PCOS affects women of child bearing age and its symptoms include irregular or no menstruation, facial hair, male pattern baldness and obesity. The most severe implication of PCOS is infertility that can adversely affect the women’s mental and emotional well-being.
Lifestyle modification is essential part of treatment of PCOS. A proper healthy diet coupled with physical activity help manage symptoms and correct hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS.
ROLE OF DIET IN PCOS
Diet in case of PCOS help in two ways-
- WEIGHT LOSS
Weight gain or obesity is common problem associated with PCOS. In addition hormonal imbalances make it difficult to lose weight. Research shows that weight loss as small as 5% show significant reduction in symptoms of PCOS. a well balanced PCOS diet should help you lose weight. A low calorie, low carbohydrate diet helps you lose weight, consult a nutritionist to help you plan your PCOS diet for weight loss
- INSULIN RESISTANCE.
A Good PCOS diet is one which increases insulin sensitivity and manages your blood sugar levels. There is an overproduction of insulin in women with PCOS as a result there is more than normal level for insulin in the blood making body cells resistant to their action. A diet with complex carbohydrate and low glycemic index foods help increase insulin sensitivity and regulate your blood sugar levels.
A good diet of PCOS helps you lose weight and improve insulin sensitivity. There is no specific diet for PCOS but a good healthy diet with a right mix of food that helps you overcome the ill-effects of PCOS.
TIPS TO EATING HEALTHY WITH PCOS
The following are few points that will help you plan your diet or make healthy changes to your lifestyle and eating patterns as well as help you cope against PCOS.
- Do not skip meals
Skipping meals is a sure shot way to add up on your weight. Try avoiding long gaps between meals and introduce mid meal snacks. This helps to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
- Watch out for the carbohydrates
Reducing the total carbohydrates in your diet is the first step to take. Go for complex carbohydrates which are low in glycemic index like whole grain cereals, oats, dried fruits, vegetables and fruits. Most important divide your carbohydrates throughout the day.
- Go high with the fibre
A 25-30gms of fibre each day is recommended. Fibre plays a pivotal role in your diet as it lowers the rate at which glucose is released in the blood thereby maintain stable blood sugar levels and preventing unhealthy rise in blood insulin levels. Good sources of fibre include whole grain cereals, Pysillium husk, nuts, bran, legumes, nuts and seeds.
- Make way for the proteins
Reduce your carbohydrates and replace it with good quality, high biological value proteins like egg whites, chicken, fish and vegetarian sources like tofu, soya, milk and milk products etc.
- Bring in the good fats
The good fats like the omega 3 and essential fatty acids (EFA) help manage multiple symptoms of PCOS. They also offer protection against heart disease, cholesterol, blood pressure and other long term complications of PCOS.
Certain nutrients like calcium, vitamin D and chromium are of utmost importance for women with PCOS. Along with food sources additional supplementation has been found to be helpful. Always consult your doctor or a nutritionist before going for supplements.
FOODS TO AVOID
There are certain foods that are better avoided in your diet as they tend to enhance the symptoms and complicate the condition further.
- Refined and processed carbohydrates like refined flour, sugar, sugar syrups and products with added sugar, soft drinks, and white breads etc should be excluded from your diet as they are high in glycemic index and increase insulin resistance.
- Trans fat and saturated fat should not be the part of your diet. Saturated fat to some extent is acceptable but Trans fat should be strictly avoided.
- Milk contains IGF-2 which insulin growth factor 2 and is believed to increase insulin level in the blood.
PCOS can have a negative effect on a woman as it affects her ability to reproduce. PCOS can be managed and positive results can be expected if it is tackled from all the fronts.
Most women fighting –off PPCOS are not aware of positive effects a good weight loss diet for PCOS can offer. A PCOS diet can help you lose weight, manage your blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the production of the androgen, thus bringing back the natural order of the hormones.
- Go low glycemic- glycemic index is rate at which food that you eat raises your blood sugar levels. Select low glycemic foods like whole grain cereals, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds are sure thing to add to your diet. High glycemic foods like refined flour, processed foods and white sugar. Low glycemic index foods take longer to raise blood sugar and prevents insulin overproduction.
- Go high fibre- high fibre foods are low glycemic and help promote a feeling of satiety. They also help in losing weight. Fibre promotes healthy estrogens metabolism that helps lower increased levels of androgens. Cruciferous vegetables, green leafy vegetables, oats, whole grain cereals and nuts.
- Go for healthy proteins – like organic meats, chicken,eggs, fish, and tofu. Proteins promote satiety and help you lose weight. Replacing half your carbohydrates with proteins is a good idea to boost your weight loss.
- Go for the nutrients- women with PCOS suffer from many nutritional deficiencies but most crucial are vitamin D, calcium and iron. Adding good food sources that are rich in these nutrients are