10 September 2021
Article originally published in: Zest Magazine
This month we help Emma Myrtle, 30, from London, to find new ways to cope with her health problems
Emma Told us:
“My job as a photographer is hectic and stressful — I work long hours, travel from country to country and rarely find time to exercise or eat properly. I also often burn the candle at both ends, so I’m frequently run down and ill. It really doesn’t help my health issues — I have endometriosis, which gives me bad stomach cramps, and scoliosis, a small curve in my spine that leads to terrible back pain. Can you help me feel fit and healthy again? I’d also love to wear pretty but practical clothes for work, but I’ve no idea how to dress to suit my body shape.”Emma, 30, London
Never go hungry
Emma sometimes skips meals, which puts pressure on her blood sugar levels — keeping them stable is important for energy and hormone balance. She needs to ditch the one big meal she eats late at night in favour of three meals a day, including foods such as salmon, wheat-free pasta and spinach, plus small snacks in between. Emma should keep some handy in her handbag, such as nuts, seeds, an apple or oatcakes.
Eat phytoestrogen-rich food
Phytoestrogens can have a balancing effect on female hormones, so they may help relieve endometriosis. They’re found in cruciferous veg (such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower), tofu, miso, soya milk, pulses, brown rice and oats. Emma should include two to three portions every day. A portion is equal to one handful, but, for the vegetables, it’s two hands cupped together.
Reduce dairy and red meat
Endometriosis has been linked to high oestrogen levels, so Emma should reduce her dairy and red meat intake, as the saturated fats in these foods can stimulate oestrogen production. If she does eat dairy, she should go organic, as hormones given to ‘non-organic’ cows increase their oestrogen levels, and these can end up in our milk.
Increase oily fish, nuts and seeds
The omega-3 fats in oily fish (such as salmon, mackerel and sardines), nuts and seeds are essential for female hormone balance. Emma should eat two to three portions of oily fish each week and snack on nuts and seeds as well as adding them to porridge and salads.
Cut down on alcohol
Although Emma’s alcohol intake isn’t excessive, she does need to curb her 14 units if she’s serious about addressing her energy levels. Alcohol can deplete nutrients, particularly B vitamins and magnesium (needed for the development of female hormones and energy), and adds to blood sugar problems. Also, alcohol may increase swelling and sensitivity in her stomach, so minimising it can help relieve endometriosis.
Emma should take a good multivitamin and mineral, and a fatty acid supplement. She could also take the herb agnus castus, which may help balance hormones, and milk thistle to support liver detoxification
This article is for information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.