You’ve probably heard all about the benefits of ditching the sweet white stuff, from reducing the risks for obesity and heart disease to improved mood and skin health, but you might not know the powerful protections it can bring to women. Here’s how.
Reduced period pain
Excess sugar consumption is known to throw our gut microbiome and hormones out of whack, leaving us with inflammation. This can then increase cramping and flow heaviness, and exacerbate symptoms. This happens as the inflammation leads to the increased blood flow to and contraction of the muscles. Dysmenorrhea is the name for period pain, and it’s one of the most common reproductive health conditions, afflicting over 65% of women of menstrual age. The research shows nutrition can significantly affect the severity of the condition – and, for some, even its existence. This study of university students found that those who more regularly ate ultra-processed and sugary snacks were more likely to experience moderate to severe period pain.
So, what foods should you eat instead? Foods high in iron, potassium, zinc, protein and magnesium are all highly beneficial for period pain support – of course, they’re essential for our whole bodies too! – but ensuring we’re getting adequate amounts of these can reduce cramping, improve circulation and keep our gut and hormone health at peak performance. Foods like ginger, nettle tea and strawberries are all powerful antioxidants known to reduce inflammation – nettle tea is even believed to help uptake of iron, which is vital for women who are losing iron stores during their period.
Lower risk for reproductive disease
Affecting nearly 10% of women of menstrual age around the globe, POCS is a hormonal disorder which causes enlarged ovaries and the development of cysts. What does this have to do with sugar? As we mentioned above, high-sugar consumption is known to lead to inflammation in the body, and chronic inflammation – and this often occurs with a long-term, high-sugar lifestyle – has been linked to a number of health conditions, including endometriosis and PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome). Inflammation can contribute to the growth and spread of endometrial tissue outside the uterus in the case of endometriosis, and it can also affect the ovaries and disrupt hormone levels in the case of PCOS. That's why ditching the sweet stuff is a great way to not only prevent the worsening of symptoms if you've already got one of these conditions, but to also lower your risk for developing it in the first place. A balanced diet that meets our nutritional needs combined with exercise and stress management is one of the best ways to boost gut and reproductive health.
Fewer vaginal yeast infections
There is some research that suggests that reducing sugar intake may help reduce the frequency of vaginal yeast infections in some individuals. Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of a type of fungus called Candida, which can be fuelled by the consumption of sugar – especially added sugar which, in excess, throws our gut microbiome out of whack and leaves us vulnerable to the overgrowth of bad bacteria and fungi. When you consume sugary foods or drinks, the sugar enters your bloodstream and can increase the level of glucose in your vaginal secretions. This can create an environment that is more hospitable to yeast growth and increase the risk of developing a yeast infection. By reducing your sugar intake, you may be able to decrease the amount of glucose in your vaginal secretions, which can help to create a less favourable environment for yeast growth. However, it's important to note that there are many factors that can contribute to yeast infections, and reducing sugar intake alone may not be sufficient to prevent them. Other factors that can contribute to yeast infections include hormonal changes, antibiotic use, wearing tight clothing or underwear, and having a weakened immune system. If you are experiencing recurrent yeast infections, it's a good idea to speak with your healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan. We also know that consuming too much added sugar can raise our risk for type 2 diabetes, and there’s research indicating a link between the condition and a higher risk for yeast infections.
It’s no secret that a sugar habit is a tough one to beat – wherever you go, sugar is there. Unlike with ditching alcohol, there are few places where sugar is unwelcome. From birthday parties and functions to the office pantry, Sunday markets and the supermarket. Is it any wonder that so many of us find it hard to quit the stuff? That’s why it can help to join a program like ours – our 8-Week Program is based on accountability, support and providing the essential resources to set you up for success. We’ll help you change the way you look at food – and that doesn’t mean you have to follow restrictive diets or miss out on your favourite foods; we believe you can still enjoy delicious food without jeopardising your health. With celebrity chef Sarah Glover on our panel of experts, you’ll have an array of fun recipes at your fingertips, along with our own exclusive armoury of simple, tasty and healthy recipes for everything from daily meals to impressive entertaining.
We know it can be hard to stick to your health goals – especially when you’re trying to manage it alone. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:
- 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
- 90+ member-only recipes.
- Community forums to share your journey.
- Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
- Exclusive content from our panel of experts.
So, if you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it, it’s not too late to join. We’d love to help you get started on your health journey. Sign up HERE today!