Are You Following The Right PCOS Diet?

Pcos Diet

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is commonly characterized by irregular periods or no periods at all. Women suffering from PCOS commonly have symptoms like multiple cysts in ovaries caused by hormones overproduction known as androgens. Women suffering from PCOS are at a great risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and endometrial cancer. Most women suffering from PCOS are able to handle their PCOS symptoms and lessen risk by following proper pcos diet plan.

Causes of PCOS:

The exact causes of PCOS are unknown, but a number of studies have established certain causes:

  • One of the most popular reasoning for this condition is hereditary.
  • Other than that, few medical studies have pointed out obesity as a contributing factor to PCOS. Women who are overweight have an increased risk of developing abnormal hormonal changes.

PCOS is commonly diagnosed by a healthcare professional. They carry out blood tests at an appropriate time during menstruation period to determine whether you have PCOS or not.

Once the results are out, options for treatment can be discussed. The dietician can prescribe certain diet changes and lifestyle changes.

If the case is complicated, then your case can be referred to a gynecologist or endocrinologist.

Symptoms of PCOS:

Women suffering from PCOS start experiencing symptoms during late teens and early 20s. Different women experience different symptoms altogether. While some women experience irregular periods, others develop excessive body hair.

Here are few of the other common symptoms experienced by different women:

  • Irregular or no periods
  • Acne on face
  • Hair thinning
  • Excessive body hair on face, forearms, lower legs, around nipples, and lower abdomen.
  • Miscarriage
  • Weight gain

Other Health Risks

Polycystic ovary syndrome can increase chances of developing certain health problems in later life. It is also a common cause of infertility in many women. Women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome are at an increased risk for developing these health concerns:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • High cholesterol
  • Mood swings
  • Depression

PCOS Diet

Women suffering from PCOS commonly have higher insulin levels. This can result ovaries to produce more androgens. Insulin resistance can make it tougher for women to lose weight. Including a diet rich in refined carbohydrates and sugary food items can increase insulin resistance, making it difficult for women to lose weight. Therefore, women who suffer from PCOS should consume the right foods to challenge these symptoms. Eating food in its natural state can help to alleviate symptoms of PCOS.

Foods to Include:

One of the tips to heal PCOS is to consume food in its natural state. Processed and refined foods harm hormonal levels. Therefore, try to balance your hormones by eating the right food. Here is the list of foods that support the pcos diet.

1. Leafy Greens

Include rich green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, kale, spinach, collards, beet greens, dandelions, parsley, basil, arugula, and endive. All these food sources contain low calorie, high fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. Consuming such greens can improve digestive system, glucose regulation, and endocrine function. These leafy green veggies are also rich sources of iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and other essential minerals. To add value to these fat-soluble foods, it is best to consume these leafy greens with a little oil or other healthy fat, like butter. Additionally, a dash of vinaigrette can bring that much needed acidic element to the food and needed vitamins!

Leafy Greens for PCOS Diet

2. Veggies

Consume veggies in raw, boiled, steamed, broiled, grilled, and roasted form to get best benefits. Use yogurt as toppings over veggies or sprinkle vinaigrette as salad dressing. These veggies benefit the body in a lot of different ways:

  • Artichoke contains rich sources of niacin, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and copper, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, and Manganese 5.
  • Carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, and other root vegetables- offer potent anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agents to lower risk of cardiovascular disease and chronic conditions.
  • Tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers, and egg plants are rich in antioxidant nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

3. Berries

Berries are packed with immune boosting, antioxidant agents, cancer-preventing, heart protecting, and obesity-preventing components. Therefore, you should include all forms of berries such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, currants, and cranberries in your diet. Other forms of berries like melons and squash also protect body against Type 2 diabetes by regulating insulin levels.

Berries

4. Nuts

Nuts are rich in proteins, minerals, magnesium, selenium, and calcium. Inclusion of nuts such as Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, and macadamia nuts can boost the body with an array of minerals. These nuts can also be consumed in combination with fruits to improve glucose-insulin levels.

5. Seeds

Seeds contain fatty acids that are essential for our body. These fatty acids can regulate our hormonal functions, lower insulin levels, balance blood sugar levels, improve hair, skin, and nails, and regulate menstrual cycle. Pumpkin seeds, for example are rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs). These seeds can also balance abnormal hair growth too.

6. Avocado

Avocados are rich with vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids to promote healthy endocrine and improve immune system functioning. You should include an avocado a day in your diet to lower the risk of heart disease, LDL cholesterol, and lessen oxidative stress. In addition, you can also make use of avocado oil for sautéing veggies and lean proteins. Its taste is not affected by high heat and tastes great even then. Its rich fatty acids, antioxidants, and cholesterol levels make it a great inclusion.

Avocado for PCOS Diet

7. Oily Fish

Oily fish are rich sources of essential anti-inflammatory, Omega-3 fatty acids, DHA, EPA, and other fat-soluble nutrients. Inclusion of oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines can be beneficial for your health. You can consume oily fish twice or thrice a week to lower the symptoms of PCOS.

8. Pitted Fruits

Pitted fruits are packed with powerful phytonutrients, anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic properties. Therefore, include fruits with pits such as peaches, apricots, nectarines, and plums, for a well-balanced diet. These fruits also reduce LDL cholesterol oxidation; prevents metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular diseases. Fruits like cherries can also help to treat insomnia, which is a common symptom of PCOS. You can munch on few cherries before hitting the bed. The melatonin content present in cherries can improve sleep quality.

9. Green Tea

Green tea is considered a healthy drink because of its rich concentration of powerful antioxidants. This can in turn improve blood flow, lower cholesterol levels; improve hypertension, and heart-related diseases. Consuming green tea daily can nourish and stimulate brain by improving brain activity. The antioxidant agents present in green tea can also prevent several types of cancer. Therefore, drink at least one to two cups of green tea daily to alleviate the symptoms of PCOS.

Green Tea

10. Chocolate

Dark chocolate is said to reduce hypertension, increase circulation, glucose regulation, and prevent arthrosclerosis. Consuming chocolates can greatly improve mood, prevent memory decline, improve overall cognitive function, and soothe nerves.

Chocolate for PCOS Diet

11. Water

You should make a point to consume at least two liters of water daily. In addition, add flavor to water with fresh citrus, berries, mint, and cucumber. Doing this can allow you to increase your water intake.

12. Alcohol-in moderation

Drinking in moderate doses is quite beneficial for your health. That means, having a glass of red wine once in a while is justified.

13. Organic Meat

Obesity and weight gain issues are linked to PCOS. Therefore, it is essential to include lean proteins in daily diet to control body weight. One of the natural sources of protein is organic meat. You can take lean meat in your diet to lower hormonal levels.

14. Low GI Carbohydrates

You should exclude carbohydrates from daily diet altogether, when you are suffering from PCOS. Not all carbohydrate rich foods such as instant breakfast cereals, white breads, white bagels, and white rice can increase blood sugar levels, release insulin resistance levels, and worsen PCOS symptoms. Hence, it is essential to try polycystic ovarian syndrome diet rich in healthy carbohydrates and low glycemic index to digest food easily. Most foods such as legumes, lentils, and non-starchy veggies have low GI ratings to prevent food craving and keep you satisfied for longer.

15. Green Peppers

Green peppers contain essential minerals for breaking down body fats and carbohydrates. It is rich in chromium, breaks down insulin levels, and is sensitive to insulin released in the body. Inclusion of green peppers can improve blood sugar levels and glucose intolerance, which are common symptoms of PCOS. You can also consult your nutritionist for taking chromium supplements, too.

Green Peppers for PCOS diet

Diet Chart for PCOS

You can try this sample meal chart suited for PCOS. This is one of the best diet for pcos.

Monday

  • Breakfast: Eggs and spinach.
  • Lunch: Tuna salad with olive oil, and a handful of nuts.
  • Dinner: Ground beef + lentils with veggies and full fat Greek yoghurt.

Tuesday

  • Breakfast: Small bowl of oats.
  • Lunch: Leftovers from previous night.
  • Dinner: Chicken stir-fry with broccoli and asparagus.

Wednesday

  • Breakfast: Full-fat Greek yoghurt and berries.
  • Lunch: Leftover stir-fry from previous dinner.
  • Dinner: Cheesy potato, cauliflower and broccoli bake (gratin).

Thursday

  • Breakfast: Eggs and spinach.
  • Lunch: Leftovers from previous dinner + 1 orange.
  • Dinner: Salmon with broccoli and asparagus in cream.

Friday

  • Breakfast: Small bowl of oats.
  • Lunch: Tuna salad with olive oil, and a handful of nuts.
  • Dinner: Steak and roast veggies.

Saturday

  • Breakfast: Full-fat Greek yoghurt and berries.
  • Lunch: Chicken avocado salad with olive oil and 1 apple.
  • Dinner: Dining out.

Sunday

  • Breakfast: Sausages and egg with avocado.
  • Lunch: Cucumber and carrot sticks with quark, and a handful of nuts
  • Dinner: Tempeh stir-fry with lentils, cashew nuts and green leafy veggies

Foods to Avoid

There are certain foods that should be avoided because they commonly affect the insulin levels in our body and worsen PCOS.

Take a look:

1. Sugary Items and Junk Food

Taking sugary items and junk food should be highly restricted especially if you suffer from PCOS. Avoid taking junk foods such as muesli bars, candy, potato chips, fruit juices, ice cream, and soft drinks. These food items are rich in calories, added sugar, and raise insulin levels. Not only does consumption of sugary items and junk foods leads to obesity, but also aggravate ovulation problems and infertility.

Foods to Avoid for PCOS Diet

2. Refined Carbohydrates

Refined carbohydrates can cause inflammation and lower insulin resistance. Cut down on highly processed foods such as white bread, pastries, muffins, desserts, white potatoes, and white flour. Pasta noodles that include ingredients like semolina and durum wheat flour are also considered to be high in carbohydrates.

3. Dairy Products

Dairy products are essential food items and beneficial for our body in a lot of ways. But, it can be harmful in the case of PCOS. Dairy consumption can increase the risk of PCOS, most especially low-fat dairy products. It has also been linked with causing hormonal imbalance. Hence, it is best to avoid cheese, yogurt, milk, and butter, as much as possible.

4. Unhealthy Fats

Those suffering from PCOS should also avoid unhealthy fats such as saturated fats, trans-fats, and hydrogenated fats that can increase the symptoms. Saturated fats are present in dairy products and red meat, which increase the production of oestrogen and increase weight gain. While trans-fats and hydrogenated fats are found in cooking oil, processed foods, and margarine, it increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes in women suffering from PCOS.

5. Soy Products

It has been pointed that soy products leads to delayed ovulation which can worsen conditions of women suffering from PCOS. These soybeans are packed with phytoestrogens, a compound that can disrupt function. Therefore, consume soy products in moderation.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Diet

6. Alcohol

Consuming alcohol in high intake can increase the symptoms of PCOS in women. Regular consumption of alcohol puts pressure on the liver which is harmful for the body. Additionally, alcohol gets converted into sugar in the body which leads to insulin resistance and impaired glucose tolerance. The acidity generated by alcohol increases inflammation and aggravates symptoms of PCOS.

7. Caffeine

Consuming caffeine excessively can affect the chances of fertility in women. It can directly impact on fertility and worsen condition. Consuming coffee daily can increase estradiol levels, an oestrogen hormone which affects menstrual cycle and ovulation. Therefore, you should cut down caffeine from your diet to lower PCOS symptoms and improve fertility.

When to Seek a Nutritionist

While following pcos diet, you can also consult a dietician or nutritionist for advice. They can guide you with a proper diet and lifestyle choices. Alongside, they will examine your health conditions and include a tailored chart suitable for PCOS. They will observe your weight, menstrual cycle, and mood reactions. Accordingly, they will advice on simple diet changes and exercise patterns.

They can explain how making these changes can alleviate PCOS symptoms. Additionally, making dietary adjustments in weight management can improve insulin levels.

When consulting a nutritionist, you can expect to get solid advices on weight management and leading a healthier lifestyle. Altogether, they can motivate, support, and guide you in the best way possible.

Lifestyle Choices to Control PCOS:

Though there are no known treatments for PCOS yet, here are few tips for bringing about few changes in lifestyle to manage PCOS symptoms:

Best Diet for PCOS

  • Do not consume processed and refined foods as it can increase glucose and insulin levels.
  • Consuming fiber rich foods can lead to a slow rate in blood sugar and insulin levels.
  • Healthy fiber foods provide nutrients to the body.
  • Combine proteins and carbohydrates as proteins can regulate glucose levels.
  • Have small meals daily. Divide your meals every four to five hours per day to improve insulin sensitivity.
  • Lessen the intake of salt.
  • Limit taking processed foods such as smoked meats, salted nuts, chips, and sauces.
  • Make use of unsaturated oils such as olive oil and corn oil.
  • Snack on nuts and seeds that are packed with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
  • Consume two to three servings of fish every week to lower PCOS symptoms.
  • Switch to healthy cooking options such as boiling, steamed, baking, and grilled.
  • Do not smoke as it can aggravate risk of PCOS.
  • Get enough sleep daily as it can affect hormones.
  • Make exercise a part of your daily lifestyle. It can help with pcos weight loss to a great extent.
  • Try a combination of aerobic exercise for 30 minutes with strength training.
  • PCOS is associated with stress; hence try stress reduction techniques to calm your mind. You can try yoga and meditation for this.

Conclusion:

If you are dealing with PCOS or its symptoms, then you should take active steps to improve your mood and health at all times. Like mentioned above, create a food chart and stick to the routine. Try to substitute unhealthy options with healthier choices. If your symptoms persist even after this, then you should speak with your nutritionist. They can examine you, identify your case, and suggest next steps.

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