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Living with PCOD

Karishma Chawla

Karishma Chawla
24 October 2020

This article is authored by Karishma Chawla. She is a practising nutritionist and a weight loss expert. She advises people on what to eat in order to lead a healthy lifestyle or to achieve a specific health-related goal.

Eat Breakfast

Traditionally known as PCOD, Poly-Cystic Ovary Disease is now known as Poly-Cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), due to the nature of the condition and the wide range of hormonal changes and secondary complications which can differ for every individual case. This condition refers to the formation of many “poly” cysts in the ovaries along with imbalances in sex hormone levels, irregularities in the menstrual cycle, problems in ovulation (egg release) and conceiving (getting pregnant). The hormone imbalances further lead to high risk of various health conditions as secondary complications. A woman is said to have PCOS if she has two or more of the following conditions:

• Multiple cysts developed in one or both the ovaries along with enlarged ovaries

• Irregular menstrual cycles longer than 35 days or prolonged periods that may be scant or heavy

• Irregular ovulation (or no ovulation) where ovaries are unable to release eggs every monthly cycle

• High levels of androgen, male hormones such as Testosterone, Androstenedione and DHEA.

It is important for women with PCOS/ PCOD to maintain a healthy weight or rather a healthy body fat percentage due to the complications of PCOS/ PCOD that include:

• Drop in metabolism leads to increase in fat

• Insulin levels seems to high in women with PCOS, which can lead to insulin resistance and high risk of diabetes

• Problems in lipid profile

• High risk of fatty liver

• Gestational diabetes

• Risk of endometrial cancer

• Risk of anxiety and depression

• Risk of autoimmune diseases

• Increase in prolactin levels

• Difficulty in conception

These complications may make it difficult for women with this condition to reduce weight or maintain a healthy weight. But let me specify, a woman with PCOS may take a little longer in reaching her ideal body fat percentage as compared to a woman without PCOS. But fat loss a.k.a weight loss is not impossible. It would rather make sense to focus on the 2 key factors of weight loss that are - commitment and consistency!

PCOS/ PCOD Diet & Nutritional Choices

How to Increase Immune System

Carbohydrates must be strictly low glycaemic index and high in fibre. They must be limited to small quantities for low carb load and more importantly tapered down towards the night. Good sources include whole grains such as dalia, jowar, ragi and other millets. It is equally important to crowd out refined carbohydrate and sugar.

The best options for fats would be olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, and rice bran for cooking. Quantity should be around 2-3 teaspoon for cooking per day along with supplemental Omega 3 fats. You can also can add cold pressed coconut oil in the day as it has the building blocks for hormone health and it also helps in lowering inflammation (seen in PCOS) in the body facilitating weight loss.

Adequate proteins are a must for healthy diet. Add chicken, fish, eggs, unpolished dals, pulses, raw nuts and seeds, milk and milk products like paneer and buttermilk. As dairy may not suit some individuals, you can drop the dairy protein and include plant based protein like pulses and unpolished dal.

Magnesium-rich foods help to balance blood sugar such as cashew, almonds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds and beans. These can be extremely beneficial in your diet. Also include Omega 3 rich foods such as fatty fish like mackerel, salmon and sardine, walnuts and flaxseeds. In addition to these also include insulin sensitizers such as chromium, apple cider vinegar, methi seeds to your diet.

Exercise
Sufficient amount of exercise is also extremely important. Regular intense resistance training for a powerful after burn effect to increase metabolism is a must. Cardiovascular training is also needed to add to the total fat burning. /p>

Lifestyle measures
Ensure 7-8 hours of sleep. Exposure to sunlight within 30 minutes of waking can help boost serotonin levels that in turn help boost melatonin levels at night and ensure better sleep. Stress management techniques such as journaling, meditation, deep breathing, shaking (dancing), acupuncture, learning a new skill, hobby, sport, prayers and journaling can also help.

Gut health & PCOD diet Gut health and polycystic ovarian syndrome can influence each other. Inflammation and dysbiosis (imbalance in the gut bacteria) in the gut can contribute to PCOS. Inflammation can lead to decrease in testosterone production – hallmark symptom of PCOS, causing physical effects such as weight gain, PMS symptoms, hair loss, and decreased or absent ovulation. Its metabolic effects include blood sugar imbalance and insulin resistance. Overtime this can increase the heart of heart disease, stroke and cancer. To combat this, add the following to your diet.

• Probiotics (beneficial bacteria) foods- Include fermented veggies such as carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, cucumber and raddish. Consuming 2 tbls of these at lunch and dinner is beneficial.

• Prebiotic (foods that the bacteria feed on) foods – Include whole grains, fruits and veggies, specifically barley, rajgira millet, brinjal, onion and garlic are beneficial.

This condition can be smartly controlled with a PCOS/PCOD specific diet and lifestyle interventions, which can help all women lead a normal and fulfilling life. The key factor in this journey being discipline. Take the right steps as soon as you know about your diagnosis to lead a healthy life.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

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Pregnancy’s effect on blood pressure and how a healthy diet helps

This article is authored by Dr. Dharini Krishnan, an award-winning Consultant Dietitian, she believes that for a healthy body and mind, we must combine modern medicine with native Indian practices which are proven to benefit us.

It is no mean feat to grow another human being inside oneself. So, it comes as no surprise that pregnancy has several profound impacts on the body.

Plasma volume increases progressively through pregnancy. Cardiac output increases by 20%. The mother’s body requires more iron to produce foetal haemoglobin and certain other enzymes, as well as folate and B12. Her glucose metabolism undergoes changes to provide the foetus with sufficient glucose and energy and fuel its development. And the growing uterus causes mechanical changes to the digestive tract, pushing the stomach upwards and increasing gastric pressure.

Pregnancy and blood pressure

Eat Breakfast

Among these many changes, one significant shift that women should watch out for is a change in blood pressure. The pregnancy causes blood pressure to decrease in the first and second trimester but increase in the third. This increase in blood pressure can have a significant effect on the foetus if care is not taken.

It can cause a decrease in blood flow to the placenta, affecting the amount of oxygen the baby receives. This can, in turn, lead to intrauterine growth restriction, low birth weight, or premature birth. High blood pressure can also cause the placenta to be separated from the uterine wall, causing severe bleeding.

There are several factors that contribute to increases in blood pressure during pregnancy. The risk increases if women are overweight or obese, over 35 years of age, not getting enough physical activity, carrying more than one child or have a family history of hypertension.

How a healthy diet can help

Skin Care

Pregnant woman must also look into their iodine intake, as deficiency of iodine in the mother can lead to congenital abnormalities and decreased intelligence. Supplementation of iodine in severely deficient mothers is likely to increase the IQ of the infant. In severe cases of deficiency cretinism could precipitate. Iodine deficiency also leads to hypothyroid issues in the mother and infant. The easiest and best way to ensure that the required iodine reaches the mother is through iodised salt.

However, one of the main contributors to high blood pressure is dietary sodium. Sodium levels in the diet increase from added salt as well as from processed or ready-to-eat foods. Hence, pregnant women should highly restrict the consumption of foods high in sodiumsuch as pickles, papads, and preserved food. Store-bought sauces are also another prominent contributor of sodium and should be avoided as far as possible.

One good way to do this is to replace salty tastes with tangy or citrus tastes. For instance, pregnant women require a large quantity of fresh fruits and vegetables in their daily diet to ensure adequate micronutrients. A good way to achieve this without adding more salt to the diet is through fresh salads seasoned with lime juice or coriander.

Another clear contributor to high blood pressure is bad cholesterol. When the arteries get clogged due to cholesterol, this forces the heart to pump harder, which increases blood pressure. Thus, women should also stay away from unhealthy cooking such as fried foods and dishes containing trans fats. What’s more, fried foods also often contain high levels of sodium, which increases sodium intake.

Sweets and desserts, particularly those prepared outside the home, can also be red flag. Such preparations often contain unhealthy fats, which again contribute to bad cholesterol and high blood pressure.

While it might seem like that cravingsareundeniable, all our cravings are learnt and we do get used to a variety of tastes over time. So, when eating while pregnant, it’s time to cut down on sodium-richand fatty foods, and experiment with more fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as a range of other spices and herbs. This will ensure that you and your baby stay healthy and happy.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

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