Eating Right for Pelvic Health

There are many health conditions that can benefit from dietary changes but some are not the obvious diagnoses like weight loss, diabetes, or heart health.

Pelvic pain is one of the lesser known conditions that can benefit greatly from careful meal planning and food selection. If you are suffering, read on because selecting the right foods is one of the first steps to caring for yourself.

Inflammation plays a major role in chronic pain, so take control of your own health to soothe your body. Whole foods can actually help to reduce inflammation and participate in your healing process. Your anti-inflammatory diet should accomplish two things.

First, you want to be eating foods that allow your body to process sugar slowly.

Low glycemic foods actually help the body tackle inflammation.

High glycemic foods, like cake, soda, white rice, white bread, cereal, pasta, and processed foods are associated with inflammation and pain.

Remember, those high glycemic foods are responsible for causing your blood sugar and insulin levels to shoot up. High glycemic foods = hormonal havoc.

So, foods that contain fibre (like whole food plants) and healthy fats (like high-quality proteins) are a better choice for dealing with pain.

Second, focus on essential fatty acids, particularly how you balance your intake of omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids.

When it comes to essential fatty acids it’s not a matter of more is better. It is balance that is the key. Omega-6s tend to increase inflammation (a little omega-6s in the diet is necessary because of the role they play in the body’s immune response), while omega-3s decrease inflammation.

Foods containing omega-6 fatty acids are easy to come by in the standard diet. What you need to be concerned with is choosing a small amount of healthy omega-6 foods and balancing them with omega-3 foods.

Omega-3 fats are commonly known for their health benefiting properties. The fact is that fats, though shunned upon, are required for the body to carry out various vital functions. Many nutrients are fat soluble, without which the body can't avail their benefits. The human body is capable of synthesising most fats, but not in the case of omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids can be obtained daily only through our diet.

Omega-3 fats fall under the category of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and the three main types include DHA, EPA and ALA. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can be obtained directly from maternal milk (breast milk), fish or algae oil. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA or also called icosapentaenoic acid) can be obtained by eating oily fish or fish oil, e.g. cod liver, herring, mackerel, salmon, menhaden and sardine, and various types of edible seaweed and phytoplankton. Alpha-Linolenic acid (ALA), on the other hand, are found only in plant-based sources such as chia seeds, flaxseed, nuts (especially walnuts) and many common vegetable oils.

In simple words, Omega 3 fats play a crucial role in the growth and proper functioning of the human body. There are a number of foods that are rich in Omega 3 fats and they are as follows:

1. Soybeans (Roasted)

Not many people know that this plant source is quite rich in Omega-3 fats. Soybeans have ALA, which promotes heart health. In fact, having one bowl of lightly cooked soybeans contains more omega-3 fats than some cold water fish!

2. Walnuts

Add walnuts in your favourite baked dishes, sprinkle it on salads and cereals or have it as it is, walnuts are great in all manner. This nut not only provides you with multiple vascular benefits but also helps you to maintain your ideal weight over time.

3. Salmon

It's not only rich in Vitamin D but also a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids, protein and phosphorous. Salmon contains high levels of the omega-3 fats - EPA and DHA. These fats provide a number of cardiovascular ease such as reducing inflammation. Intake of salmon twice or thrice per week can lower the risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, arrhythmia and embolism.

4. Canola Oil

It is touted to be the healthiest salad and cooking oil. It's cheaper than olive oil and can withstand high cooking temperatures. Due to its low saturated fat content it is said to be beneficial for our health.

5. Sardines

They are tiny and oily, and less expensive than other types of fish. Higher in sodium, they can balance out your meal with low sodium fruits and vegetables. They are usually eaten out of a tin/jar as a snack or you can add them to sandwiches, salads or pizzas. They'd still taste great and provide your body a handful of comfort.

6. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are not only rich in omega 3 but also vitamins, minerals and dietary fibres. Loaded with calcium, protein and magnesium, these seeds lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, improve exercise performance and also provides health benefits to the brain.

7. Mackerel

These small and oily fish are not only delicious in taste but also incredibly healthy. Apart from being rich in omega 3, this fish has a great content of nutrients and vitamins B6 and B12.

8. Flaxseeds

Being the richest source of Omega 3 fats, flaxseeds are considered to be a superfood. Often ground or used to make oil, these small seeds help in fighting cancer, reducing sugar cravings and promoting weight loss.