Studies show that magnesium deficiencies are more common in women with PCOS. Learn how supplementing with magnesium may help manage insulin resistance, inflammation, anxiety, and more.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder that greatly impacts the lives of up to 18% of women all over the world. PCOS affects multiple systems of the body including our metabolic, reproductive, and mental health. The long-term associations of PCOS include type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers. This is why daily lifelong management is important. While we are still learning much regarding root causes and treatment options, there is evidence that particular minerals may play a role.
Why is Magnesium Important for PCOS?
Magnesium is crucial for women with PCOS for several reasons. Research shows that magnesium can:
I was the lead author of a clinical study published earlier this year in Food Science & Nutrition which assessed dietary intake in women with and without PCOS (Cutler et al., 2019). One of our findings was that magnesium intake was decreased in women with insulin-resistant PCOS. In addition, we found that the greater magnesium women with PCOS consumed, the lower their levels of testosterone and markers of inflammation were.
How Much Magnesium Do We Need?
The recommended daily amount of magnesium is 320 mg for an adult woman. This will vary depending on factors such as body size and stage of life. Some foods that are great sources of magnesium include legumes, whole grains, broccoli, squash, green leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts, and dark chocolate.
Plant-based bowls offer versatility, simplicity and beauty to healthy lifestyles. Enjoy this macro bowl featuring turmeric roasted cauliflower, spinach, zucchini and more.
Few meals satisfy all my senses, while also energizing me, more than a giant bowl ofplants. Part of the beauty in a plant-based bowl (also known as a #macrobowl) is both theversatilityandsimplicity. I usually start with a base of spinach, brown rice or quinoa, then add in legumes, seasonal vegetables, nuts/seeds and finally top with a creamy homemade dressing.
This bowl features one of the most powerful anti-inflammatories we can eat:turmeric. I previously wrote about the vast health benefits of turmeric in this golden milk post. I make an effort to cook with turmeric (and black pepper to increase its bio-availability) as much as possible (think roasted vegetables, potatoes, dressings, etc). Other foods in this recipe that fight inflammation include leafy greens (like spinach), olive oil, avocado and nuts.
Now, would this be a vegan recipe without the addition of nutritional yeast? I’m guilty of putting it on everything! The health benefits of nutritional yeast may include supporting healthy gut bacteria, improving production of blood cells, and maintaining optimal cholesterol levels. It is a small source of chromium and is often fortified with B12.
1/2 cup brown rice, cooked
1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
1 tsp Finlandia turmeric powder
pinch of black pepper
1 tbsp extra-virgin coconut or olive oil
1-2 handfuls of spinach
1/2 cup edamame beans
1/2 zucchini, spiralized or sliced
1/2 avocado, sliced
1 tsp black sesame seeds
garnish: lemon or lime
1/3 cup filtered water
1/3 cup raw unsalted cashews, pre-soaked at least 4 hours
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp Finlandia ancient sea salt
1/2 tsp Finlandia nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp onion powder
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Cook brown rice on the stove, as directed.
In a large bowl, toss cauliflower florets, coconut oil, turmeric powder and black pepper until evenly coated. Spread florets on to parchment-lined pan. For crispy cauliflower, avoid florets from overlapping. Cook in oven for 20 minutes (flip florets after 10 minutes).
While cauliflower and rice are cooking, prepare your serving bowl of fresh spinach, cooked edamame beans, and raw zucchini. Set aside.
Add all dressing ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until creamy. Taste and adapt accordingly. Note: for easier blending, I place cashews in a bowl of water and let soak in the fridge overnight. Discard of this water before adding the cashews to the blender.
Once brown rice and cauliflower are cooked, add both to your serving bowl.
Top with sliced avocado, black sesame seeds and dressing. Enjoy!
A low glycemic alternative to pasta with a vegan’s take on pesto.
Once summer hits in British Columbia, farmers’ markets are in full swing. There is bountiful produce to enjoy, especially if you grow your own veggies or herbs. This recipe makes use of several market goodies: zucchini, tomatoes, mint, basil and garlic. Zucchini noodles are a low glycemic alternative to pasta and, for pesto-lovers, I have created a vegan, mint version high in flavour and healthy fats. Mint can help aid digestion and may even lower cholesterol. Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment or sharing your versions with me @phruitfuldish.
1 cup fresh basil
1 cup fresh mint
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
spiralizer (or sharp knife)
If using a spiralizer, cut both ends of zucchini off and get to work! Otherwise, cut zucchini into thin slices.
Wrap zucchini in paper towel to absorb excess liquid.
Use a food processor to combine basil, mint, walnuts, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice until a smooth paste is formed.
Combine zucchini with pesto and mix well. I added spoonfuls of pesto slowly until I reached the ratio I wanted, which resulted in half the pesto leftover.
Add veggies, like tomatoes, or a high-protein source, such as beans or legumes, if you’d like to make this a meal. Enjoy your minty zoodles!
zucchini = low glycemic alternative to pasta, anti-inflammatory, high in potassium which can help reduce blood pressure, fiber which can help lower cholesterol and polyphenols which may beneficially affect thyroid, adrenal and insulin regulation