PCOS Diet: Foods to Eat and Avoid
What is PCOS?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that women commonly get during their childbearing years. It can affect women’s ability to have pregnancy resulting in Infertility. PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility, affecting 6% to 12% women of reproductive age in United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and India. It also causes acne and unwanted body and facial hair. It raises your risk of other health problems, including diabetes and high blood pressure.
Why diet in PCOS patient is so important?
There’s no definitive cure for PCOS, and the symptoms and health effects can persist after menopause. If you are making changes to your diet and lifestyle it will help manage PCOS.
However, it’s important to remember that the healthy eating and physical activity routines you adopt now will remain beneficial throughout your life, be prepared to make minor adjustments to reflect the changes to your overall health, lifestyle, needs, and preferences.
Insulin is a hormone that’s produced by pancreas. Insulin helps the cells in the body for converting body glucose (sugar) into energy. Its often found in higher levels in people having PCOS. If insulin is not produced in proper quantity, the blood sugar levels can increase. This can also occur if you have insulin resistance, meaning your body is not able to utilize the insulin which you produce. In this case your body will try to pump out high quantity of insulin in order to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Your ovaries may produce more androgen, like testosterone in case of high quantity of insulin. People having high body mass index, can find harder to lose weight due to insulin resistance.Insulin resistance and weight loss can be more difficult while having a diet high in refined carbohydrates like starchy and sugary foods.
Weight loss can be done by 5-10% through exercise and a proper PCOS diet to weaken the PCOS symptoms. PCOS caused due to harmonal imbalance in women. Study shows that PCOS and blood sugar, insulin levels are interconnected to each other. So simply to control your symptoms first regulate your harmonal levels. And control harmonal levels by proper nutrition like increase intake of high fiber food and eliminating blood sugar issues related with PCOS.
PCOS diet plan
It’s not just about weight, however, as the nutrients you consume can have a direct impact on your hormone production and therefore eating certain nutrients can help alleviate symptoms at a hormonal level.
Always consume a balanced PCOS diet to keep your body in normal harmonal level. It helps insulin to function correctly by bringing glucose to cells for energy. This leads to decrease insulin from your blood stream and thus finally regulate androgen production and weaken your pcos symptoms.
Take high quality, high fiber carbohydrates
Type 2 diabetes is more common in PCOS women than women who do not have PCOS so it is recommended to take high quality, high fiber carbohydrates in your diet like diabetic diet, this will regulate your blood sugar levels.
Make a chart of your routine meals and follow it consistently
If you skip your meals then it disturb your blood sugar level and leads to food craving and overindulgence. Always keep a routine and fixed time of your meals for keeping your blood sugar level in harmony.
Stable blood sugar leads in proper androgen production which finally decreases severe PCOS symptoms. You can take smaller and more frequent meals for better regulation of blood sugar level.
Take food which is rich in Nutrient, Vitamins and Minerals
Many studies shows that if we consume food high in Vitamin D, Vitamin B, Iodine, Selenium and Magnesium will improve insulin resistance which lead to decrease severe PCOS symptoms.
It is often said that cutting out dairy or gluten completely out of your diet can help with PCOS.
Foods to eat
Take more of the following foods:
- High-fiber fruits and vegetables - High fiber foods can help combat insulin resistance by slowing down digestion and reducing the effect of sugar on the blood. This may be beneficial for people with PCOS. This includes cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, beans and lentils, green and red peppers, almonds, berries, sweet potatoes pumpkin
- Leafy greens - Most importantly however for those with PCOS, green leafy veg such as kale or spinach, contains high levels of Vitamin B. Incredibly, more than 80% of women who suffer from PCOS have been shown to be deficient in vitamin B! This particular vitamin is linked to many PCOS symptoms, like insulin resistance, irregular periods, hirsutism (excess hair growth), obesity, difficulty Conceiving.
- Whole-grain or multigrain bread.
- Brown rice, quinoa and sunflower seeds.
- Oats, rye, barley, beans, legumes, lentils
- Root veggies, red berries and grapes
- Lean chicken or turkey (without the skin) - Eating lean meat is essential for any healthy diet. This is especially true for PCOS suffers, who may find weight loss more difficult due to hormonal imbalances. Lean protein sources like tofu, chicken, and fish don’t provide fiber but are a very filling and nutritious dietary option for people with PCOS.
- Eggs, egg whites, egg substitutes, low-fat and greek yogurt
- Non-dairy milk alternatives (almond, rice)
- Coconut and coconut oil, Olive oil, flax seed oil, Nuts and nut butters and seeds.
- Fresh herbs and spices (turmeric, cinnamon, ginger)
- Dark chocolate (in moderation) - dark chocolate which have high levels of anti-oxidants in them
- Green tea is also helpful.
- Foods that help reduce inflammation may also be beneficial. These foods include - Tomatoes, spinach, almonds and walnuts, olive oil, fruits like blueberries and strawberries.
- Fatty fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and sardines may be helpful.
Foods to avoid
Take less of the following foods:
Refined carbohydrates - It is recommended to avoid foods that increase the production of insulin levels. Refined carbohydrates, such as white processed bread, pastries, white rice, white potatoes, and pastries that are made from refined flour, are to be avoided in patients with PCOS.
• Coffee - Consumption of coffee has shown a significant rise in estrogen hormone levels during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle. PCOS itself leads to hormonal imbalance, so the consumption of coffee increases the risk of hormonal imbalance.
• Avoid packed food - Packaged snack foods,Frozen meals and snacks, Dried fruits , Fried food, fast food. Potato chips, microwave popcorn, salted pretzels Instant noodles, packaged pasta/soup mix.
• Refined grains made with white flour - Pasta noodles that list semolina, durum flour, or durum wheat flour as their first ingredient are high in carbohydrates and low in fiber. Pasta made from bean or lentil flour instead of wheat flour is a nutritious alternative
• Avoid Alcohol consumption - Alcohol may increase the hormone testosterone, which leads to an imbalance of estrogen. Alcohol stimulates the excess release of hormones that control ovulation, luteinizing hormone, and follicle-stimulating hormone.
• Sugary beverages--- Artificial sweeteners , Soda,Sugary fruit juice ,Energy drinks . It is important to stay away from refined sugars, white flour, and excessive sugary beverages. These products increase blood insulin, which results in greater androgen production... ultimately worsening PCOS symptoms. Sugar is a carbohydrate and should be limited on a PCOS diet. When reading food labels, be sure to look for sugar’s various names, including:-sucrose,high fructose corn syrup,dextrose.
Aviod White rice and Red meat
Full-fat dairy , Milk/chocolate, candy Ice cream, pudding, custard
Pastries, cake, cookies.
Processed meats like - lunch meat, hot dogs, sausage, bacon.
Gluten and wheat -This is because gluten can lead to inflammation which can lead to insulin resistance and increase your risk of developing diabetes.