Diet plays such an important role with any health condition, but below we’re going to single out Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and see what is the best diet plan to help fight this condition.
Ready?! Let’s get started…
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome affected women have a vicious cycle of hormone imbalance going on inside their systems. Levels of hormones like androgens, Insulin, Luteinising hormone, etc. are raging in women with PCOS. It is important to modify the lifestyle and make some healthy changes in your diet in order to minimize the hormonal imbalance and to restore good health.
Obesity, insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, and irregular menstrual periods are some of the common problems associated with PCOS. A proper PCOS diet along with appropriate medication can greatly help to improve the conditions and put their health back on the right track.
Just like there are not specific symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, there is not one specific diet. But there are a few important elements that constitute a diet for this condition. Here’s a look:
As most women with PCOS have hyperinsulinemia or insulin resistance, they are at a risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. So it is important for them to have a balanced diet that is low in sugars and thus helps to maintain (or lower) blood sugar levels.
Obesity is also closely linked to PCOS. Many women with PCOS are advised to reduce weight in order to fight the hormone imbalance and reduce the potential risk of cardiovascular diseases. Along with exercise, a healthy diet can play a vital role in shedding those extra pounds. Studies have shown that a weight loss of as little as 5% can help regulate menstruation or bring androgen levels down. Even in the case of women who are slim but have PCOS, a diet aimed at weight management can considerably reduce the risk of developing heart diseases in future.
Women with PCOS should design a diet for themselves that is healthy but interesting and satisfying. A PCOS diet is something that they need to adhere to for life; so it should be planned carefully and should have variety as well. A diet never means starvation and this is all the more important for women with this condition. It means eating intelligently, including foods that nourish and heal the body; and discard fillers that only help pack the calories. There are certain foods that must be avoided in order to fight the excess of insulin in the body and obesity.
A good PCOS diet will cut the intake of sugary carbs and foods like white breads, cereals, potatoes, unhealthy snacks (like fried or fatty snacks with cheese, butter, etc.) and include healthier options like whole grains, legumes, fibrous fruits low in fat, lean meats, nuts, fish, etc. Try some of these healthier food options:
Green leafy vegetables – They’re packed with nutrients and very low in calories. They are a power house of vitamins like A, B, K, C and minerals. Including green salads in the diet can be a good way of consuming green leafy vegetables.
Whole grains and legumes – These are high in fiber and protein. A fiber rich diet is slow to digest and thus the blood sugar levels go up only slowly thereby controlling the rise in insulin levels.
Fruits – Include fruits like cherries, oranges, apples, etc. that are high on fiber and comparatively low on sugar.
Adding some nuts in combination with fruits would cut the sugar level that might shoot up with fruit consumption.
Meat – Include lean meats and fish in the PCOS diet as opposed to the red meats that are high on calories, and aggravate weight gain and insulin levels.
Studies have suggested that eating smaller meals at regular intervals (5-7 daily) help manage weight and general health. Eating a healthier breakfast as the biggest meal of the day and eating smaller and lighter lunch and dinner meals also aids digestion and helps manage insulin and androgen levels.
If allowed to flourish unchecked PCOS can be a devastating affliction, but following a few simple dietary guidelines and leading an active life with some kind of exercise at least 3 to 5 times a week will go a long way in helping affected women manage their PCOS.