Adolescence is a phase of rapid growth where several changes occur including physical, psychological and behavioural wherein, lack of knowledge regarding health issues, not consuming healthy diet, absence of healthy guidance and ignorant behaviour have rendered young girls to become a prey of serious health issues such as Anaemia and PCOD (Polycystic Ovary Disease). Today one out of every 10th girl is suffering from PCOD.
PCOD is a medical condition of hormonal imbalance with the symptoms like menstrual irregularity, acne, insulin resistance and obesity wherein insulin resistance is when the insulin (a hormone secreted by the pancreas) becomes sensitive thereby not responding to the sudden spike in the blood glucose levels, as a result, there are chances of the individual to suffer from Diabetes or Glucose Intolerance. Apart from this one can face several other symptoms as well, such as:
- Extra hair on the face and body (Hirsutism),
- Weight gain,
- Hair fall or thinning of hair strands,
- Infertility due to lack of ovulation etc.
Moving ahead of PCOD symptoms, let’s focus on few dietary tips or diet for adolescent girls who face all the above-mentioned symptoms or are suffering from this distressing syndrome called PCOD:
- Keep your diet high in fibre.Fibre gives you satiety so you tend to eat less. Also, fibre maintains the blood sugar levels and reduces insulin resistance thereby controlling the cholesterol and triglycerides levels as well. Aim to consume 25-30g of fibre/day.To get ample fibre:
Count on whole fruits like papaya, guava, berries, prunes, pears and berries.
Vegetables like green leafy vegetables including spinach and amaranth.
Cruciferous family like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.
Whole cereals like oats, barley, whole wheat and quinoa.
Nuts and oil seeds like flax seeds, almonds, chia seeds and walnuts.
- Good quality protein.Protein also helps in controlling the weight. Have good quality protein from lean meat such as chicken, fish, eggs and pulses and legumes.
- Include complex over simple carbohydrates.Complex carbohydrates takes longer to get digested by the body and gives the filling feel for a longer time.To get Ample Complex Carbohydrates-To get ample carbs:
Count on whole cereals such as barley, oats, pulses and legumes, vegetables and fruits.
- Limit sugar, refined cereals and trans fats.People with PCOD might suffer from insulin resistance or prediabetes. Restrict sugar in the form of table sugar, jam, chocolates etc and also refined cereals such as maida, pasta, white breads, fried and processed items as they give you nothing just empty calories and no nutrients.
- Do not skip meals.Try not to have large gaps in between the meals. Eat less but frequent meals in order to avoid a sudden spike in blood glucose levels and also to avoid binge eating.
- Exercise a Little.It is recommended to do physical activity for 30-35 minutes per day. Start up with a shorter goal thereby increasing the pace gradually which will eventually aid in losing weight and will also keep your blood glucose and cholesterol levels in check.
Just like PCOD, anaemia is another condition faced by almost half of the women and girls worldwide. It occurs when there is lack of haemoglobin or red blood cells in body. Anaemia can start from being mild to severe and requires intensive care to manage it well.
Being girls we all should know what symptoms can lead to anaemia. Have a look!
- Loss of Appetite
- Lack of interest, concentration
- Pale skin
- Spoon shaped and brittle nails
- Breathlessness on exertion
- Fatigue, tiredness, weakness
- Excessive blood loss during menstruation
Now after knowing about these persisting symptoms let’s also know how they can be subsided through the diet as diet plays a pivotal role in managing Anaemia. Top five solutions and diet for iron deficiency are:
- Extract a daily dose of iron from your diet.Most bioavailable i.e., easily digestible form of iron is found in non-vegetarian sources like meat such as liver, fish sea foods. Apart from this, it is found in eggs (especially the yolk). Other high nutrient density sources include peas, legumes, green leafy vegetables, whole grains such as ragi, bajra, nuts and oil seeds such as flax seeds, groundnuts and almonds.
- Make way for Increased Iron absorption.Vitamin C increases iron absorption to a greater extent as it converts ferric ions to ferrous ions which are better absorbed in the body. Include more of citrus fruits like orange, sweet lemon, berries, amla and green leafy vegetables.
- Be Careful while taking calcium.Excess of Calcium makes it hard for the body to absorb iron as both the minerals compete for absorption. It is advised not to have calcium rich foods or calcium supplements along with iron rich foods but with a good difference of 2-3 hours.
- Limit cup of Tea/Coffee in diet.High polyphenol and tannin content in diet in the form of tea, coffee or cocoa leads to reduced absorption of iron. Not more than 3 cups of tea/coffee should be consumed in a day.
- Cooking with cast-iron.Using iron utensils for cooking helps to increase iron content of foods. So, try cooking in iron utensils in order to extract more of iron in your diet.
Over to You
Both conditions i.e. PCOD and Anaemia are not something you should be stressed or worried about. All what is required is being a little concerned about your eating habits and lifestyle pattern. Have healthy food along with little bit of exercise and physical activity is everything that you can do to alleviate the symptoms and keeping yourself away from these medical conditions.