Diet is your best medicine

  • December 7, 2016
  • PCOS
  • Women's Health

Diet is your best medicine

The prevalence of bad fats, sugar, sodium and chemicals in the majority of modern foods we eat are causing a lot of health issues. Trans fat can lead to heart disease, excessive sugar can cause diabetes and obesity, this we all know but did you know what you eat can contribute toward fatigue, irritability, anxiety and even conditions like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis and fibroids through increases in oestrogen?

The culprits

Sadly it is the foods we love that often cause us the most problems. E.g. elevated levels of insulin can exacerbate the symptoms of PCOS and insulin is produced when certain carbohydrates are converted into energy. It just so happens those carbs are found in delicious things like soda, cakes, biscuits and crisps as is sugar.

Sugar is a major cause of obesity and obesity ranks highly for causes of infertility, irregular periods, breast and ovarian cancer and PCOS as well as aggravating symptoms of prolapse, urinary incontinence, endometriosis and fibroids. However it’s not just sugar, it’s our diets as a whole. You can still be overweight on a “healthy diet” so try to stick to the recommended daily allowance of 2000 calories.

Another daily-consumed culprit is sodium, or salt. Sodium is vital to our survival and salt is the seasoning of choice for almost every culture in the world. Try to keep to the recommended intake of 2300 mg per day.

Changing diets

Dramatically changing the way we eat is a difficult process and not something that should be attempted overnight if we want lasting results. However, there are gradual changes we can make in order to live more healthily and manage the symptoms of various health conditions.

For example, a few simple carbohydrate swaps will make all the difference. Different types of carbohydrate have different effects on postprandial glucose levels and glycaemic index, or in plain English: wholemeal carbohydrates produce less insulin than white bread or pasta and are better for you. Wholemeal, brown rice and sweet potatoes are better for you and leave you fuller for longer so can help with weight management.

Switch food for water. The brain cannot always distinguish between hungry and thirsty so often when salty foods start to dehydrate us we think we want more of it when really all we want is a glass of water.

If you’re a coffee drinker, we get that coffee is important to you too much caffeine can cause anxiety which contributes towards weight gain and exacerbates some conditions. Consider switching to tea as it contains the caffeine content comparable to coffee but it’s full of antioxidants. Green tea is especially good and some studies have shown that drinking 5 cups of green tea per day can help you lose weight or keep it off.

Healthier you

You don’t need to stop eating all the foods you love but you definitely should look into ways to make them healthier – which can be fun and rewarding. You can still eat a burger but use grass-fed meat, a wholemeal bun and reduced sugar and salt condiments.

It is important to increase your fibre intake with more fruits and vegetables and ensure you are getting the recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D. Folic acid supplements are recommended for pregnant women but all women could benefit from taking them too.

It’s also important not to go overboard with switching to low- or fat-free foods for two great reasons. The first being that fat is not all bad. The type of fat consumed is more important than the amount of fat. Trans fat equals bad, oily fish and polyunsaturated fats equals good.

Within days of eating right we start to feel better because we’re getting nutrients that the body desperately needs. This often sees many of your issues dissipate or disappear completely whether it is pain, anxiety, weight, sleeping problems or other women’s health issues.

Better gynaecological health

The link between health and diet is an important one that shouldn’t be understated, especially for women because the old adage of ‘you are what you eat’ is completely true. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your health and diet with one of our trained gynaecologists get in touch today to book an appointment.

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