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The topic of vegetables was raised last week during a PCOS Nutrition Center
phone session with Laura. She was frustrated. Laura had recently visited her
local farmers market and was drooling at the sight of all the delicious produce.
She wanted to buy it all, yet she was hesitant. All the other times she bought
vegetables they spoiled before she got to eat them. Laura stopped buying
vegetables because she got tired of throwing them away.
Vegetables, like fruit, provide numerous health benefits to women with PCOS,
thanks to their high fiber content and a rich supply of vitamins and nutrients.
These benefits include:
· improving blood pressure
· lowering cholesterol
· improving insulin
· preventing cancer
Just like fruit, the more variety and color, the better. There are two classifications
of vegetables: Starchy and non-starchy. Starchy vegetables have a higher
content of carbohydrates, similar to that of whole grains and fruits; they need to
be eaten with caution. Examples of starchy vegetables include corn, peas and
Foods like broccoli, zucchini, squash, spinach, green beans, onions and peppers
are non-starchy vegetables and contribute little to increasing insulin levels. Nonstarchy
vegetables contain a lot of fiber and are low in calories, so you can eat
them without caution to feel fuller and more satisfied with meals. Try to eat at
least two to three non-starchy vegetable choices each day. In general, one nonstarchy
vegetable serving is a half cup of cooked vegetables, 1 cup of raw
vegetables or 1 cup of vegetable juice.
Despite the benefits of vegetables, many people like my client Laura, don't know
how to incorporate vegetables in their diets. Ask yourself: Are you getting enough
vegetables in your diet? If not, why?
Below are some ideas for adding more vegetables to your diet. Can you think of
ways to add more?
· Adding chopped peppers, tomatoes or spinach to an omelet
· Include lettuce, tomato, pickles and onions on your sandwich
· Have low-sodium vegetable soups as part of a meal or as a snack
· Munch on baby carrots or celery dipped in hummus
· Add your favorite assorted vegetables to a garden salad
· Aim to cover half of your dinner plate with vegetables
· Top a slice of whole wheat pizza with vegetables
· Toss in a stir-fry with your favorite meat or tofu
· Order an extra side of vegetables at a restaurant with your entree
Aim for at least one vegetable with your dinner. Sometimes taking a few minutes
to think about your week and meals can be helpful. For example, on a weekend
day think about your schedule for the week, when you will have dinner home and
what you plan to eat. Consider what vegetables you would enjoy with your meals.
Write them down as part of your grocery list for the coming week.
With a little thought and effort, vegetables can take center-plate in your diet. Your
body will thank you for it later.
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