While there is no foolproof way to avoid fibroids, once you have been diagnosed with these benign tumors, there are certain foods that may help. And there are others to avoid, since dietary changes may help keep tumor growth in check.
Why is this the case? Balancing your hormone levels can help manage fibroid development and symptoms since hormones, particularly estrogen, are one of the leading causes of new fibroid development and growth. And one easy, non-invasive way to balance your hormones is through simple changes in your diet. With that in mind, check out the best and worst foods for fibroids, so you can start planning your lifestyle changes!
Worst Foods for Fibroids
If you are trying to manage your fibroids and maintain or shrink their current size, balancing your hormones naturally is a great first step. Your diet has a strong influence on your hormone levels, which is why it’s one of the first (and easiest) areas to apply changes.
For best results in managing your fibroids, try restricting the following food and drinks from your diet.
Worst Foods for Fibroids: What to Eliminate
- High-Fat, Processed Meats – Red processed meat is known to be high in added hormones, particularly estrogen.
- High-Fat Dairy Products – Conventional dairy can contain high levels of steroids, hormones, and other chemicals that promote inflation.
- Foods High in Salt – Highly salted foods are hard on your liver, which is the organ that is most responsible for removing toxins and balancing hormones.
- Refined Carbohydrates – White foods such as pasta, white bread, white rice, cakes, and cookies have been known to alter estrogen levels, causing fibroids to increase in size. Boxed cereals, potato chips and anything with corn syrup can also cause problems, because they raise your blood sugar levels, triggering your body to produce more insulin.
- Foods containing Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) – While the facts are uncertain, some evidence links this flavor enhancer (common in takeout food) to obesity and weight gain. And, since obesity messes with your hormone levels, it can increase your fibroid risk.
- Soy. Soy contains phytoestrogens. These are compounds that act like estrogen in your body. While this may be helpful if you battle low estrogen levels, they are a fibroid challenge. That’s because high estrogen levels seem to boost fibroid growth. Plus, new research reveals a soy-heavy diet can reduce female fertility, trigger early puberty and impact fetal development. For that reason, you may wish to limit soy intake even if your fibroid risk is low!
- Refined Sugar – High consumption of sugar can result in inflammation and weight gain; there is an association between weight gain and hormone imbalance.
- Caffeine – Too much caffeine puts additional stress on your liver, discouraging the organ from working the way it should (think: balancing hormones!)
- Alcohol – Over-consumption of alcohol can lead to inflammation of the body and reduced immune function. Reducing or eliminating alcohol can help promote a healthy balance of hormones.
Best Foods to Eat With Fibroids
If you’re already feeling restricted just looking at the list above, don’t panic: there are so many options that can help you fill the gaps you’re eliminating. Added bonus? They may just help improve your general health while helping keep fibroids in check:
- Organic foods
- High fiber foods, including cruciferous veggies like broccoli. (These can curb your appetite, so you eat less and may lose weight. And that’s important, because losing weight can curb fibroid symptoms.)
- Green leafy vegetables
- Beta-carotene rich foods (such as carrots and sweet potatoes). These can also help boost your fertility, something that can be impacted by fibroid growth.
- Food high in iron (such as grass-fed beef and legumes)
- Whole grains
- Citrus like apples and oranges. Studies show that women who eat two or more servings of citrus fruit each day lower their fibroid risk.
Supplements may also help shrink or maintain fibroid size. Vitex, fish oil, and B-complex are a few supplements that have been known for creating a better hormone balance. Additionally, the fatty acids in fish oil (or cold water fish) may help fight inflammation that could contribute to fibroid growth. Be sure to speak with your physician before introducing new supplements into your diet.
Possible Benefits from Chinese Medicine Roots
While research in this area is less available, certain herbal preparations may help you manage symptoms. These herbs may help manage fibroid size:
- cinnamon twig
- peony root and red peony root
- peony root bark
Also, compounds in green tea may help shrink fibroid size. And taking castor oil could help you relieve fibroid-related constipation.
Fibroid Friendly Recipe
Want to cook up something that may help your fibroids? Try this delicious recipe, courtesy of the Food Network.
- Rainbow carrots
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt
Toss 3 bunches baby rainbow carrots, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt on a baking sheet; arrange in a single layer. Roast at 450 degrees F, turning once, until tender and slightly browned, 15 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and chopped chives.
When Your Diet Isn’t Enough to Control Your Fibroids
Your diet and lifestyle can only do so much in your attempt to manage your fibroids. If you suffer from common fibroid symptoms such as heavy periods, bloating, frequent urination, constipation, and pelvic pain, Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) may be the next best option.
UFE is a low-risk, minimally-invasive procedure for the treatment of uterine fibroids. Women commonly choose UFE over a hysterectomy for fibroid removal as it avoids surgery, preserves the uterus, controls symptoms, and improves quality of life.
Contact us at (713) 575-3686 for more information, or to schedule an appointment with our interventional radiologists at Houston Fibroids.
Sources: Journal of Human Reproduction, webmd.com, foodnetwork.com