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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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Diet, exercise and sunlight: Three factors women shouldn’t ignore for good bone health

Dr. Dharini Krishnan

Dr. Dharini Krishnan
11 January 2021

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.

Barring a significant injury or fracture, we rarely tend to think about bone health. Yet, for women, particularly those who are middle-aged or older, this is a vital concern because of the risk of osteoporosis.

In 2013, it was estimated that there were 50 million Indians who were osteoporotic or having low bone mass. Some studies have found that the prevalence of osteoporosis could be as high as 42.5% in women over the age of 50.

Osteoporosis and health complications

Eat Breakfast

Osteoporosis comes from the Latin for “porous bone”, and is a condition where bone tissue loses its density, and becomes weaker and more fragile. Such bones are easily susceptible to breaks, resulting in pain, disability and loss of functionality in everyday life.

Bones, which form the primary supporting framework of the body, grow from birth till our early twenties, which is the period of peak bone mass. Bone is an active tissue that undergoes regular replacement in conditions of health.

In osteoporosis, however, bone formation is outpaced by bone loss, leading to porosity or thinness of bone tissue and brittle bones. Such bones could easily be fractured even in the absence of significant trauma. Such fractures tend to reduce mobility and lead to increased hospitalization and dependence on others.

Why osteoporosis affects women more

Women are particular at risk for osteoporosis because they have lesser bone mass to start with. The geometry and structure of bone have also been increasingly recognized as important risk factors for fracture.

The risk of osteoporosis significantly rises during menopause because of the hormonal changes women undergo at the time. This is because estrogen plays a significant role in maintaining bone health, and the secretion of this hormone falls drastically during menopause.

The importance of protein and calcium in the diet

Skin Care

For some time now, awareness of the importance of calcium for bone health has been growing. Hence, women are advised to consume sufficient amounts of dairy, green leafy vegetables, soya products and nuts.

What many don’t realise is that sufficient levels of protein are just as important for strong bones. After all, protein makes up roughly 50% of bone volume and about one-third of its mass. Daily intake of protein is also necessary to provide the raw materials for bone formation. Unfortunately, research shows that the levels of dietary protein consumed by Indians are actually reducing.

For non-vegetarians chicken, fish and eggs are good sources of protein. For vegetarians, pulses are one of the primary sources of protein, along with dairy products. Daily intake of protein in at least two major meals of the day, particularly in healthy forms such as sambhar or dal is, therefore, vital.

The role of exercise and sunlight

Eat Breakfast

Bone health also requires good muscle health. This makes it necessary to undertake moderate exercise as often as possible. A 45-minute walk six days a week as well as resistance training using the body weight, such as surya namaskaras, can go a long way to building muscles. Importantly, the body also requires Vitamin D to mobilize calcium for bone health. Hence, exposure to peak sunlight between 11am and 3 pm at least twice a week is also vital for bone health.

Osteoporosis can be a serious health problem that disrupts life and limits mobility, particularly for women. However, a healthy diet, rich in calcium and protein, together with exercise, can go a long way in maintaining bone health.



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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