Healing foods&Herbs: Fibroids; an Epidemic Condition of the Nigerian Woman
We are all too familiar with Fibroids, especially among the Nigerian female population. This condition somehow has blossomed into a sort of epidemic among women of childbearing age.
According to the National Institutes of Health, up to 80 per cent of women have them by age 50. However, it is problematic for some (20 to 50%), and that number increases with women of African origin. As a result, many women are subject to infertility, blood loss, invasive surgery, pelvic pain and worse. Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths of the uterus. Fibroid tumours can occur in the middle muscle layer of the uterus (submucosal), be embedded in the muscle wall of the uterus (intramural), or on the outside of your uterus (subserosal). Symptoms include heavy periods, cramping, painful intercourse and pelvic pain.
Fibroids can be diagnosed with an ultrasound or can even be felt through the abdomen by a physician. Although no one knows the exact cause of fibroids, research has shown that several factors may lead to their formation.
The elements includes having a family history of fibroids, pregnancy, being of African origin, being overweight and especially hormones! An increase in estrogen increases your risk of fibroids among other things — excess estrogen links to the current overconsumption of certain processed foods that provide the body with excess estrogen.
Let us put it this way; estrogen is like fertiliser to fibroids!
What can be done to remedy or prevent this situation? Too many of our young women are undergoing invasive surgeries to remove the fibroids, and some people even have to remove their womb to get relief. The worst part is that we are now seeing considerable fibroids in young teenagers as well.
Let’s go back to our food choices and examine how what we eat can affect our health. We live in a country that is bombarded by influences from all over the world.
These influences include their food which most of us have come to adapt to — unfortunately, several of those food choices, especially many western packaged foods, dairy products, red meat, soy products, products that contain sugar, gluten-containing foods and pastries which contain compounds that increase the amount of estrogen in our bodies. They also contribute to inflammation which can make fibroids worse.
The question remains, what can we do to prevent or event shrink fibroids? I always recommend first of all eliminating all the offensive foods from your diet. I also recommend eating as many raw fruits (not fruit juice) and green vegetables as possible. Green vegetables especially when eaten raw, help eliminate toxins and excess estrogen from the body. To make it easy, buy some spinach, vegetable leaf and ugwu, and blend it with ripe pineapple.
Make sure to include the pineapple core as it contains the highest amount of bromelain- a digestive enzyme that helps to shrink tumours. Also add pawpaw to the mix which contains papain, another digestive enzyme. A simple ratio to remember is 1 cup vegetables to 1 cup of fruit. Drink a glass of the mixture three times a day and make sure to drink at least 3 litres of water a day.
Two more potent but natural digestive enzyme that helps to shrink fibroids are nattokinase and serrapeptase. When taken at the right dosage and with all these dietary changes, these enzymes can help shrink fibroids and reduce symptoms caused by them.
Tobi Ayodele Keeney is the Managing Director of Quincy Herbals, a natural health and skincare company based in Nigerian and the United States of America.
She has a Bachelor in Psychology and Biochemistry as well as a Master’s of Science in Nursing with a speciality in critical care from the University of Maryland. For questions on Healing Foods & Herbs-email [email protected]