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Nutrition facts

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The Food Remedy for Polycystic ovary syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition where at least two of the following occur, and often all three: -At least 12 follicles (tiny cysts) develop in your ovaries. (Polycystic means many cysts.)

-The pcos1balance of hormones that you make in the ovaries is altered. In particular, your ovaries make more testosterone (male hormone) than normal.

-You do not ovulate each month. Some women do not ovulate at all. In PCOS, although the ovaries usually have many follicles, they do not develop fully and so ovulation often does not occur. If you do not ovulate then you do not have a period.

Therefore, it is possible to have polycystic ovaries without the typical symptoms that are in the syndrome. It is also possible to have PCOS without multiple cysts in the ovary!

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common female endocrine disorders. According to Verity, the UK charity for women whose lives are affected by PCOS, polycystic ovaries  affects around 20% of women, while the actual ‘syndrome’ affects 5–10% of women.

The exact cause of polycystic ovary syndrome is currently unknown, there is a growing debate between whether the condition is genetic or an auto immune disease. Research in to PCOS shows there is a strong link with insulin resistance and is often found in women with diabetes, this making it likely to be in part a result of changes in our diet, lifestyle and environment.

There is an overwhelming evidence to suggest that diet plays a substantial role in the management of PCOS.

Research has shown that when women with PCOS lose excess weight, their hormone levels start to return to normal. Testosterone levels fall, serum insulin levels go down, Sex hormone-binding globulin levels go up and the symptoms of PCOS diminish, with significant reduction in the growth of excess hair as the women lose weight.

A 1994 study focused on a diet of low glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates. The diet reduced insulin levels and weight in obese hyperinsulinaemic women significantly more than a conventional diet with the same energy. The study supports the idea that a low GI diet may provide the greatest benefits for women with PCOS and insulin resistance.

The glycemic index is the rate at which different foods cause the sugar levels in your blood to rise following a meal.

High GI foods (such as refined bread, pasta and rice) cause high levels of sugar and therefore high levels of insulin.

Low GI foods (such as wholegrains, meat, eggs and pulses) stimulate much lower levels of insulin.

Choosing foods that have a low GI can help you keep your blood sugar levels balanced. This is very important as imbalanced blood sugar levles overstimulates your adrenal glands which produce the stress hormone adrenaline and too much androgen, the male hormone which interferes with ovulation!

Eating food such as chickpeas, lentils and peas could also be beneficial as these food are known as phytoestrogens which could help control levels of testosterone in the blood.

A typical day could look like this

Breakfast 2 Poached eggs on one slice of wholegrain toast with a little butter

Snack- hummus and 2 oatcakes

Lunch-Homemade vegetable and lentil soup

Snack- smoothie blend 2 tsps of live natural yogurt, 2tsps mixed ground seeds (linewoods sell some great varieties), small punnet of berries blueberries/strawberries/blackberries, juice of half a lemon plus a small glass of water to give it a easy to drink consistency

Dinner- chicken breast with roasted Mediterranean vegetables (courgettes/ peppers/ onions/cherry tomatoes/basil ) with a small cup of basmati rice

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Alcohol and pregnacy

Is it safe to have a few alcoholic drinks when im pregnant?The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) advises that women who are pregnant should avoid alcohol especially in the first three months because of the increased risk of miscarriage. The Department of Health recommends that you avoid drinking alcohol altogether if you’re pregnant. This is because if you drink when you are pregnant the alcohol passes to your unborn baby through your placenta. In the developing immature body of your baby alcohol is broken down much slower than in an adult's body. As a result, the alcohol level of the baby's blood can be higher and remain elevated longer than the level in the mother's blood. This could cause the baby to suffer lifelong damage. No level of alcohol use during pregnancy has been proven safe. So it would be wise to avoid alcohol whilst pregnant to ensure you and your unborn baby is in the best possible health.

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The benefits of Tomatoes

I love tomatoes and want to know if they are good for you and if you can eat too many of them? The good news is they are full of nutrients and an added bonus is they are low in calories. Tomatoes are high in vitamins C, vitamin A and vitamin K. They also contain B3, Lycopene and fibre. Tomatoes contain a lot of beta-carotene which is believed to help neutralizes the free radicals that could cause illnesses and disease. They also contain fibre which is good for maintaining healthy bowels, good blood sugar levels, and helping to reduce high cholesterol. Vitamin K is very good for bones health. Tomatoes also have antiseptic benefits and they have an alkaline effect on the body when eaten. Drinking tomato juice also holds benefits. The juice is considered to be an anti - inflammatory. It's recommended for people who smoke and those not active for long periods at a time such as when flying, it's good also for those with diabetes type 2. Just cooking tomatoes for a few minutes can increase the lycopene up to 54%. Research has shown that men with prostate cancer who consumed tomato based sauces at least twice a week had a longer survival rate. Another study showed that women who ate oil based tomato products at least twice a week had a 34% lower risk of heart disease. However, eating very large quantities can interfere with calcium absorption. Tomatoes are sensitive to cold, and being placed in the fridge could impede their ripening process, store them at room temperature and out of direct exposure to sunlight. To speed up the ripening process, place them in a paper bag with a banana or apple the ethylene gas that these fruits emit will help speed up the tomato's maturation!!

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supplements and diet

I’m eating a healthy diet do I need to take any vitamins? I believe that a good, varied diet is of paramount importance. I do not believe that you cannot replace food with vitamin and mineral supplements, or with meal replacement drinks and be healthy. However, sadly our food is not what it used to be. With nutrient depletion in the soil due to intensive farming, and long-distance shipping and storage of fruits and vegetables, levels of nutrients in our food has been steadily declining over the last fifty years. Additionally, refined foods, such as white flour, pasta, bread and rice have had up to 90% of the minerals stripped from them during this refining process.

For these reasons, I think that a good all round multi-vitamin and mineral is a good 'supplement' to your diet. It will help to make up for those minor dietary indiscretions that are inevitable through life and will boost their intake of the nutrients that are vital wellbeing.

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Boost your libido through diet

I’m a 32 year old female is there any way that food can help boost my libido? At night all I want to do is go to sleep!! Your libido is driven by your hormones, and a disruption in these can affect your sex drive. The most important hormone for libido for both sexes is testosterone; nutritionally speaking this is dependent on the production of zinc and vitamin B6. To boost levels of zinc eating shellfish, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds as well as pine nuts, lentils and poultry. Vitamin B6 can be found in bananas, tuna, avocadoes and chickpeas. If you’re tired, stressed, unhappy, overweight or just generally unhappy about your body this can make it hard to feel desirable. Eating a healthy diet of whole unprocessed natural foods with a wide range of fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, nuts and seeds can help boost your energy and mood. Our perception of ourselves is also affected by what we eat, do you feel better after you have eat a bowl of homemade stew and crusty wholemeal bread or a fast food take away?

If after making all these changes you still don’t feel better, it could be worth getting your hormone levels checked out at your GPs.

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