PCOS: Simple Ways To Treat It At Home.

PCOS is the most common endocrine condition that happens to women. Insulin resistance, genetics and hormonal imbalance are the main reasons for the condition. There is no one solution to PCOS. However, making changes in one’s diet and lifestyle can make a huge impact in managing PCOS.

 

How Diet affects PCOS?

 

Diet has a significant role in managing PCOS. The two main parts where diet plays the key factor is –

  • Weight management
  • Insulin resistance

A study shows that almost 50% of women with PCOS have insulin resistance. The rise of insulin levels in our body is due to the increase of glucose. This can happen due to various reasons like overeating, eating junks and sugar etc.  By treating insulin resistance, PCOS can be handled to a large extent.

 

 

 

Diet Changes to Manage PCOS

A woman suffering from PCOS has insulin levels already spiked up. The least she could do is to not increase it. Removing all those food items that are responsible for the insulin spikes can be a start. Later replacing it with healthier options can do the charm.

 

Replace and Remove

 

  • Refined carbs:

 

four sliced breads on plate

 

Simple carbohydrates are the main culprits in increasing the glucose levels in our body. So, the first step in the management of PCOS is to reduce the carbohydrate intake. But the sad part is that most portions of our diet is filled with carbohydrate rich foods such as white rice, maida, white bread and potato. These can be easily broken down into glucose in our body, leading to higher insulin levels.

 

  • Processed foods:

 

burger and fries in box

 

The mass produced processed foods harm our body to a very large extent. To add flavors, they contain added sugar in it, which must be a complete no for women with PCOS. Avoid those burgers, pizzas, and especially sugary cold drinks. They can easily increase your blood sugar level.

 

  •  Dairy Intake:

 

photo of milk bottle lot

 

We usually hear from our parents, about the goodness of the milk. But they forget the fact that today’s milk is not the same as they think. The milk that we get in our homes, goes through many processes such as pasteurization, homogenization, and is even added with pesticides. The intake of milk for women with PCOS acts as an androgen increasing food. So, it is advisable to reduce the dairy intake for stopping the hormonal imbalances in our body.

 

Increase and Include

 

  • Complex Carbohydrate:

 

 

If you think all carbs are bad. Think again? Our body needs carbohydrates, just not refined and simple carbs. Complex carbs like whole grains and sweet potatoes are actually good for our body. They don’t break down easily into glucose and provide energy for a longer time. Start by replacing your rice with rotis and maida with atta.

 

  • Fiber:

 

assorted variety of fruits

 

Fiber rich foods are the best option to reduce insulin resistance. This reduces digestion in our body, which inturn reduces the sugar levels. Fiber also makes us feel full easily. This makes us eat less and helps us to lose weight.

 

Some fiber rich foods:

 

Fruits                  :  Apple, oranges, strawberries, guava, pears 

Vegetables         :  Spinach, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Peas, beetroot

Legumes            :  Lentils, chickpeas, soybeans and kidney beans

Nuts and seeds  :  Almonds, flaxseeds and sunflower seeds

 

  • Protein:

 

flat-lay photography of assorted-variety of stir fried and vegetable foods

 

Just like fibers, eating fibers also make you feel full easily. Thus helping you to lose weight.

 

Protein rich foods:

 

Omega-3 rich foods such as Fish and Almonds.

Legumes, soy, nuts and seeds.

 

  • Antioxidant rich foods:

 

tray of food on white surface

 

Inflammation is one other problem that comes along with PCOS. Inflammation can be troublesome for our gut and digestive system. Foods rich in antioxidants can help with inflammation.

 

Foods rich in antioxidants:

 

Fruits                    : Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries.

Vegetables           : Spinach, artichokes, kale.

Whole Grains       : Whole oats, whole wheat, quinoa, brown rice.

Unsaturated fats  : Nuts like pecans and nut butters, olive oil, avocado. 

 

Conclusion

 

A balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle is a simple solution for reducing PCOS symptoms. This helps in reducing the glucose levels, further reducing the insulin resistance in our body. 

 

Remember the two golden rules to manage PCOS:

  1. Lose fat.
  2. Be mindful of what you eat.

 

Stop ignoring the signs that your body is giving you about PCOS. Start acting on it immediately before it’s late. Because if you ignore it for a long time, it can lead  to much more problematic complications.

Overeating and PCOS: The Cause and the Disease.

Overeating and Insulin resistance

 

There is no one reason that can be said as the cause of PCOS. But there are few habits that we develop that will for sure trigger and exceed the already existing PCOS in our body. One of them is Overeating.

Consider each individual cells in our body as little houses. These little houses function when we provide them with fuel as food.  The food which is converted into glucose is absorbed by our cells in order to attain energy. But excess of a good thing can cause havoc even in the little cell houses. When we overeat, it causes problems in the happy-go-lucky cell homes. The intake of glucose becomes difficult.

When a person overeats, it’s as if there has been a permanent lock in our cell houses for the intake of glucose. The work of insulin in our body is to open the cell house doors for the glucose to enter. But due to overeating, the glucose level rises in our body. It is thus very important to control our habit of overeating to manage insulin resistance and PCOS.

 

 

 

Now, since glucose has nowhere to go, it stays in the carrier itself. This leads to the assimilation of glucose in our blood rather than our cells. 

 

But the insulin still keeps trying. Our pancreas sees that there has been an increase in the blood sugar level. So, it tries to compensate it by producing more insulin. This excess production of insulin in our body is Hyperinsulinemia.

 

Hyperinsulinemia and PCOS

 

 

The excess production of Insulin or Hyperinsulinemia, is one of the reasons for the production of excess male hormones. These male hormones or androgens are the cause of PCOS.

 

Thee androgens are the reason for excess body hair, specifically facial hair, balding, acne, decreased breast size, deepening of the voice or increased muscle mass.

  

Not only this, high insulin, can even impair ovulation, leading to infertility in women. Thickening and darkening of the skin on the back of the neck, under the arms, and groin area, are also caused by this, which are the symptoms of PCOS.

 

Women with PCOS over-produce insulin in an attempt to maintain a normal blood sugar level, and this frequently leads to more androgen productions and weight gain.

 

So, even though we feel that we are having just one extra bite, overeating can have serious consequences.

 

It is thus very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep a check on our food habits. Because every time you make a wrong choice, you create a big mess in those little cell houses.

 

Overeating and Binge Eating disorder

 

Eating more food than what is needed for our body is called as Overeating. Our body spends a particular amount of energy and stores the rest in the form of fat in our body. Thus when a person overeats, he has too much excess after spending the energy required. All of which is settled in our body in form of fatty tissues.

Binge eating Disorder or BED is another eating disorder that is similar to overeating. However it is the most common eating disorder that was recognized by the American Psychiatric Association. A person with BED finds it very difficult to stop eating while binges. It may also take a toll on their mental health by causing depression and anxiety.

 

Symptoms of Overeating

 

person holding burger

 

  • You are not able to stop eating. You continue to eat even though you know its bad.
  • Eating very fast, eating until you are extremely full, eating even though you are not hungry, feeling depressed or sad after eating are some of the common symptoms.
  • Depression or mood swings. Eating disorders affects mental health adversely. Thus, it is common to have depression and anxiety if you binge-eat.
  • Excess weight gain in a short period of time.
  • Eating to feel better about any problems or embarrassment.

 

Ways to reduce Overeating

 

woman in black top

 

  • Eat every 3-4 hours, but in small quantity.
  • Reduce Carbs and increase protein and fiber intake. Protein and fiber makes you feel full faster. This helps you to reduce your food intake.
  • Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep may make you feel tired, which is compensated by overeating.
  • Get your insulin levels and diabetes checked. This can help you to know about your condition and act upon it.
  • Remember that you cannot change a habit of yours overnight. It takes time. Don’t pressurize yourself. Take small steps each day and soon you’ll be able to see a whole lot of difference.

 

Click here to know about the work of insulin in our body and more about Insulin resistance

Pre and Post Workout Meals

You take out time to hit the gym regularly from your busy schedule, You pack your gym bag, you make sure your gym outfit is comfortable, you buy right kind of shoes too but….

Is all that enough??

You must have seen many people doing workouts daily and taking a low-calorie diet too and still don’t reduce their weight. The reason could be as simple as they are not having their pre and post-workout meals or if they are taking, it’s not at the right time or not the right food!

Just like how your phone or laptop needs a charge, your body also needs fuel before starting that aggressive workout.

Pre-workout Meal

Why: By eating a pre-workout snack, we’re going to reduce muscle glycogen depletion.

What does this mean?

During exercise, the body converts glycogen into glucose which plays an important role in contracting muscles. This is where CARBS comes into play. We have to replenish Glycogen stores so they don’t run out.

When you are doing workouts at the gym you need to fuel up your body, as your body needs the energy to carry out that heavy workout. If you are doing a workout empty stomach, it will increase muscle protein breakdown, which means in simple words that your body will start eating up your muscles for energy purposes. If you are looking for muscle growth then that can only happen if the production of protein increases protein breakdown… this is where PROTEIN comes into play.

What: So now it’s pretty obvious what we’re supposed to be eating a combination of Proteins and carbs before our workout to protect our body to go in “catabolic” state. Now you may wonder as they say that carbs make you gain weight…..STOP. There are two types of carbs, simple and complex that you require at different time and for different purposes.

Nutrient-rich examples of pre-workout meals include:

  • Oatmeal with berries, a few nuts, low-fat Greek yogurt and water
  • Grilled chicken, egg whites, brown rice, green beans, and unsweetened-tea
  • Turkey and cheese sandwich on whole-wheat bread with lettuce, tomato, and avocado, sweet potato or fruit and water

When: As we discussed earlier timing is important, try to eat your pre-workout snack 30-60 minutes before your workout. If you work out early in the morning and don’t have time to eat hours before, try a granola bar, banana or even dry cereal or crackers 15-30 minutes before you get moving.

If the workout will be intense or extra long, pump the snack up to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, protein bar or even a smoothie with whey protein, fruit, and water.

Post-workout Meal

Why: After a workout, your body is in the “Anabolic/Building” stage when your muscles are “recovering” and “replenishing”. If you don’t feed your body it’s going to start eating the protein/muscle in your body… and that will be the last thing that you want to happen.

Post-workout snack also allows you to gain more lean muscle, which leads to better metabolism and fat burning ability as well as faster recovery, with comparatively less soreness and future performance.

Therefore, try consuming the two macros in a ratio of 3:1 (carbs to protein).

 

What: Supply your muscles with carbohydrates to replace whatever glycogen was wasted off in exercise. Simple carbohydrates are ideal immediately post-workout because they break down quickly, such as fruits.

Consuming an adequate amount of protein after a workout gives your body the amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild these proteins.

Consuming 1.1–1.5 grams/kg of body weight within 30-45 minutes after training results in proper glycogen resynthesis

Furthermore, insulin secretion, which promotes glycogen synthesis, is better stimulated when carbs and protein are consumed at the same time

Exercise can cause muscle breakdown and high-quality protein, like milk, yogurt, eggs, cheese, and lean meats can help rebuild and repair muscle fibers.

Whey protein is a good choice after a workout as your body can digest it quickly and it contains the highest content of leucine, an amino acid that has been shown to help build and repair muscles after a workout.

Also, don’t forget to rehydrate yourself with fluid and electrolytes you sweated out during exercise.

Carbs: Include things like sweet potatoes, milk, brown rice, fruits, rice, oatmeal, potatoes, whole-wheat pasta, Dark leafy vegetables.

Protein: Animal or plant-based protein, Eggs, Greek yogurt, Cottage cheese (paneer), Salmon, chicken, protein bar, tuna, sprouted legumes, nuts, nut butter, avocado.

When: Although the timing does not need to be exact, try to eat within 45 minutes of doing a workout. The more you will delay having your post-workout meal the slower the rate will be for glycogen synthesis. For example, as little as two hours after a workout may lead to as much as 50% lower rates of glycogen synthesis.

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