1 in 15 women deal with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).
Unfortunately with this ailment your hormones become unbalanced, which affects the way you look & feel, your menstrual cycle, and your fertility.
You have a greater risk of developing PCOS if another female within your family also had small cysts on her ovaries. It’s these cysts that cause all the hormonal imbalances.
Did you know this? It is clear that your risk for diabetes is higher with PCOS! About 50% of PCOS sufferers have diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Its similar to “metabolic syndrome” in that you are at an increased risk of heart attacks, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, as well as anxiety, and depression.
Therefore, you really need to be even more diligent about your eating regime and “nourishing not punishing” with these fuels, will aid in becoming powerful preventive tools.
What occurs with PCOS?
- The cysts impair the regular functions of your ovaries:
- You produce more male hormones like testosterone. Ovulation becomes impaired, so your menstrual cycle becomes impaired, leading to fertility difficulty. Acne, hirsutism, unwanted facial hair and excess body hair can also become a problem due to the elevated male hormones.
- You have difficulty processing the hormone insulin. You pancreas has to work harder and fatigues, the excess blood glucose is unfortunately packages up and stored as body fat.
- Excess insulin and the male sex hormones leads to accumulation of higher levels of body fat around your vital organs in the abdomen, called visceral fat. This once more leads to higher risk for metabolic disease. About 80% of women with PCOS are overweight or obese!
- The hunger hormone Ghrelin (which we talked about yesterday) can be dis-regulated. This means that your hungrier, and less able to sense your satiety, or fullness, so you may keep eating!
- Research continually suggests a combination of a balanced eating regime, and prescribed medication, such as oral hypoglycaemic agents used for diabetes, can help regulate your menstrual cycles, fertility, and overall health. The most effective eating plan for PCOS focuses on aspects to improve your insulin sensitivity and reduce your total body weight and body fat levels.
So how do you make your eating plan PCOS friendly?
When restricting your eating regime and getting nutritious foods, especially with a hormone disrupting ailment such as PCOS, its essential that the foods your eating, your enjoying, and your satisfied with. Like all dieting, if you feel deprived, starved, and unsatisfied something is going to give. Its would seem you are not feeding yourself properly and you definitely wont be able to sustain the eating regime you are following, your will power will fail you!
So your success needs to be found in an eating regime that’s well rounded, balanced, nutritious, and enjoyable, and formulated around supplying enough of the following:
- Dietary fibre: Yes, as with all things eating for fat loss and weight loss, one of the most critical factors is eating enough dietary fibre. Why? Dietary fibre assists in controlling your blood glucose levels, assisting is controlling your hunger. This is due to the fact fibre takes much longer to be digested and is not quickly absorbed like refined carbohydrates, which cause rapid peaks and drops in your blood glucose levels. Because of this longer time to be digested, fibre helps keep you feeling fuller for longer. Your goal is to aim for 25-40g per day from whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes! Increase your daily fibre levels slowly. If you have not typically been a regular fibre consumer go slow otherwise constipation and upset stomachs may be likely. Add roughly 5g per day to your current fibre intake. Foods typically high in dietary fibre are rich in other nutrients, which can assist in controlling your blood glucose levels as well as reduce your risks for heart disease with PCOS. Examples include magnesium, and B vitamins are found in the nutrient rich bran and germ of whole grains, but when the grain is refined, these nutrients are lost.
- Magnesium: Low magnesium levels are correlated with insulin resistance and increased blood pressure. So try to get more nutrition from foods like bran, spinach, brazil nuts, almonds, flaxseeds, and a bit of dark chocolate just to name a few. Ladies with PCOS have significantly lower levels of the mineral magnesium in most cases, so getting more of the wonderful foods may well assist you.
- Vitamin B12: All the mighty B group vitamins play an integral role in converting the foods you eat into energy. Women with PCOS have been found to lower levels of B12, which is found in animal products. Low levels of B12 are correlated with insulin resistance, obesity, and elevated homocysteine (a strong risk factor for heart disease). Introduce more seafood, eggs, & low fat dairy.
- Yes again the mighty Omega 3 fatty acids: You all know that Omega 3 fatty acids are beneficial in reducing inflammation and improving blood cholesterol levels, so there fore being even more important to you the PCOS sufferer. Did you know this? Omega 3 fatty acids may lower the male sex hormone, decreasing unwanted side effects like facial hair. Research shows omega 3 can help you feel more satisfied by increasing your bodies sensitivity to leptin (which we again talked about yesterday), the hormone that tells you you’re full! So try eating some more walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, high fat fish like sardines, mackerel, herrings, salmon, and those awesome dark green leafy vegetables!
- Zinc: may also help increasing circulating leptin to help you become more in tune with your physical hunger. Oysters, whole grains and red meat may assist with this one.
- Important: Leptin decreases as your weight decreases as you reduce you energy intake, making it more difficult to keep your appetite in check. So make sure you get a quality lean protein in each meal, which contains all the important nutrients such as zinc, B vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids, which can help offset this change in your hormones – especially because the hunger hormone ghrelin may increase with PCOS. Lean proteins such as seafood, lower in fat cuts of red meat, and poultry, low fat dairy, beans, and eggs are all brilliant options for you!
- Calcium and Vitamin D: calcium may improve insulin sensitivity and requires Vitamin D for absorption, and they both are required for ovarian follicle development. Calcium is found in dairy foods, dark green leafy vegetables like collards and spinach, almonds, and sardines. Vitamin D is found in fortified milk. Salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, eggs, sunshine, shitake mushrooms and button mushrooms.
How to fight back against Insulin resistance to reduce your risk of developing diabetes with PCOS?
*Monitor your caffeine intake: high caffeine levels may reduce insulin sensitivity by some 15%. So be honest with you and reduce your java intake and or diet soda intake!
*Limit refined carbohydrates: Simple, to much refined carbohydrate stuff plays havoc with your blood glucose levels, this is not desired at all!
*Don’t forget about regular activity: Yes, exercise helps improve insulin sensitivity and boosts your eight loss overall.PCO
So there you have it ladies and gentlemen, the what, when and why of PCOS. I do hope it helps some of you better understand the ailment, and secondly help you take control and better manage the situation with food, exercise and mind massage!