Have you been given conflicting information regarding whether vegan pcos is beneficial or detrimental? You're not alone. Several of my vegan clients who have PCOS have told me that they have heard some confusing things, such as the suggestion that they should follow an extremely low-carb diet such as keto, which is gaining popularity. Additionally, a great deal of information on the internet conflicts with one another.
Have you been given conflicting information regarding whether veganism is beneficial or detrimental to PCOS? You're not alone. Several of my vegan clients who have PCOS have told me that they have heard some confusing things, such as the suggestion that they should follow an extremely low-carb diet such as keto, which is gaining popularity. Additionally, a great deal of information on the internet conflicts with one another.
Carbohydrate consumption on vegan diets is not healthy. To treat PCOS, you need to consume animal protein, and the hormones in your body can't handle Soy. PCOS patients shouldn't "optimize" their diet by becoming vegan.
Whether you've ever thought about these things or are looking for ways to control PCOS while following a vegan diet, this post is for you. To clarify, the author of this piece is NOT suggesting that to manage PCOS symptoms, readers should adopt a vegan diet. PCOS vegans who feel they've been pushed into a position where they have to choose between their health and their principles will find this post helpful. Thankfully, consuming animal products is not required to control PCOS symptoms. You are entitled to care that is respectful toward you, that takes into consideration your choices and ethics, and that adheres to evidence-based principles. Even if you're not vegan, you could learn something new or discover something intriguing in this post.
When I work with clients who have PCOS to make dietary and lifestyle adjustments that are supportive of their condition, we often have a few primary goals in mind:
Try to guess which of these benefits may be attained by eating more vegetables. Every single one! Further, it can lower androgens (hormones responsible for acne, excessive hair growth, and other symptoms), improve menstrual cycles, and prevent heart disease and type 2 diabetes associated with PCOS…
There are many misconceptions regarding nutrition in general; however, when PCOS and veganism are considered, the situation might appear to be much more confusing. Let's take a look at some of the most common misunderstandings that exist today.
Carbohydrates from sources such as whole grains, legumes, fruit, and starchy vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber and are associated with many health benefits. However, carbohydrates that come from poor sources are currently being demonized. People with PCOS should prioritize reducing their levels of inflammation, improving the quality of their eggs, maintaining a healthy microbiome in their gut, and lowering their risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
But don't carbohydrates cause an increase in the amount of insulin and sugar in the blood?
To begin, I want to point out that it is natural for our blood sugar and insulin levels to increase after we have eaten. Blood sugar equals glucose, which translates to energy for our cells and the rest of our bodies. Since insulin is what enables glucose to get into our cells to be used, an increase in glucose levels after a meal causes an increase in insulin levels as well. Suppose you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). In that case, your cells may be resistant to insulin, which means that insulin cannot perform its function of transporting glucose into your cells as effectively. The good news is that dietary patterns that emphasize the consumption of plants are linked to lower levels of insulin resistance.
Second, consuming carbohydrates in combination with protein, fat, and fiber increases blood sugar (and insulin). Consuming carbohydrates regularly throughout the day with each meal and snack also helps. A vegan lunch that has all of these elements would consist of black beans (protein, carbohydrates, and fiber), sweet potato (carbs and fiber), mixed greens (fiber), and avocado (fat).
Studies have indicated that following a low-carbohydrate diet might cause an increase in the stress hormone cortisol in the body, which in turn can cause an increase in inflammation. It has also been demonstrated that cutting back on carbohydrates (or calories) can lead to intense food cravings and binge eating. Have you ever tried to cut back on carbohydrates, only to find that you could not handle them after reintroducing them into your diet? This is the reason!
If you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), you should not feel guilty about eating meals that include carbohydrates; doing so may even be advantageous. Consuming meals that are high in carbohydrate, of course, are tasty.
The question of whether vegans can obtain enough protein from plant sources is another one, and the answer is that they can. Plant-based proteins may be found in various foods, including legumes (beans, peas, and lentils), whole grains, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, seitan, and vegan faux meats. Even vegetables include a little amount of protein and add to the overall amount of protein in a meal. You may find About five grams of protein in a single cooked cup's worth of artichokes, sugar snap peas, or spinach, and there are 9 grams in a cup of green peas.
Make sure you incorporate some of these foods that are richer in protein into each meal. Consuming a wide variety of plant-based protein sources, with an emphasis on eating at least three servings of legumes daily, guarantees you will have all of the essential amino acids, some additional vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Are you looking for some meal ideas that are strong in protein? Watch these videos (part one and part two) created by Sadia Badiei, a fellow dietician.
It is true that some plant-based protein sources, including beans and lentils, also include carbs; but, due to the high protein and fiber content of these meals, they are regarded to be low-glycemic (which means they digest more slowly, helping blood sugar stay stable). You may learn more about why eating beans benefits PCOS by reading more about the topic here.
Certainly not in every case. According to findings from the Nurses' Health Study II, ovulatory infertility was experienced by women who consumed the most protein at a rate 41 percent higher than the rate experienced by women who consumed the least amount of protein. Additionally, the kind of protein that is consumed is significant. Women who consumed a greater quantity of protein derived from plants had lower rates of infertility than women who consumed the most effective amount of protein derived from animals.
There are many myths about the use of Soy, a component of the vegan diet for some people. Consumable forms of Soy include fresh (edamame), dried (soybeans), fermented (miso), mint (tofu and tempeh), soymilk, soy sauce, isolated protein powders, and mock meats (soy hot dogs and burgers). Because it includes all 9 of the body's required amino acids, Soy is regarded as a "complete" protein.
The phytoestrogens in Soy are the primary source of debate over this food. Studies have indicated that phytoestrogens, which are not the same as estrogen produced by humans, have beneficial effects on human health. These advantages include enhanced cardiovascular fitness, lower incidences of breast and uterine cancer, and fewer symptoms associated with menopause.
Bean receives much criticism, given that other plant foods, including beans, lentils, flaxseeds, and wheat berries, all contain phytoestrogens. Incorporating Soy into your diet is not dangerous unless you have a known allergy to Soy.
Read this post by Angela Grassi, a qualified dietitian, for a summary of the research on Soy and PCOS. When I work with clients who are worried about the health effects of Soy, I frequently refer them to this handout.
To whose standards is it optimal? Which research exactly? It suggests that a diet is ideal or optimum for PCOS, but the evidence necessary to determine this is not yet available. PCOS is a condition with no established dietary treatment protocol; thus, personalized medical nutrition therapy is essential. Both vegans and omnivores have the potential to have diets that are either balanced or imbalanced.
We do have information on vegetarian and vegan dietary patterns associated with health outcomes in PCOS, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, insulin resistance, cholesterol and triglycerides, inflammation, and fertility. However, there are no long-term studies on vegans who have PCOS. According to the findings of a review study conducted in 2017 on the topic of nutrition and PCOS, a healthy diet plan to improve symptoms of PCOS and reduce the risk of developing other chronic diseases associated with insulin resistance should contain low amounts of saturated fats, include omega-3s, and place emphasis on high-fiber foods such as whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits. It is because omega-3s have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. Vegans can adhere to these recommendations if they consume an adequate amount of omega-3 through their diet regularly or through supplementation (more on food sources and supplements below).
It may be simpler to obtain certain nutrients from animal products (such as concentrated protein or vitamin B-12), but that does not mean that plants or supplements cannot provide these nutrients when necessary.
Everyone diagnosed with PCOS should ensure they are getting enough of the nutrients mentioned below, either via the food they eat or, if necessary, through supplements.
It is suggested that those on metformin and those who follow a vegan diet take vitamin B-12 supplements. It is because metformin can decrease B-12 levels by reducing their absorption. Individuals should take a vitamin B-12 supplement of 25–100 mcg per day or 1,000 mcg twice per week, although they should confirm this recommendation with their healthcare professional. A blood test can tell you whether or not you need a greater dosage of your medication.
Vitamin D deficiency is common in persons who suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It is difficult to receive enough vitamin D from food alone, which means that a significant number of individuals, regardless of whether they are vegan or not, suffer from vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency altogether. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 600 IU, but if your levels are low, you may require more.
Iodine is commonly found in dairy products, marine creatures, and seaweed; however, seaweed is not a trustworthy source because the quantity of iodine in it varies greatly. It is essential for the health of the thyroid development of the brain in a developing fetus that iodine is consumed. You risk developing iodine toxicity if you rely on seaweed or kelp pills. Using iodized salt in your cooking is a quick and easy approach to fulfilling requirements. One-eighth of a teaspoon meets the recommended daily allowance of 150 mcg. Taking supplements is yet another alternative.
Magnesium may be found in significant quantities in meals from plants, such as avocados, almonds, beans, and dark leafy greens. One research indicated that the risk of magnesium deficit in women with PCOS was 19 times higher than the risk of magnesium shortage in women without PCOS. Therefore, magnesium supplements may be required in addition to consuming foods rich in magnesium. Adult women should consume 320 mg of calcium daily, while adult men should get 420 mg.
Collard greens, broccoli, calcium-set tofu, almonds, fortified plant kinds of milk, and yogurt are some foods high in calcium and should be included in many portions regularly by vegans. Aim for 1,000 mg each day.
Another mineral that persons with PCOS tend to be deficient in is zinc. However, it is unknown whether this is because of a decreased zinc intake, increased excretion of zinc, or impaired zinc absorption. Zinc has some purposes in the body, but the results that are most apparent for those with PCOS include:
Zinc may be found in various plant-based foods, such as beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fat that has been shown to boost fertility, lower insulin and triglyceride levels, and aid in reducing inflammation. ALA, EPA, and DHA are the three types of omega-3 fatty acids available. It is often believed that fish and fish oil are the most acceptable sources of omega-3s; however, it is not necessary to consume fish to obtain omega-3s.
Canola oil, walnuts, flax seeds, hemp seeds, and chia seeds are all excellent plant sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Because the conversion from ALA to EPA and DHA that occurs in our systems is not very effective, I frequently recommend taking an algae-based EPA/DHA supplement to guarantee that appropriate amounts are consumed. Omega-3 fatty acids are only found in fish because they consume algae. Read this post by Taylor Wolfram, who has a Master's degree in nutrition and is a registered dietitian, to learn more about omega-3s that come from plants.
My advice to women with PCOS is not to focus excessively on what they eat and to avoid striving for perfection (since there is no perfect way to eat anyway). Despite what PCOS influencers on Instagram may believe, you do not have to eliminate things you enjoy eating or limit your diet to exclusively whole foods. If you have PCOS, you may take a variety of things to improve how you feel.
Maintaining a positive connection between the food you eat and your body is, by far, the essential thing you can do to control PCOS and improve your physical and emotional health. Many people with PCOS struggle with their connection with food, have a negative image of their bodies and are at an increased risk of developing an eating disorder. If you struggle with any of the issues, you should seek the assistance of a trained expert.
Relieving stress is vital since prolonged stress can make PCOS symptoms such as inflammation, tiredness, and others more severe. It is essential to make time every day to find ways to relax and get your nervous system back under control.
A movement that is not only healthy but also enjoyable for people with PCOS is suitable for people with PCOS; however, too frequently, exercise is employed in a way that is not enjoyable. Find ways to exercise your body that are enjoyable for you and that you can perform regularly. One form of exercise that has been demonstrated to be beneficial for PCOS is yoga, and it has shown that going for a stroll after eating can enhance insulin sensitivity.
In patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), mood problems such as anxiety and depression frequently co-occur. A holistic treatment approach for PCOS could include seeking out the assistance of a licensed counselor or therapist.
Supplements: I feel that this topic warrants its essay.
May use A wide variety of dietary supplements to assist with managing PCOS symptoms. Inositol, EPA/DHA, and magnesium are three that I recommend to customers regularly as nutritional supplements. Consult your primary care physician or a qualified nutritionist to find out which accessories could benefit you.
Medication: Your primary care physician is the best person to counsel you on whether or not it is appropriate for you to take any drugs. PCOS patients often receive prescriptions for the medications metformin, spironolactone, and hormonal birth control.
To put all of this information into some general rules that vegans with PCOS may follow, here they are:
Consume food regularly to maintain steady blood sugar and energy (every 3-4ish hours).
Make sure to include protein, carbohydrates, fats (mainly omega-3s), and fiber in most of your meals. Depending on your feelings, you may need more or fewer carbohydrates or protein (some people feel better with more or fewer carbs).
Include satiety-inducing and delectable meals, although some consider them "bad" foods (if this is tough for you, I can help). You might consider taking a vitamin B-12 supplement and checking your vitamin D levels to see whether you need a supplement to treat a deficit or insufficiency or to keep your levels stable.
It is best to discuss the possibility of taking extra supplements with your primary care physician or a trained nutritionist. You shouldn't put an excessive amount of emphasis on what you eat. A happy and healthy existence results from many variables coming together, and eating should feel helpful rather than stressful.
If you are concerned that you may have an eating problem or an unhealthy connection with how food makes you feel about your body, you should seek the assistance of a trained medical practitioner.
There is no such thing as a diet that can cure PCOS (and you should run away from anybody who tries to sell you on that), but there is research on nutrition and PCOS that doesn't necessarily contradict the idea of following a balanced vegan diet. The ideal way to eat is what makes you feel good, what satisfies you, what is sustainable, what is adaptable, and what is in line with your beliefs and ethics. You can manage the symptoms of PCOS and improve your overall health by finding out what food and lifestyle practices work the best for you, regardless of whether or not you follow a vegan diet.
Is there anything else about veganism and vegan PCOS you would like to learn that I haven't already covered?