As protein week ends, here’s some vegetarian combinations for a high protein diet, and a smoothie recipe as a bonus
A lack of protein, combined with an erratic lifestyle, are the key causes of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. A hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age, it causes infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess male hormone (androgen) levels, which in turn leads to excess hair growth.
Hormonal birth control is one of the most common treatment options, aiming to regulate the hormonal imbalance at the root of PCOS. Other prescription drugs used include Metformin, which may help the body process insulin and lose weight, since 80% of PCOS patients are obese. There are lots of clinical trials on PCOS in relation with low carbohydrate and high protein diet. Some evidence has suggested that this type of diet has certain metabolic advantages to treat PCOS.
Also Read| Busting Old Myths About Proteins
Replacement of carbohydrates with protein improves weight loss and improves glucose metabolism. These results show that not only is a low-fat, high-casein or whey protein weight maintenance diet more effective for weight control than low-fat, high carbohydrate diets, they do not adversely affect metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors in weight-reduced moderately obese people.
Increasing dietary protein may be a helpful strategy for preventing weight gain, prediabetes, and type 2 diabetes— all common complications of the condition. This is because in addition to fueling the body with calories (along with carbohydrates and fats) and providing the so-called building blocks for bones, muscles, skin, and blood, protein helps facilitate digestion and metabolism and plays an integral role in the synthesis of hormones like estrogen, testosterone, and insulin levels, functions that are often impaired in women with PCOS. Protein has greater thermogenic effects on food, which means it triggers the metabolism and helps secrete cholecytokines, hormones which control appetite. Protein also stimulates the release of glucagon, a hormone that raises blood glucose levels and counteracts the action of insulin.
Yet some commons about myths about proteins persist. These include
High protein diet leads to weight gain
High Protein diet is only needed for athletes those who lead extremely active lives
Protein is very complex to digest.
As per Recommended Dietary Allowance or RDA approved by by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for Indians, the average Indian adult needs 0.8g-1gm of protein per kg of ideal body weight.
The right amount of protein can help balance the levels of glucagon and insulin in the blood. Proteins low in saturated fat are like skinless chicken, eggs, salt water fish, and low fat dairy products are ideal. Animal proteins are complete because all essential amino acids are well maintained. Plant sources like legumes, soy, quinoa, millets, almonds, oatmeal, pumpkin seeds are also high in protein but sometimes deficient in all essential amino acids. So a combination of meals (like rice+lentil) is nutritious.
Many PCOS patients are told that instead of milk, curd is a better option. Over processed milk products are not healthy.
High fiber diet with good protein lowers insulin levels, so seeds (chia, flax, sunflower seeds), legumes (black beans, lentils, chickpeas), Berries (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries), whole grains (bulgur, quinoa, brown rice, whole oats) are ideal.
If you are a vegetarian, then a combination diet is recommended. For instance, you can combine:
• Grains and Legumes
• Peanut butter on whole- wheat bread
• Rice and black beans/rajma/lobia/ any lentils
• Grains and Nuts/Seeds
• Whole-wheat bun with sesame seeds / pumpkin seeds
• Oatmeal with flaxseeds
• Combine Legumes and Nuts/Seeds
• Hummus (chickpeas and sesame tahini)
• Trail mix (peanuts / sunflower seeds)
• Bean soup/ dals with Rice / roti
• Chopped nut/tofu veggie burgers
Here’s a high protein cooling recipe for a quick snack in this humid monsoon season :
Mixed Berry Smoothie
for 1 serving
2 tablespoons milk, of choice or water
½ cup greek yogurt(140 g)
½ cup mixed organic dry berries(60 g) or it can be replaced with banana/ cherry / apple – 60 gm
Combine all ingredients into a blender.
Mix until consistency is smooth. Serve.
(The author is a lifestyle coach and diet counsellor. She tweets @Bipasha1sugati)