PCOS is multiple cysts in the ovaries due to excess production of androgen hormones. The syndrome is characterized with irregular or absence of menstrual cycle. Obesity or overweight is found in most of the woman with other common symptoms.
Most of the women with PCOS lack the proper information that can help in managing symptoms. This ignorance leaves the PCOS untreated and may lead to endometrial cancer. A proper diet plan can significantly manage the conditions and improve the symptoms.
To manage PCOS, it is important to manage the symptoms. It is critical to prevent the risk of heart problems, diabetes, endometrial cancer and high blood pressure. A change in diet and lifestyle is beneficial to reduce the risk of various health problems. In this article we shall learn foods that can help manage PCOS symptoms and foods that may aggravate the symptoms.
Importance of diet on PCOS
A healthy diet alone has a significant effect in weight loss. And even a slight weight loss can give you visible results in reducing the symptoms of PCOS.
The insulin hormone is found to be high in PCOS. It is essential for conversion of sugar into energy. Insufficient amount of insulin production increases the sugar level in the blood. The sugar level may also rise due to inability of the body to use insulin that was effectively produced, the condition is known as insulin resistance. This makes the brain think there is deficiency in insulin production and the body then pumps higher level of insulin.
With the rise in insulin level there is over production of androgen hormones. Insulin resistance makes it harder for a person to lose weight. No wonder why people with PCOS have difficulty in losing weight.
Eating appropriate food is the best way to deal with insulin resistance in PCOS. The nutrients you consume has a direct impact on the hormone production and this helps in managing the symptoms of PCOS.
Foods that can helps in PCOS
PCOS diet should include variety of foods especially fresh fruits and vegetables with lean protein. Fruits for PCOS people should have low glycemic index.
Green leafy vegetables
Green leafy vegetables have abundance of nutrients and are low in calories. Vegetables such as kale and spinach are high in vitamin B, are a choice for people with PCOS as majority of PCOS patients have deficiency of vitamin B. These vegetables are known to manage PCOS symptoms such as period problems, insulin resistance, obesity, hirsutism.
Foods containing healthy fats
All fats are not bad. There are healthy fats that you can enjoy eating without guilt. Foods such as avocado, flax seeds, oily fish and other essential fatty acids are important in balancing the hormones and weight management. It can improve fertility, regulate hormones, increases blood flow in the uterus, regulates periods.
Foods rich in antioxidants
Foods such as berries, kidney beans, cilantro, tomatoes, broccoli, sweet potatoes, ginger, green tea, nuts, basil, etc are rich in antioxidants. In PCOS women there is imbalance of antioxidant and free radicals. Eating antioxidant rich foods can significantly improve the symptoms of PCOS.
High fiber foods
Foods such as cauliflower, brussels sprouts, lettuce, beans and lentils, etc are high in fibre. It manages insulin resistance by slowing the process of digestion and retards the effect on sugar on the blood.
Whole grains such as beans, nuts, dry fruits, etc are high in fibre. These foods cause slow release of sugar in the blood.
Lean and plant-based proteins
Foods such as tofu, lentils, quinoa, soybeans, etc are plant-based proteins that are high in protein and low in calories.
Foods to avoid in PCOS
Indian foods are rich in wholegrains, lentils and spices. But certain foods must be avoided to manage PCOS symptoms especially weight gain.
Foods such as potatoes, peas, corn are high in starch and must be limited while following PCOD diet plan. These foods being rich in carbohydrates raises the blood sugar level and causes imbalance of hormones.
Sugar added foods
Sugary foods are rich in calories and is a bad choice for PCOS people.
Fried foods are high in saturated and hydrogenated fats. It increases the level of estrogen hormone and so is a big NO in PCOS.
Limit caffeine intake
Caffeine may cause anxiety and increase the stress hormone. It results in increase in insulin level.
Processed and refined foods
Avoid white bread, white pasta, instant foods, etc. These foods have zero nutrient and are devoid of fibre.
Avoid refined vegetable oils
These may cause inflammation in PCOS people and is also linked with health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart diseases.
Dairy products may cause rise in blood sugar and worsen the symptoms of PCOS.
There are no specific diet or ways that can treat PCOS. Eating PCOS friendly foods or weight loss foods can show significant result in managing the symptoms and this also helps prevent related complications. Insulin resistance that often accompanies PCOS is managed and controlled by following a proper diet plan. Focusing on healthy living and healthy eating is all you need to manage PCOS.