Lot of my clients announce that they are hypothyroid/ PCOS and hence they are doomed to be overweight!
Most of these people are not clear about hypothyroid/PCOS, like what is it and how to manage it. Hypothyroid and PCOS are not the same but are related. They have similar features and women with PCOS have a higher chance of having hypothroid. Before we go to the diet part let me quickly explain.
Thyroid: The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck. It is also one of the biggest endocrine glands in the body. Thyroid glands regulates our body metabolism. If it overworks (hyperthyroid), it speeds up our metabolism and if it works slow (hypothyroid), it slows down the metabolism.
Hypothyroid: So when the metabolism slows down, we tend to put on weight. Hypothyroidism is caused by decreased secretion of thyroid hormone and hence slowing of metabolism. A very important point to note is that, hypothyroidism is a disorder and not a disease. Hence we need to manage it with diet and exercise.
- Slow body function
- Lethargy and low energy
- Facial puffiness
- Dry skin, hair loss
- Weight gain
- Menstrual disturbance
- Slow gruff speech
PCOS: PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome ) is a health problem that can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle, fertility, hormones, insulin production, heart, blood vessels and appearance. Women with PCOS have high levels of male hormones called androgens and this affects the ovulation primarily. There may also be insulin resistance and over period can lead to diabetes.
- Infrequent/no menstrual periods
- Increased growth of hair on face
- Acne, oily skin
- Weight gain
- High cholesterol
- Male pattern baldness or thinning of hair
- Patches of thickened and dark brown/black skin on neck, arms, breasts and thighs
- Skin tags
- Pelvic pain
Women with PCOS have a high chance of being hypothyroid or diabetic. Like hypothyroid, PCOS is also managed with diet and exercise.
Dietary management of Hypothyroid:
- Limit your intake of Soy: Soy is a phytoestrogen which mimics estrogen hormone. Eating large amounts of soy can cause the thyroid to be inflamed. Soy is an hidden ingredient in many sauces, cereals and processed foods so read the labels carefully.
- Avoid sugar: Hypothyroidism and PCOS both can increase insulin resistance. Hence staying away from sugar as much as possible is a good idea.
- Know GI and GL: GI is Glycemic Index and GL is Glycemic Load. GI is a relative ranking given to foods on the basis of how the carbohydrates in the foods affect blood glucose levels. Foods with 0-55 GI are called low GI foods and food with GI above 70 are called high GI foods. GL is a number that estimates how much the food will raise a person’s glucose level after eating it. GL takes into account the GI and the quantity of food. So sometimes a low GI food, if eaten in large quantity, increases the GL.
- Make fibre your best friend: A fibre diet is essential for weight loss. Also high fibre foods are low GI foods hence they must be included in your diet. Reach out for fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Stay away from junk food: We all know that junk food is unhealthy. But in case of hypothyroid and PCOS, it is extremely important t stay away from junk and processed food. These foods are high GI and they play havoc with the insulin. Hence keep them away.
- Goitrogens: Goitrogens are substances naturally occuring in some foods which interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland. These foods should be had in moderation and with awareness. Some goitrogenic foods are: cabbage, cauliflower, broccolli, peanuts, bokchoy and brussel sprouts.
- Hydrate: The most important thing to do is to drink enough water (believe me most of us are dehydrated). Water keeps the metabolism running. It also helps to flush out excess water and eases water retention. Water aids digestion and combats constipation. So keep sipping…..
- Exercise: The last but the most important thing is Exercise. I know we all are very busy, but exercise is the best tool in our kitty, always. Exercise helps to up the metabolism and thus helps reduce weight. Exercise also helps improve the functioning of insulin and it is a great anti-depressant. People with hypothyroidism and PCOS can definitely feel more energetic and lively due to exercise.
Have a healthy meal and stay away from fad diets. Include whole grains, fruits, vegetables and good quality proteins like milk and milk products, legumes, dals, chicken, egg and fish in your diet. Exercise regularly and be happy 🙂