You’re out at a restaurant with friends and you want to treat yourself. You eat a giant plate of pasta, loaded with fried shrimp and a creamy sauce. It’s delicious. But half an hour later, you’re feeling bloated, sleepy, and queasy – and like you’ve totally lost control. Again.
Now imagine that you know what foods work to keep your body feeling optimal. You’ve chosen broiled halibut with a sauce of grass-fed butter and fresh herbs, a side salad with olive oil and lemon, roasted fennel, and an elegant little carrot soufflé. They’re all foods that leave you feeling energized, satisfied, raring to go – and good about your choices.
The idea that certain superfoods might help your body image seems intriguing. I believe that eating superfoods that support your health and reduce inflammation will make you feel more comfortable in your body, deepen your respect for your self, and even improve your body image.
I’m also not big on deprivation, so as long as you’re not allergic to anything I’ve listed, consider adding some of them to your diet. It will help increase your health and satisfaction and decrease inflammation in your body and brain.
Cinnamon is a well-known insulin sensitizer. Since most of us (around 80%) have insulin resistance, this is an easy add-on. Sprinkle some on your coffee or whatever you’re having for breakfast, or stir a little into soups, sauces, and stews to enrich the flavor.
Spearmint tea is an almost-secret superfood in the PCOS world. Long-term use can reduce hirsutism, which always improves body image. It can also be part of a soothing daily ritual of taking time out for a cup of tea.
Nuts of all kinds contain good fats that help support skin and digestive health, as well as brain health. For optimal health, choose raw nuts only. It is really, really hard to overeat raw nuts! Trust me on that. It’s the roasted and salted ones that get you going.
Pumpkin seeds contain tryptophan and support serotonin production, which improves mental health. They’re also a fantastic vegan protein. One ounce contains approximately nine grams of protein. I’m an omnivore, but I think we can all benefit from eating more (anti-inflammatory) vegan and vegetarian protein sources.
Sunflower seeds are another great vegan protein source, with six grams of protein per ounce. Like pumpkin seeds, they’re portable and don’t require refrigeration, so they help you make better eating choices when you’re on the go. They support skin health as well. My favorite way to eat them is in the form of sunflower “hummus,” which is easy to make in a high-speed blender or food processor. Combine one cup of raw sunflower seeds, one to three fresh garlic cloves (I like it super garlicky, so I use three), ¼ cup olive oil, two to four tablespoons fresh lemon juice, ½ cup water, and sea salt to taste (start with a one-half teaspoon). A sprinkle of cumin powder would be good too. Blend until creamy. Eat by the spoonful or dip some raw veggies in it.
Olive oil (extra virgin preferred) is a great healthy fat, consumed both internally and externally. Yes, I apply it directly to my skin after a shower. No, I don’t smell like a salad! I’ve found that it’s a great way to eliminate razor burn as well. My favorite salad dressing is just one part fresh lemon juice, two parts olive oil, freshly ground pepper, and sea salt.
Avocadoes are high in Omega-3s and Vitamin E, both of which support brain health. And again, this healthy vegan oil is great for skin and eye health. It’s also good for people with arthritis – and better mobility definitely supports better body image.
Dark chocolate is a no-brainer! Choose 60% dark, which is gentler on your stomach than the often-touted 70%+ and make sure it is free of soy lecithin, which may contribute to endocrine disruption. My favorite brand is Alter Eco, but there are a number of other soy-lecithin-free brands to be found at your health food store.
Learning which foods best support your individual health and well-being is a process of trial and error. PCOS superfoods are just a starting point. But the more you customize your diet to your own body, the better you’ll feel, and the more your good mood will be supported. Your body image will improve without even trying. Feeling stuck for recipes? Tag me in the PCOS Psychology group on Facebook and I’ll come up with some creative ideas!
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