PCOS Diet- Do’s and Dont’s

PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It is a hormonal imbalance that causes delayed menstrual cycles, unwanted hair growth and acne.  It usually sets in during the teenage years of a girl. A lot of symptoms accompany this syndrome like skin blackening, acne problems, weight gain, spots on skin, unwanted hair growth (hirutism). Of all these symptoms, the problem of weight gain is the most aggravated. It forms a vicious circle; PCOS causes insulin resistance which in turn causes weight gain. This problem of weight gain, that accompanies PCOS, makes it difficult to strive through this disease for every woman. Due to insulin resistance, it becomes difficult to lose weight. In order to break this circle and get through it to enjoy a healthier life, there is a list of Do’s and Don’ts to follow.


PCOS Diet- What to eat in PCOS?

1. Eat More Fiber:

Since women suffering with PCOS have a high insulin resistance, it is advisable that they increase the intake of fiber in their diet to keep the insulin levels in place. A high insulin resistance leads to an increased weight gain problems. It also slows down the digestive system of our body which leads to a better metabolism. A person with a good metabolism has minimum difficulties in managing her weight problems. Here are a few fibrous substances that you may incorporate in your diet:

2. Dark Green leafy Vegetables:

Spinach, Kale, Lettuce, red Lettuce, Beet Greens, dandelions, Basil, Parsley are a few of the best suited vegetables for the requirements to be fulfilled herein. They are not only fibrous, but also contain various other nutrients. To quote a few, Spinach is an iron rich food. These green vegetables contain vitamin A, vitamin C, carotenoids and flavonoids. They also meet the bodily requirements of minerals like Magnesium, potassium, calcium and other trace minerals.

Consuming Greens acts like a catalyzer in various physiological functions like controlling blood pressure levels and maintaining a strong heartbeat. The impact on your digestive organs created by consuming fiber is beyond appreciation. It improves absorption of nutrients, improves glucose regulation and also cardiovascular functions.

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3. Eat more Lean Protein:

Proteins keep you feeling satiated and fuller for a longer duration of time. They also assimilate into the body and provide calories which are required by your body to perform various functions throughout the day. The following food items are included in the category of lean proteins:

Eggs, Tofu, Meat, lamb, chicken, Fish: Out of the various food items stated here, fish is the healthiest option. It contains Omega-3 fatty acids and various fat soluble nutrients. Fishes like Tuna, Mackerel, and sardines are excellent source of nutrition and also constitute anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming wild caught fish can reduce the potential risk of any impurities and adulteration.

Eggs are also a healthy option along with being cost efficient. In order to maximize its effect for your weight loss regime, you could eat only the egg white as it contains the proteins. Most people on a fitness regime, avoid consuming egg yolks. However, you could even consume a whole egg without much guilt as the calorie levels are not too high. Make it a point to eat eggs daily for breakfast. A healthy and full breakfast can help you go through the day with full energy.

Beans, Peas, Lentils:  If you are a vegetarian and worried about where you can get your share of lean protein from, here’s your answer. Beas, Peas, lentils provide almost as much quantity of proteins as any other food mentioned above. They also provide you with Fiber. Those who get weary of consuming the same old non-vegetarian food could substitute these vegetarian options for a change.

4. Foods and Beverages that reduce inflammation:

According to studies, one can blame inflammation as a reason for the hormonal imbalance caused during PCOS. Hence, you may want to list down which foods reduce inflammation in your body. To name a few, they are tomatoes, walnuts, olive oils, fruits, spinach, kale and whole grains.

5. Green Tea:

It is the most recommended anti-inflammatory and anti-cholesterol beverage. Best results can be obtained only if it is consumed unsweetened, without any milk, in its crude form. It keeps heart related diseases at a vast distance. Helps regulate blood sugar, keeps a check on weight gain and is an excellent drink to quicken your metabolism.

6. Dark Chocolate:

Dark Chocolate has various benefits. It helps regulate hormones in our body. It reduces hypertension, regulates blood circulation, in anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic. They can actually promote weight loss by reducing the hunger levels in our body. However, care must be taken to consume dark chocolate consisting of 70% of cocoa in moderate quantities.

7. Get sufficient Iodine:

While it is a good practice to not eat too much sodium, one must take care that women suffering from PCOS need to maintain the iodine levels in their body aptly. Apart from salt, you could get iodine from the following foods: Potatoes consumed with their peels, kelp, wakame and such other sea vegetables.

8. Consume Vitamin D rich foods:

If you’re suffering with PCOS, you will surely nee to check for optimal Vitamin D levels. Many women suffering with this problem are deficient in Vitamin D. Along with fruit juices, it is important that fishes like salmon, tuna, mackerel form a part of your regular consumption to meet with your Vitamin D needs.

9. Stone Fruits:

Fruits with pits such as apricots, peaches, plums, nectarines also contain powerful phytonutrients that have anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties. Also fruits like cherries, Strawberries, Mulberries have proved effective in dealing with PCOS related issue of weight gain.

10. Avocado and Avocado Oil:

They are super rich in saturated fats. They are rich in vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. They promote a healthy endocrine gland and also is a great answer to all your skin problems.

11. Nuts and seeds:

Nuts like almond, apricots, cashews, Brazil Nuts, flax, chia, hemp Seeds are all power houses of the food industry. They contain vitamins, minerals, fibers, calcium and selenium. It helps to improve insulin levels. They are also responsible in regulating hormone, improving skin, hair growth and regulation of menstrual cycles.

PCOS Diet- What Not to Consume in PCOS?

Image Source: Unlearn, Rethink

Since it is very crucial to keep the insulin levels in control, women suffering with PCOS must make it a point to deter from certain food items like the one mentioned below:

1. Foods High in refined Carbohydrates:

Carbohydrates cause insulin resistance in our body and must be avoided at all costs. To name a few food items with carbohydrates, it includes white bread, sweet muffins, cakes, all things made of flour, white potatoes etc.

2. Sugars:

Foods high on fructose, sucrose are a total No! Check for food items with various forms of sugars on the label. Most drinks, fruit juices, cakes and pastries contain a lot of sugar.

3. Inflammatory Foods:

Like Red meat and processed meat must not be consumed at any cost. Remember, inflammation is a major cause attributed by PCOS.

4. Dairy Products:

As difficult as it may be, a minimalist consumption of Dairy products is mandatory. Dairy products could lead to high insulin levels. Substitute it with vegan options like almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk or oats milk instead.

5. Gluten:

It is an inflammatory food product and hence must not be consumed.

Alongwith a healthy diet, it is important that we consume our daily foods in a few forms, cooked in a certain way and eaten in a certain manner. The certainties that I speak of is that PCOS suffering women must eat baked, grilled foods over fried foods. Consume whole fruits instead of sweetened processed juices. The manner of eating is also extremely very important. Eat slowly, don’t hurry up while eating. Chew your food well. Also, do not eat heavy meals, instead eat small meals at regular intervals to keep you full as well as have an efficient digestion of the food you consume. Exercising is another pillar on which the health of a woman with PCOS stands on. Why only women? Exercise is a must for all!

Shabnam Vandeliwala

Venturing into writing is my second most admired hobby after litigating in courts. An advocate by profession, writing gives me immense sense of satisfaction especially in the time that I'm free from other work.

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