One in every five Indian women suffers from PCOS based on a study. And this number is increasing day by day, mainly because of an unhealthy lifestyle. What is PCOS? How harmful is it? How vegan diet and PCOS are related? Are you suffering from PCOS? Do we need to know about it? What is the relationship between dairy with PCOS? I know all of these questions are popping into the window of your mind. I will aim to clear all of them before your window hangs…ha ha.
What is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)?
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder commonly diagnosed in women presenting with infertility. PCOS is not a disease but a syndrome. Only a proper diet and an ideal body weight can control this lifelong health condition. In simple words, it is a hormonal imbalance in which women produces more male hormone called androgens.
Symptoms of PCOS:
Symptoms of PCOS include excessive body hair, facial hair, acne breakouts, and polycystic ovaries. Polycystic ovaries are the development of small cysts in the ovary. This affects women’s ovaries causing a problem in ovulation resulting in irregular or skipped periods. If you are also facing weight gain, fatigue, thinning hair, infertility, pelvic pain, headaches, mood swings, and sleeping disorders then also there is a probability that you have PCOS and you need to see a gynecologist at the earliest. There is a probability that you have PCOS and you need to see a gynecologist at the earliest.
Why PCOS needs to be diagnosed early?
An early diagnosis of PCOS is important. Medication can not control PCOS since it is not a disease. It is a syndrome that has no medication to cure. But the severity of this condition can be reduced by lifestyle changes. Pcos if not addressed on time can lead to severe medical conditions. And an increased risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart diseases, etc.
Gynecologists believe that it is important to have a diet that is rich or high in protein but contains fewer carbohydrates for any person suffering from PCOS. They tend to ignore its symptoms and don’t care enough about it.
Girls and women suffering from PCOS exhibit a range of symptoms. Most symptoms begin shortly after puberty and they can also develop during late teens and into early adulthood. All said and done about PCOS, this wasn’t to scare you but to make you aware. Now you might be thinking that the article’s name is a relation to dairy with PCOS which I still didn’t link. Well, ill do that now.
Vegan diet and PCOS
Dairy milk is just like breast milk in the sense that both kinds of milk have a hormone called insulin growth factor 1 (IGF-1). This hormone is wonderful and is much needed when you are an infant because it helps you to grow quickly. That’s why babies need this a lot but when you are an adult you have already gained the required amount of weight and you are no longer in need of the IGF-1 hormone.
As an adult when you take dairy milk, your body has produced an excess of IGF-1 hormone which mimics the function of insulin that is to store excess glucose as fat in our bloodstream which leads to excess weight gain which women with PCOS usually face because they already have higher than normal insulin levels. This extra insulin produced by the pancreas also stimulates our ovaries to produce more testosterone which leads to all other symptoms of PCOS like excess hair, male-type baldness, irregular periods, and weight gain. This is one side of the story. What’s on the other side?
Another side of the story is, what if you don’t produce enough insulin? Or what if you are insulin resistant? Insulin resistance means that you are not able to utilize the insulin produced by your body effectively due to which your body produces higher levels of insulin to keep your blood sugar level normal. A high BMI (body mass index) may cause it. Insulin resistance can make it harder to lose weight, which is why women with PCOS often struggle with weight gain issues.
Glycaemic and Insulin Index
I think most of you know about or at least have heard about the glycaemic index. It is a way to measure the glucose response in your bloodstream when you consume a certain food. So, women with PCOS are always advised to eat foods that have a low glycaemic index so that they won’t cause spikes in their blood sugar. Because it will create an imbalance between insulin and blood sugar.
I think you might not be aware of the insulin index. It is an index that shows how our insulin levels respond when we eat a certain food. So women with PCOS are already struggling with insulin resistance, which means they already have high levels of insulin in their bloodstream. So when they consume food with high insulin index it only exacerbates the body making their body produce more insulin which is bad for their body.
I have shocking news for you. Dairy although has a very low glycaemic index but has an incredibly high insulin index. Yes, you read that right. That’s why we need to know that if dairy milk and dairy products are the cause of PCOS then should we give up on dairy milk? What are the other sources of nutrients that we get from milk? Is there any other alternative? Let’s talk about it…
Treating the root cause of PCOS always comes back to managing insulin levels. Once our insulin level is normal, it will lead to a normal testosterone level, which will finally start to normalize and improve all the symptoms of PCOS. E., you can now lose weight, have acne-free skin, and stop excess hair growth.
Curing PCOS by going dairy free
Gynecologists believe that it is important to have a diet that is rich or high in protein but contains fewer carbohydrates for any person suffering from PCOS. Dairy milk although high in protein has a high content of carbohydrates too. So, the best-known alternative can be plant-based vegan milk made out of grains, nuts, and fruits which is low in carbohydrates and has all the required protein in it just like dairy milk.
Going dairy-free ‘was’ not at all easy. People took years to go dairy-free because of the lack of alternatives and substitutes available in the market. But this is not the case anymore, we at dancing cow will provide you with vegan milk which is very close to dairy milk in terms of its taste, texture, color, consistency, etc. So, vegan milk is the best alternative available in the market today.
PCOS is an emerging health problem. It happens during adolescence after puberty hits among girls, and also women during late teens or adulthood can develop it. Therefore, the promotion of healthy lifestyles and early interventions are required to avoid future morbidities. Opting for vegan milk and products will help you maintain proper balance in your hormones, and you do not secrete excess unnecessary hormones which cause problems like acne breakout, baldness, weight gain, irregular periods, etc.
PCOS and oat milk
Vegan milk or especially oat-based milk is very beneficial in this case. It makes your face acne-free, reduces hair loss, and may fix your menstruation cycle. It can also help you to reduce weight, and here’s a blog about reducing belly fat with oat milk. This is proven because it helps balance the insulin and sugar levels in your body.
If you are suffering from PCOS, and want to get rid of a few symptoms, I would highly recommend you take a dairy-free diet for at least one month to see the changes in your body yourself. Because researchers have scientifically proven that dairy products have negative effects on PCOS which can make its symptoms go from bad to worst.
You might think that although vegan milk is such a close substitute to dairy milk in physical terms what about the other nutrients present in dairy milk are they present in vegan milk? Here I have some good news for you. Yes, all the other nutrients present in dairy milk are fortified in vegan milk. So you can still enjoy the same taste and nutrients at the same time without having the fear of aggravated symptoms of PCOS caused by the consumption of dairy milk. Oatish oat milk is completely vegan and dairy free and even has lesser calories than dairy milk. It also has added vitamins, calcium, and iron.
Did you know if minor PCOS symptoms are not taken care of in the early stages, it can lead to a risk of developing various other health complications such as hypertension, high cholesterol, anxiety and depression, sleep apnea, heart attack, diabetes, and endometrial, ovarian and breast cancer? Women who have PCOS have a higher rate of miscarriage, gestational diabetes, premature delivery, etc.
Hence, the age-old saying goes: prevention is better than cure. It is better to take care of these symptoms of PCOS by shifting towards vegan milk rather than taking dairy milk and making the symptoms worse.