Diet guidelines for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) is becoming a more and more common phenomenon among millennial females. Young females who have PCOS have the tendency to get higher insulin in their body, as a matter of which it becomes inevitable for them to keep a careful watch in their diet and exercise. PCOS is a reason to gain weight and has a highly sensitive skin condition. It is crucial for someone with PCOS to keep a watch on what she eats and what she doesn’t. Being fit, staying active and balancing a healthy weigh, can improve PCOS.

Things to note about PCOS

Carbohydrates push the insulin level after any meal or drink. Foods which commonly contain carbohydrates are bread, pasta, rice, and most cereals. Snacks like chips, biscuits, sugar and sugary candies, aerated drinks also contain a considerable amount of carbs. Carbohydrates from grains and fibers are good carbs, which keep the insulin levels in a check while consuming sugary products can lead to the rise if insulin levels.

In PCOS condition, one should follow a balanced diet, filled with fruits, green and leafy vegetables, grains, lean meat for proteins and consume healthy fat in small portions. Natural and organic should be the key to choose from. Natural juices from fresh or canned fruits should be had without sugar. Try homemade smoothies and cereal bowls made with whole grain oats and barley, whole grain pasta or zucchini pasta. Switch to brown rice and whole grain bread. Balancing the carbs needs tact. Overconsumption of carbs leads to weight gain, but carbohydrates provide energy for our body, so to get the right balance of carbs is crucial.

Foods which contain proteins such as lean meat, beans, green vegetables, tofu, egg whites, fish, hummus and fats from olive oil, groundnuts, walnuts, almonds, and avocado should be a part of diet plan. A good combination of protein, good fats, and a portion of good carbohydrates, will slow the absorption from carbohydrates, thereby keeping the insulin at a check. Red meat and fats from cheese, creamy sauces and mayonnaise, should be avoided. Fruits and vegetables are also sources of fiber and important vitamins and minerals.

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PCOS diet should have the correct proportion of healthy fats, which include omega-3 fatty acids. It helps in keeping a balance in the hormones and improves the level of insulin. Healthy fats can be sourced from fish oils, avocados, virgin olive oil, ground nuts, and seeds. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids improvs insulin resistance by 22% in a span of 2 months.

Glycemic index should also be kept at a check for those who have PCOS. Glycemic index shows how the blood sugar level is affected post a meal. Good fiber carbohydrates lower the index while sugary products increased it. Asparagus, tomatoes, zucchinis, apples, and berries, contains a low glycemic index and should be a part of the diet plan.

A good diet plan doesn’t only consist of the right food, but also the correct portions of it. The trick is to eat smaller and frequent meals at a gap of 2 hours. Instead of large meals break them into compact snacks. Check nutrition labels and read the nutrients before consuming any food. Avoid packaged and processed foods, which contains preservatives they are known to worsen PCOS.

Dairy products are known to affect the condition of acne, which is caused due to PCOS. Consult doctor, before consuming dairy products. Try yogurt, buttermilk and if it worsens the skin conditions like pimple and acne. Milk is a good source of calcium. Tofu, soy or almond milk can also form a part of the diet, however, they are known to delay ovulation, so take those in measures.

Studies reveal that there are certain supplements which help with the symptoms of PCOS. It works for those who have low levels of such nutrients. Vitamin D is a common deficiency which leads to obesity, insulin resistance and reduces ovulation. The deficiency leads to less absorption of calcium from milk, which is needed for the bones. It is recommended for women who suffer from PCOS to consume vitamin D supplements in case of deficiency. It is, however, the most common deficiency worldwide. The main source of Vitamin D is the sun, one who is not under its direct exposure is more prone to have the deficiency and should take the supplement.

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Chromium is another nutrient, which helps in boosting insulin. It is an essential mineral, which is found less common to be deficient, as it is easily present in many food and items such as nuts, fruits, shellfish, broccoli, tomatoes, and mussels.

Diet and exercise go hand in hand

Staying fit and active is also one of the ways to curb PCOS. It’s important for the ones with PCOS to exercise daily at it helps to bring down the insulin levels and keep the body weight in check. It also improves cardiovascular health. Practicing yoga and pilates also improves mood. A walk after a meal can help in lowering the insulin level. Since being fit is the key to fight PCOS, make sure to find interest in the kind of exercise that you do be it – swimming, dancing or sports.

It is important to build some goals and set targets to achieve to balance the condition. Research reveals that exercising helps in improved ovulation, reduces insulin resistance by 30% and is known to work up to 10% in case of weight loss. It is also known to improve PCOS when practiced with the correct weight loss diet. Three hours of exercise every week has shown a positive result to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce belly fat among women with PCOS.

Final thoughts

Though there isn’t any cure for the condition, a right balance of diet and exercise is the key to healthy living in PCOS. Low GI food, good carbs, protein diet, healthy fats, avoiding sugary and processed food are the key take outs in the diet plan.



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