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If you’re one of the many individuals who suffer from uterine fibroids and experience pain or heavy bleeding, you’re certainly not alone. It’s estimated that up to 80% of all women and AFAB (assigned female at birth) individuals develop fibroids before reaching menopause. But does that mean you have to accept uterine fibroids as a condition that’s completely out of your control? Maybe not.

Recent research suggests that certain foods may help reduce the risk of fibroids or alleviate symptoms such as pain and heavy bleeding. Dr. Megan Billow, a skilled and experienced minimally invasive gynecologic surgeon, explains how your diet can influence uterine fibroids.

Foods to Help Prevent or Shrink Fibroids

Dr. Billow affirms that there’s no one-size-fits-all diet that can magically prevent or treat fibroids. However, some studies indicate that certain foods may lower your risk of developing fibroids. Making dietary changes can potentially minimize symptoms by reducing the levels of hormones that fuel the growth of fibroids.

Fruits and Vegetables

Eating an abundance of fruits and vegetables not only lowers the risk of various health problems, such as heart disease and certain types of cancer, but it may also help reduce the risk of uterine fibroids.

“A comprehensive review found that individuals who consumed more fruits and vegetables had a lower risk of developing fibroids,” reveals Dr. Billow. “The research suggests that patients who ate four servings per day had a lower fibroid risk compared to those who consumed only one serving per day.”

While all fruits and vegetables offer significant health benefits, some stand out in their potential to combat fibroids. These include:

  • Apples.
  • Broccoli.
  • Cabbage.
  • Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits.
  • Tomatoes.

Why do fruits and vegetables help prevent fibroids? Some studies on fibroids and diet propose a few potential reasons:

  • Fiber Content: Fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber, which aids in eliminating excess estrogen from the body through stool. Since estrogen stimulates the growth of fibroids, reducing its levels may potentially decrease fibroid risks.
  • Lower BMI: Fruits and vegetables are generally low in calories. By incorporating more of these nutritious foods into your diet and replacing higher-calorie options, you may achieve a lower body mass index (BMI). Higher BMIs elevate estrogen levels, thereby increasing the risk of fibroids.
  • Nutritional Value: Fruits and vegetables are packed with essential nutrients, vitamins, trace minerals, and antioxidants that might discourage the growth of fibroids.
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Low-Fat Dairy Products

Some research suggests that dairy products rich in calcium may lower the risk of fibroids. Dr. Billow suggests aiming for three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products per day. Particularly, focus on yogurt that contains probiotics — beneficial bacteria that promote a healthy gut.

Consuming the recommended amount of dairy isn’t a guarantee that you’ll remain fibroid-free. However, it may prove helpful for some individuals. “More research is needed to establish the efficacy of dairy in managing fibroids,” notes Dr. Billow. “But considering the benefits of calcium and probiotics for your body, it’s worth considering.”

If you’re lactose intolerant, you can explore plant-based alternatives such as milk, yogurt, or cheese. Many of these options contain added probiotics and calcium. Check the nutrition labels for their calcium content, and select yogurts labeled “live and active cultures.”

Foods that Contain Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in bone, immune, and nerve health. Interestingly, research indicates that maintaining adequate vitamin D levels may reduce the risk of fibroids.

Food sources rich in vitamin D include:

  • Fortified dairy products like milk and yogurt.
  • Fortified dairy alternatives such as soy, almond, coconut, or oat milk or yogurt.
  • Light tuna.
  • Rainbow trout.
  • Salmon.

“Vitamin D deficiency is often observed in women with fibroids,” explains Dr. Billow. “Raising your vitamin D levels could potentially help you avoid this condition.”

Determining if you’re deficient in vitamin D requires a blood test, but it’s worth noting that vitamin D deficiency is common. While diet alone may not be sufficient to correct vitamin D deficiency, it’s the primary way people obtain vitamin D. However, it’s important to be cautious, as exposing yourself to the sun without sunscreen carries the risk of sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancer. For those living in northern climates or with darker skin tones, obtaining enough sunlight to maintain adequate vitamin D levels can be a challenge.

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Before considering a vitamin D supplement, consult with your healthcare provider. “If your vitamin D levels are already optimal, a supplement may not be necessary and could even be harmful,” warns Dr. Billow. “Always inform your provider about any vitamins or herbal supplements you’re taking.”

Foods That May Contribute to Fibroids

While some foods may help decrease the risk of fibroids, others might have the opposite effect. Research suggests limiting or avoiding the following foods:

Red Meat and Ham

A diet high in red meat, such as ground beef, steak, veal, or ham, poses potential health risks such as heart disease and cancer. Moreover, red meat may play a role in the development of uterine fibroids, although more research is required to establish this connection.

“In certain studies, individuals with fibroids reported consuming more red meat and ham compared to those without fibroids,” reveals Dr. Billow. “The reason behind this association is yet to be determined. It could be due to the unhealthy saturated fats found in these meats, pollutants, or a combination of these factors.”

This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to eliminate burgers or steaks altogether. Consider reserving these meats for special occasions. Aim to consume no more than 6 ounces of red meat per week, or 3 ounces if you have heart disease. To reduce saturated fat intake while consuming red meat, follow these tips:

  • Choose leaner cuts of steak, such as sirloin or flank steak.
  • Trim off any visible fat.
  • Replace higher-fat ground beef with 90% lean ground beef.
  • Substitute ground turkey for ground beef.


Consuming alcoholic beverages like beer, wine, and spirits can impact your overall health and potentially increase the risk of fibroids. Some studies indicate that alcohol, particularly in larger quantities, alters hormone levels in the body, which may contribute to the formation of fibroids.

“If you desire better health and wish to reduce your fibroid risk, it’s advisable to avoid alcohol,” advises Dr. Billow. “If you do choose to drink, it’s important to limit your consumption to moderate amounts.” This means:

  • No more than two drinks per day for men and AMAB individuals.
  • No more than one drink per day for women and AFAB individuals.
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Watch Out for Miracle Supplements and “Cures”

Fibroid symptoms can be difficult to manage, leading many people to seek online advice and supplements in search of potential solutions. However, it’s crucial to exercise caution, as so-called “miracle cures” are typically ineffective and often a waste of money at best. At worst, they can be dangerous.

“Instead of relying on supplements or unverified advice from social media, prioritize seeking recommended medical care,” emphasizes Dr. Billow. “There’s no evidence to suggest that any natural supplements can cure or shrink fibroids, and neglecting regular healthcare visits could result in missing out on important health screenings.”

Pair Diet Changes with Physical Activity

In addition to making dietary adjustments, consider incorporating more physical activity into your daily routine. The good news is that you don’t have to join a gym or engage in strenuous exercise to reap benefits.

“Pair your diet modifications with regular physical activity, such as walking, to minimize fibroid symptoms,” advises Dr. Billow. “Regular exercise triggers the release of endorphins, which act as natural pain fighters. Moreover, increased physical activity positively impacts your mental well-being.”

Similar to a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to weight loss and lower estrogen levels in the body. “Combating fibroids is essentially about adopting an overall healthy lifestyle,” adds Dr. Billow. “By making changes to your diet and incorporating exercise, you can naturally achieve a hormonal balance.”

Focus on Small, Achievable Changes

Making adjustments to your diet is a step in the right direction if you wish to reduce the risk of fibroids. Moreover, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables while minimizing fatty meats can enhance overall health.

“Although there’s no guarantee that certain foods will prevent or shrink fibroids for everyone,” cautions Dr. Billow, “a healthy diet provides numerous benefits that will improve how you feel. It can boost your energy levels, help you achieve a healthy weight, and lower the risks of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.”

Changing your diet can be challenging, so it’s important to be patient with yourself. Avoid overwhelming yourself with significant changes all at once. Instead, gradually replace red meat and processed foods with fruits and vegetables to foster healthier habits.

“As time goes by, you may find that eating healthier foods becomes easier because you’ll feel better,” assures Dr. Billow. “Rather than viewing dietary changes as a miracle cure, consider them an investment in your overall health and well-being.”

For more information about uterine fibroids and ways to manage them, visit Ratingperson.

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