Uterine fibroids are surprisingly common — up to 75 percent of us will have at least one of these benign growths by our 50th birthday. And while they’re not cancerous, fibroids can cause abdominal pain, bladder leaks, and chronic lower-back pain. The five tips below will help prevent and shrink fibroids…
Bathe in the sun.
Spend 20 minutes daily soaking up the sun, and your risk of fibroids will drop by 32 percent — and if you already have fibroids, they could shrink by as much as 75 percent, report researchers. Gynecologist Alice Aggiusti, MD, says sun exposure prompts the skin to make vitamin D-3 — a nutrient that keeps uterine cells healthy. Not outdoors often? Taking 2,000 IU of vitamin D-3 daily is also protective. Note: Always check with your doctor before supplementing.
Go for a stroll.
Getting 30 minutes of exercise daily will cut your risk of fibroids by as much as 67 percent — plus tamp down symptoms in as little as five days if you already have one, report Chinese researchers. That’s because exercise boosts blood circulation to the pelvis, helping to flush away fibroid-fueling excess hormones.
Serve up extra pasta sauce.
Getting plenty of the pigment that makes tomatoes red (lycopene) can cut your fibroid risk in half — and Turkish researchers say you absorb three times more lycopene from cooked tomatoes than from the raw fruit.
Dig in to broccoli.
Whether it’s broccoli, cabbage, or kale, enjoying 1 cup of your favorite cruciferous veggie daily can cut your risk of fibroids by 45 percent and halt their growth if you already have them. Gynecologist Yang Shen, MD, explains these vegetables contain a compound that curbs the growth of abnormal uterine cells.
Add lemon to tea.
Sipping five cups of green tea daily delivers enough uterus-protecting EGCG to cut fibroid risk by 33 percent. And you can boost the benefits by adding 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice. Purdue researchers report that lemon’s plant acids triple the amount of EGCG the body can absorb from each mug of tea.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.