For the past few months, my PCOS has come back with a vengeance. Smoothies can be a refreshing meal and make us feel nourished especially at the moment when we are all missing being outside enjoying the springtime. Unfortunately, as we all know with PCOS comes insulin sensitivity and fruit smoothies can also be packed with sugar and carbs. Some smoothies that we get from juice chains contain over 500 calories and 60 grams of carbs. Hello, blood sugar and insulin spikes! Not ideal if you have PCOS, insulin resistance or diabetes.
Since I have been craving Smoothies myself lately I did quite a bit of research on what I can include in my smoothies. And I decided to put together some ideas for you on how to build a refreshing smoothie that is suitable for PCOS.
The majority of women with PCOS including myself have insulin resistance. In addition, some research is showing there might be an alteration in the gut bacteria. So you can see how a jumbo smoothie packed with sugar may not be the best idea! But the good news is that with some modifications, smoothies can be a perfect meal or snack for PCOS. It just takes a few tweaks … and finding a combination that hits the spot for you.
Keep in mind the most important thing for anyone with PCOS to avoid insulin spikes is to add more healthy fat, protein and fibre and cut down on liquid carbs. This will lower the glycemic effect and keep you feeling full longer. I have listed some things below so you can experiment with different combinations. Don’t feel that you have to add in every category! But I would recommend a protein and/or fat (does not have to be necessarily both) and a fibre source. Then the fruit of course. And if possible, a vegetable.
Adding a protein source can help you stay full longer.
some ideas of what you can include are:
-Yoghurt: Plain Greek yoghurt or nondairy yoghurt of your choice. Greek yoghurt provides more protein as compared to non-dairy yoghurts. Avoid sweetened yoghurt.
– Protein powder: You can choose whey or plant-based protein powder especially pea protein.
–Nut butter: almond, cashew or hazelnut are preferable to peanut butter.
By adding fats your smoothie will keep you full for longer it will also make your smoothie creamier. Additionally, fat slows down the digestion of carbohydrates and sugars, helping you maintain a steady blood glucose level.
– Nut butter: Almond, cashew, pumpkin, coconut, sunflower seed or hazelnut.
– Avocado: packed with heart-healthy fats is absolutely Perfect for a PCOS smoothie!
Fruit source of carbs and provides energy, lots of vitamins and minerals, fibre, and flavour. But too much fruit can spike blood sugars – so moderation is your best bet. For most women, I suggest ~ 1 cup of fruit. Options include:
– Fresh or frozen fruit of your choice. Berries are a great choice here because of the high fibre content and antioxidant properties. 1/2 a frozen banana with some berries works well too!
Fibre slows down sugar spikes and also helps cultivate a healthy gut microbiome. Fibre is extremely important for
– ground flaxseed or chia seeds: In addition to fibre, these little seeds provide alpha-linolenic acid (a plant-based omega 3 fat) which may help decrease inflammation that goes hand in hand with PCOS, as well as protein and fat to help you stay full for longer. Flaxseeds may also help lower androgens
– Psyllium husk. Studies have shown this can lower LDL bad cholesterol
-Wheat bran/oat bran
– Glucomannan powder. Glucomannan contains a powerful prebiotic to add in gut health. Sneak a teaspoon into your smoothie. See my previous blog post on benefits of glucomannan.
5. Greens & other veggies
Adding greens such as spinach, kale or carrots and zucchini increase the fibre content of the smoothie, as well as provide folate, iron, magnesium, Vitamins K and A, potassium and calcium. Magnesium reduces insulin resistance and thereby helps with cravings too. Leafy greens and vegetables in general also help decrease inflammation
Options include water, coconut water, nut milk such as almond, cashew and hemp and oat milk. Look for unsweetened liquid options.
If you want to add some more taste add some dates or honey Just to easy on the portions as it is an added sugar. You may also want to add a little stevia or monk fruit.