Learn why beets and ginger are staples in my medicine cabinet.
Beets offer many health benefits due to their numerous antioxidants. For starters, they contain betalains which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, therefore, promoting cardiovascular and metabolic health. Betalains have even been shown to help suppress tumor growth in studies on multiple cancer cell lines and animal models. Other antioxidants found in beets include manganese, which helps regulate glucose metabolism, and vitamin C (in the greens). Beet greens also contain lutein which is known for maintaining eye health. For women who are pregnant or trying to conceive, beets’ folate, vitamin B and iron content makes this vegetable a worthy smoothie addition. Finally, betaine, an amino acid found in beets, can act as an antidepressant.
Ginger has been used as a herbal medicine for years and is currently one of the most researched spices. Last year a study reported that daily ginger consumption lowered fasting blood sugar in those with type 2 diabetes. Previously, a randomized controlled trial demonstrated that ginger decreased cholesterol and triglyceride levels. These promising results demonstrate how beneficial ginger may be for women with PCOS.
3 small fresh beets (steamed or raw) or 6 small canned beets (I store prepped beets in the freezer for a thicker smoothie)
1 scoop plant-based protein powder
1 small banana, fresh or frozen
1 inch ginger
1/4 cup coconut water
Add all ingredients to blender and go for a whirl! If it is not blending easily add more coconut water or water.
beets = good source of folate, anti-inflammatory, helps lower blood pressure, may help lower cholesterol, shown to reduce cancerous tumors in various animal models, beet leaves are high in iron (eat in moderation due to high oxalate content which can worsen gout and kidney stones)
ginger = anti-inflammatory, may help decrease fasting blood glucose, HbA1c, cholesterol and triglycerides
hemp protein = helps decrease high cholesterol and manage insulin resistance, helps build lean muscle mass
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Disclaimer: As the sole author of Phruitful Dish, I have based my posts on my own experiences, personal knowledge, and doctoral degree. However, I am not a medical doctor or a licensed nutritionist. The information in this blog is not intended as medical advice, and it is not endorsed by my employers or institutions I am affiliated with. Nutritional and supplemental choices should be made in consultation with your health care provider. This blog is intended to inspire and encourage readers to educate themselves on how nutrition and lifestyle are important and often overlooked aspects of health. Therefore, please use the information at your own risk. Occasional links may be provided leading to third party websites. The existence of these links does not infer a responsibility or an endorsement of the linked site, its operator, or its contents.
Get creative with your smoothies by adding two PCOS-fighting teas: matcha and spearmint.
Mounting evidence of tea’s health benefits inspired me to replace lackluster water in my smoothies with tea! This smoothie fights PCOS with a one-two punch from spearmint and matcha tea. In a randomized controlled trial, 41 women with PCOS drank either 2 cups of spearmint or herbal tea (placebo) a day. After 30 days, free and total testosterone levels of the spearmint tea drinkers were significantly decreased (with a slight reported decrease in hirsutism). Previously, the same antiandrogenic effect was shown in an animal study. Although the literature is limited, the potential benefits of drinking spearmint tea likely outweigh the risks.
Some benefits of sipping green tea include stabilizing blood sugar levels and reducing high blood pressure. Matcha tea is a powdered form of green tea reported to have a much greater antioxidant content. Last month a study conducted in rats demonstrated that matcha may prevent blood glucose and lipid accumulation. Unfortunately, matcha has yet to be studied in humans.
Dr. Wajihah Mughal, a good friend and fellow scientist, wrote about the matcha tea trend on her blog Re-Spect Science. Our conversations about its promised health benefits (including the likely false claims) stirred us to take a closer look at the research. Read her post about the matcha hype, then give my recipe a shot!
2 cups spearmint tea
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 handfuls spinach, organic if possible
1/2 tsp matcha tea
1/2 frozen banana (optional, adds sweetness)
6 ice cubes
1/2 tsp raw cocoa powder (or cacao powder)
1 scoop hemp protein powder
Steep spearmint tea bag in hot water for 5-10 min and then let cool in fridge.
Pour cooled tea into blender and add spinach, oats, matcha, banana and ice cubes.
Blend and serve topped with cocoa powder.
spearmint tea = may decrease androgen levels and increase FSH & LH in women with PCOS (avoid consuming large amounts if you are pregnant, anemic, have a kidney disorder, or liver disease)
matcha tea = very high in catechins which are antioxidants that help remove free radicals from the body preventing disease, may prevent blood glucose and lipid accumulation, contains L-theanine which may relieve stress and improve cognitive function
‘Tis the season for tangerines and copious amounts of chocolate (I’m talking about that tempting box of chocolates sitting in the lunchroom at the office that seems to keep reappearing just when you think the box is empty). My favorite way to get my chocolate fix is by adding unsweetened raw cocoa powder to smoothies and oatmeal. Cocoa is an amazing source of antioxidants, which fight cancer and heart disease, and also may act as an antidepressant by boosting serotonin. Try some cocoa in your next smoothie bowl and discover this sweet breakfast that could even pass for dessert.
1 cup raspberries, frozen
splash of almond milk
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp flax seeds
pinch of cinnamon
1 small tangerine
Blend the raspberries in a food processor (pour a splash of almond milk in to get it moving, and pause to scrape down the sides).
Add cocoa, peanut butter, flax seeds & cinnamon and blend until you get a smooth consistency.
Serve immediately and top with kiwi, tangerine and seeds.
tangerines/oranges = high in vitamin C & fibre which reduce lipid profiles and fight free radicals, high in pectin which has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol, low glycemic load
kiwifruits = high in vitamin C, fibre, and vitamin E which lower triglycerides, high in potassium which may prevent insulin resistance, low glycemic load
flax seeds = contain lignans which may increase sex hormone-binding globulin and therefore lower blood testosterone levels, may reduce blood pressure
raspberries = low glycemic load, high in anti-oxidants, may help lower inflammation and prevent cancer