Q&A: Eating with Endo, GMOs

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Women's Health Q&A

What changes can I make to my eating habits to lessen my endometriosis?

Regardless of your medical treatment, balanced nutrition will help relieve the pain of endometriosis, a condition related to high levels of estrogen.

A diet rich in whole-grain foods, fibre and vitamins B and E help reduce excessive amounts of estrogen as well as maintain hormonal balance.

Phytoestrogen, found in soy-based food, plays the same role.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids found in nuts, grains and fish help relieve muscle tension and inflammation. And your mother was right -- eat your fruits and vegetables! Among their benefits, they are rich in calcium (relaxes muscles), magnesium (reduces neuromuscular tension and relieves cramps), and vitamin C (reduces the fragility of the capillaries and heavy bleeding).

Avoid fatty foods, which can stimulate excessive production of estrogen, as well as alcohol, caffeine and sugar, all of which adversely affect liver function and deplete vitamin B in your body.

Source: Fibroid Tumors & Endometriosis Self-Help Book, by Susan M. Lark, M.D.

I've heard a lot about genetically modified organisms and transgenic foods. Are these genetic modifications of plants different from traditional breeding methods that have existed for centuries? Are these foods very common? Are they labelled in Canada?

Yes, plant breeding has existed for centuries. But genetic modification, a barrier only recently crossed, is not the same thing as crossbreeding plants and animals.

Scientists can, for example, implant fish genes into tomatoes or scorpion genes into corn. This science is new and the methods employed are far from precise.

The most commonly used method is to literally blast genetic material into a petri dish full of host cells using a "gene gun."

The foreign gene can end up anywhere and lead to totally unexpected results. From one end of North America to the other, major quantities of common produce such as corn, potatoes, soy and canola are genetically altered and mixed with regular cultures before being transformed into foods for consumption.

In fact, an estimated 75% of all pre-packaged food most likely contains genetically altered ingredients. And despite the fact that no long-term study has been conducted to ensure the safety of such foods, there is no law requiring that transgenic foods be labelled.

While surveys of the population repeatedly show that over 90 percent of Canadians are in favour of mandatory labelling of transgenic foods, Ottawa and the biotech corporate giants oppose any labelling or consumer bans that would hinder the marketing of transgenic products.

Source: The Council of Canadians

Disclaimer: The Canadian Women's Health Network and Network magazine provide general information not intended as a substitute for professional advice. If you feel you need medical advice, please see your health professional. The CWHN makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information that appears on this web site.