Thinking about all aspects of your diet, including the foods you eat, is vital because PCOS can impact your general health. This will support your continued health and help you keep a balanced diet. A smart tip is to select fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid processed foods. Lean meat, leafy vegetables, and fruits are other options. Dairy products with low-fat content are likewise a good option.
If you are overweight, managing PCOS might be challenging. Your fertility, blood sugar management, and risk of diabetes and heart disease may all be impacted. Maintaining a healthy diet and way of life is essential for PCOS patients because a hormonal imbalance in the body brings on the condition. To assist balance your hormones, you can also take vitamins.
A PCOS diet should typically contain a range of protein sources. Eating whole, unprocessed foods is optimal. For instance, fruit should be ingested whole and unsweetened rather than in the form of juice or other products made from fruit. For PCOS sufferers, whole, non-starchy vegetables are another excellent option.
It has been demonstrated that successful weight loss through lifestyle change improves menstrual control and reproductive outcomes in people with PCOS. The ideal diet for someone with PCOS must take into account the immediate objectives of weight control and fertility and the long-term risk factors specific to this population, such as type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, and heart disease.
Numerous studies have evaluated the importance of various macronutrients and diets that exclude certain food groups. Still, there is a lack of long-term data that would definitively show that one particular type of diet is superior to another in PCOS women.
Overall, the weight of the evidence points to a diet high in lean protein sources, moderate in poly- and monounsaturated fats, moderate in carbohydrates, and high in fiber as being favorable for overall better health metrics in women with PCOS. Regular physical activity has also been shown to have a favorable effect on the clinical profile of PCOS. To address the range of PCOS-related health issues, therapy must incorporate lifestyle tactics, including food and exercise that optimize weight and enhance insulin sensitivity.
Reference: Role of Lifestyle and Diet in the Management of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
What is Exactly PCOS Diet?
An endocrine system problem called PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, affects a woman’s hormone levels. This indicates that women with PCOS create higher than average levels of male hormones, which results in a hormonal imbalance and several health problems. First of all, PCOS causes menstrual cycles to skip. Second, it might make getting pregnant more difficult. In actuality, PCOS affects women more severely when they reach childbearing age. According to the study, 70% of women with this issue are unaware that it impacts them.
The symptoms and health repercussions of PCOS might linger even after menopause, and there is currently no known solution. Use a sustainable plan if you’re making dietary and lifestyle adjustments to treat PCOS.
However, it’s crucial to remember that as you age, your body will experience changes in hormones and how you metabolize food. Although the habits you establish now for a healthy diet and regular exercise will continue to be beneficial throughout your life, be ready to make small adjustments to account for changes in your general health, way of life, requirements, and preferences.
Foods to Eat with PCOS
Here is the list of foods that you should eat during the PCOS diet:
Fruits and Vegetables
Produce is adaptable and nutrient-rich. Pick cruciferous vegetables and fruits like broccoli, leafy greens, apples, and plums high in fiber. In addition to having anti-inflammatory qualities, red berries and grapes are particularly suitable for a PCOS diet.
In general, the PCOS diet advises staying away from full-fat dairy. Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are low-fat, low-lactose dairy products that are typically moderation-accepted. Also, consider experimenting with low-sugar, dairy-free alternatives like almond, rice, or coconut milk.
Whole-grain or multigrain bread, pasta, and cereals are acceptable on a PCOS diet. Avoid eating anything extensively processed and produced using white flour instead of instant oatmeal packets, which may include added sugar; use brown rice, prepare overnight oats with fresh fruit, and try substituting protein-rich quinoa for salty carbs like croutons in salads.
On a PCOS diet, you can consume various proteins, but many people opt to concentrate on plant-based sources such as nuts, nut butter, and vegetarian beef patties. Red meat and any meat or fish cooked or prepared with a lot of salt, butter, or oil should be avoided. Good choices for fowl include lean slices cooked without the skin. Eggs are still a nice option. As they are heavy in sodium, trans fat, and additives, processed meats like hot dogs, sausage, lunch meat, and bacon should be avoided.
It’s recommended to attempt to restrict sweets since sugar might exacerbate inflammation. A small portion of dark chocolate may be acceptable on a PCOS diet, but you should avoid baked goods, candies, packaged snacks, and other sweets.
If caffeine-containing drinks like coffee and black tea worsen your symptoms, you may decide to avoid them. Alcohol should ideally be avoided or used sparingly because it can fast lead you to gain weight. Avoid high-sugar beverages, including energy drinks, soda, and fruit juices that have been sweetened. The PCOS diet is okay with drinking coconut water and green tea in addition to water, which is the healthiest option for remaining hydrated.
Dietary changes majorly impact PCOS in two areas: weight control and insulin sensitivity and resistance. However, since insulin has a big part to play in PCOS, one of the best things patients can do to treat the illness is to control their insulin levels using a PCOS diet.
The way the body uses insulin directly affects the development of diabetes. Insulin resistance frequently occurs in PCOS patients. In fact, before the age of 40, more than half of those with PCOS develop diabetes or prediabetes. People with PCOS may feel better if they eat a diet that fits their nutritional needs, helps them maintain a healthy weight, and encourages optimal insulin levels.
Recommended Timing for Diet
It is beneficial to arrange your eating plan around multiple nutritious, well-balanced meals each day and restrict snacking if you use a PCOS diet to manage your weight. According to research, this strategy can help PCOS sufferers lose weight.
You might need to eat frequently throughout the day, especially if you have other medical issues that affect your blood sugar levels or produce stomach discomfort.
Avoid fasting for longer than a few hours. A regular eating schedule stabilizes blood sugar levels and can help persons with PCOS avoid habits like overeating, binge eating, over snacking, and food cravings.
Health Benefits of the PCOS Diet
Here are the health benefits of the PCOS diet:
Mitigating Hormone-Related Issues
In particular, high levels of androgens like testosterone in adults designated female at birth are associated with hormonal disturbance and PCOS. These abnormalities cause typical PCOS symptoms, such as abnormal hair growth, acne, infertility, and weight gain.
Your weight and the amount of insulin your body produces have some bearing on this.PCOS also affects the production, control, and metabolic processes of sustaining a healthy weight.
The majority of PCOS sufferers are overweight or very overweight. Furthermore, about 50% of PCOS sufferers have insulin control problems, which might result in prediabetes or type 2 diabetes by middle age. Hormonal abnormalities that are left untreated can make you more susceptible to heart problems, high blood pressure, and some types of cancer.
In a six-month trial, PCOS patients who followed a high-protein diet (more than 40% protein and 30% fat) shed more pounds and body fat than those who followed a low-protein diet (less than 15% protein and 30% fat). Both types of diets did not limit calories. Since high-protein diets typically fill you up, researchers hypothesize that eating more protein causes you to eat less and lose more weight.
PCOS and excess weight may both be correlated with inflammation. There may be an eternal cycle to the relationship. Overweight individuals are more prone to have PCOS. Inflammation is connected to being overweight, and PCOS can be exacerbated by inflammation.
An anti-inflammatory diet is beneficial for treating the symptoms of many PCOS sufferers. According to research, this loop might be broken by dietary adjustments that promote a healthy weight and lower inflammation.
In a study published in the North American Journal of Medical Sciences, PCOS sufferers who adhered to an anti-inflammatory diet for three months saw significant reductions in their blood pressure, cholesterol, and inflammatory markers.
What Not to Eat?
Here are the foods that should be avoided:
- Starchy vegetables (white potatoes, corn, peas)
- Bread, baked goods, crackers, pasta, and cereals made from refined white flour
- White Rice
- Red Meat
- Full-fat dairy
- Processed meat (lunch meat, hot dogs, sausage, bacon)
- Fried food, fast food
- Potato chips, microwave popcorn, salted pretzels
- Dried fruit
- Packaged snack foods
- Frozen meals and snacks
- Artificial Sweeteners
- Granola, cereal bars
- Margarine, shortening, lard
- Instant noodles, packaged pasta/soup mix
- Bouillon cubes, broth, stock
- Commercial salad dressing, marinades, seasonings
- Milk/chocolate, candy
- Ice cream, pudding, custard
- Pastries, cake, cookies, pies
- Sugary fruit juice
- Energy drinks
Other Lifestyle Changes
Lifestyle adjustments can also assist persons with PCOS in managing the condition. The following advantages have been linked to a PCOS diet and physical exercise, according to research:
- Weight loss
- Improved insulin metabolism
- More regular periods
- Reduced levels of male hormones and male-pattern hair growth
- Lower cholesterol level
Additionally, studies have shown that behavioral techniques can assist women in achieving their weight-management objectives and managing PCOS symptoms. These techniques consist of:
- Social support networks
- Self-monitoring techniques
- Caring for psychological well-being
One can manage PCOS by reducing stress through self-care routines, including getting enough sleep, avoiding over-committing, and scheduling downtime.
When to See a Doctor?
Common PCOS symptoms include:
- extra hair growth
- weight gain, especially around the belly
- oily skin
- irregular periods
- discomfort in the pelvic area
- difficulty getting pregnant
Many people who encounter these signs might not think they are significant enough to bring up to a doctor. Many people put off going to the doctor until they have problems getting pregnant. Anyone exhibiting these signs should speak with a doctor about their worries; the sooner they can start a treatment regimen, the sooner they will feel better.
Even though there is currently no cure for PCOS, a person may be able to lessen their symptoms and enhance their quality of life by changing their diet and upping their physical activity.
A person can control PCOS by achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and consuming wholesome fats, lean proteins, and moderate amounts of low-GI carbohydrates. The re-establishment of hormone balance is the initial step in treating PCOS. This often entails reestablishing the body’s out-of-balance amounts of male and female hormones. Short-term hormonal imbalance management may benefit from bioidentical hormone replacement therapy or BHT. Alternative treatments are available if you’re looking for a long-term cure for PCOS.
Bioidentical hormones alleviate not only menopause symptoms but also other symptoms brought on by hormonal abnormalities. A Glendale, Arizona clinic, North Valley Ladies’ Care, offers women bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. You can contact Melissa Austin, MD, the treating physician, via phone, email, or online. Because bio-identical testosterone replacement therapy can help address symptoms brought on by low testosterone levels, this kind of treatment may also be beneficial for men.