Understanding the dietary landscape for women with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) can be very difficult.
What should you eat, and what should you avoid? Which supplements for PCOS are good and which are not? There can be a lot of confusion.
Well, in today’s post, we will help you sort out exactly that. We will explore the essential diet dos and don’ts for PCOS – providing valuable insights to help women make the right dietary decisions. Let’s get started.
What’s the PCOS & Diet Relation?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects many women of reproductive age. In this condition, a woman experiences irregular periods, ovarian cysts, and rapid hormonal changes.
And these changes are not limited to the reproductive system only. Women with PCOS often have higher levels of insulin – a hormone that regulates blood sugar. This develops insulin resistance in the body, where it does not respond well to the hormone.
So, when the sugar levels are high, the body won’t react efficiently. This results in excessive weight gain, diabetes, and worsening of PCOS symptoms.
What Is a PCOS-Friendly Diet?
A PCOS-friendly diet is not a type of diet. It just refers to making healthy food choices that help regulate blood sugar levels, promote weight management, and improve the overall well-being of women with PCOS.
The main aspect of the PCOS-friendly diet is carbohydrates. Since carbs contain a lot of sugar, it’s important to reduce their intake and switch to a healthier alternative – that is, complex carbohydrates.
These carbs have longer chains of sugar that need more time to be broken down. As a result, your blood sugar level won’t spike, and you will feel full for a longer period (hence, reducing the sugar cravings).
So, instead of consuming refined carbohydrates like white bread, sugary snacks, and sweetened beverages, you should opt for complex carbohydrates. These can be found in whole grains like oats, brown rice, and quinoa.
You should also include more lean proteins in your daily meals. These include skinless chicken, turkey, fish, and legumes. They will make up for the lowered carbs intake and provide you with all the lost essential nutrients.
Along with that, you should focus on consuming more healthy fats. These can be found in avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. They help regulate hormone production and reduce inflammation in the body.
Moreover, you must eat various vegetables and fruits to soak in all those minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. These nutrients will help combat oxidative stress and hair/face-related problems.
What Foods Should You Avoid During PCOS?
When dealing with PCOS, certain types of foods should be avoided to manage the condition effectively. These include:
- Simple Carbohydrates: Refined carbohydrates like white bread, white rice, and pasta cause blood sugar fluctuations. Instead of eating them, opt for whole grains that release energy slowly and help stabilize blood sugar levels.
- Saturated Fats: Foods high in unhealthy fats, like fried foods, processed meats, and full-fat dairy products, should be reduced. These fats can promote inflammation and insulin resistance — worsening PCOS symptoms.
- Highly Processed Oils: Avoid oils high in omega-6 fatty acids, such as corn and soybean oil, as they can contribute to inflammation. Instead, use oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids (like olive oil or flaxseed oil) in moderation.
- Excessive Caffeine: While moderate caffeine intake is generally safe, excessive amounts can affect hormone levels and contribute to adrenal stress. Limit coffee, energy drinks, and caffeinated beverages.
- Alcohol: Alcohol can interfere with liver function and may disrupt hormone regulation.
- High-Glycemic Fruits: While fruits are typically healthy, some high-glycemic fruits (like watermelon and pineapple) can cause quick spikes in blood sugar. Opt for lower-glycemic options like berries, cherries, and apples.