but also to maintain good health. There is no proven data that shows that a fibroid diet can prevent the growth of fibroids, but doctors, nevertheless, suggest that it is possible to shrink fibroids through diet. A healthy, anti-inflammatory diet can help in relieving many symptoms of fibroids and also help control several factors that contribute to the growth of fibroids.
However, if you have fibroids, it is necessary to seek medical opinion and follow the treatment suggested by your doctor. A healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle are a part of treatment and management of fibroids and are best followed as medically advised.
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- How to Know if You Have Fibroids & The Factors That Trigger Fibroid
- What are Intramural Fibroids, Know its Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Surgery
- What Are Fibroids And How To Get Rid Of Them?
- Could One Have Fibroids And Not Know?
- What Are The Symptoms Of Fibroids In The Uterus?
- Can Fibroids Cause You To Gain Weight?