Citrus Fruits May Reduce the Risk of Endometriosis


Citrus Fruits May Reduce the Risk of Endometriosis

Researchers analyzed more than 70,000 women over 20 years.

Key Points

Highlights:

  • Fruit and vegetable consumption may be associated with the risk of endometriosis.

Importance:

  • Especially consuming one or more servings of citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits per day may lower the risk of endometriosis while consuming the same amount of cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts may increase this risk.

Key results:

  • Women consuming one or more servings of citrus fruits daily had a 22 percent lower risk of developing endometriosis compared to those consuming less than one serving per week.
  • Women consuming one or more servings per day of cruciferous vegetables had a 13 percent higher risk of developing endometriosis compared to women consuming less than one serving per week.

Limitations of the study:

  • The food intake was self-reported by the women who were analyzed, which may introduce some errors to the survey.

Lay Summary

Eating more fruits, and especially citrus fruits like oranges, and grapefruit may lower the risk of a woman developing endometriosis, found a study published in the scientific journal Human Reproduction. In contrast, some vegetables may increase the risk of the condition.

Very few studies have examined the association between the consumption of fruit and vegetables and the risk of endometriosis to date. To better decipher this relationship, a group of researchers from the U.S. analyzed data collected from 70,835 women between 1991 and 2013. The women’s diet was assessed with a food frequency questionnaire every four years.

During the study period, 2,609 women developed endometriosis, which was confirmed laparoscopically. The researchers found that there was an inverse association between higher fruit consumption and the risk of endometriosis. This was particularly evident in citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits with women consuming one or more servings of citrus fruits daily having a 22 percent lower risk of endometriosis compared to those consuming less than one serving per week.

According to the researchers, beta-cryptoxanthin in these fruits may partially explain this lower risk. Beta-cryptoxanthin is a compound belonging to a class of carotenoid that give fruits and vegetables their yellow and orange color, and that is converted to vitamin A in the human body. (Women with endometriosis have been reported to have a lower intake of vitamin A compared to those without endometriosis.)

The researcher also looked at whether the consumption of vegetables was linked to the risk of endometriosis. Although authors could not find any associations between total vegetable intake and risk of endometriosis, the women consuming one or more servings per day of cruciferous vegetables had a 13 percent higher risk of developing endometriosis compared to women consuming less than one serving per week.

“It is not clear what components of these foods might underlie the observed associations,” the researchers wrote. They added: “Future studies examining dietary patterns that consider different combinations of food intake may help clarify these associations.”


Research Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29401293


Diet

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