It can be quite challenging for women with PCOS to control their food intake, especially if you’re a fan of rice, pizza, and fries like myself. As someone with PCOS, we must practice extra self-care in both our nutrition and lifestyle choices.
Let me now share some diet and lifestyle suggestions for those with PCOS who want to lose weight and start choosing to be healthy.
Women’s reproductive systems are frequently affected by the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Ovarian cysts are a common symptom of PCOS patients and are brought on by an overabundance of androgen production.
The common symptoms of PCOS are:
- Irregular periods, which indicates that your ovaries don’t release eggs on a regular basis (ovulation)
- High quantities of “male” hormones called excess androgen in your body might manifest physically as an excess of face or body hair.
- Your ovaries enlarge and develop many fluid-filled sacs (called follicles) that surround the eggs. This condition is known as polycystic ovaries.
- Weight gain and Acne
Health risks of PCOS over the long term
The following long-term health risks are linked to PCOS:
- Insulin tolerance
- Higher chance of developing diabetes, particularly for overweight women
- Anomalies in blood fat and cholesterol
- Cardiovascular condition (heart disease, heart attack and stroke)
- Cancer of the uterus (if there is long-standing thickening of the lining of the womb).
- Depression and mood swings might result from PCOS symptoms since they can lower your self-esteem and confidence.
What effect does nutrition have on PCOS?
Individuals with PCOS typically report having higher-than-normal insulin levels. The hormone insulin is produced in the pancreas. It helps the body’s cells transform glucose, or sugar, into energy. Blood sugar levels may increase if the body doesn’t make enough insulin. This may also occur if you have insulin resistance, which hinders you from effectively utilizing the insulin that you do produce.
If you have insulin resistance, your body may produce excessive amounts of insulin in an effort to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Your ovaries may begin producing more androgens like testosterone if your insulin levels are too high.
A higher body mass index may also be associated with insulin resistance, which can make losing weight more challenging. It might also be more challenging to control insulin resistance and, as a result, weight loss if you eat a diet high in refined carbs, such as starchy and sugary meals.
What to eat if you have PCOS
Studies have shown that dietary and lifestyle adjustments can lower insulin resistance and help regulate body weight, which may ease other symptoms. Now if you have PCOS, what foods should you eat?
Vegetables and fruits
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, a PCOS diet high in vegetables and fruits can help in the treatment or avert some of the health issues connected with PCOS. In addition to improving blood sugar levels, they can lower blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The vegetable must be rich in fiber and the fruit must be antioxidant-rich foods because this substance helps fight insulin resistance by slowing down digestion and lowering blood sugar levels. Those who have PCOS may benefit from this.
The following are some great fruits and veggies to try:
- cruciferous vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli
- greens, such as arugula and red leaf lettuce
- a red and green pepper
- raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries
Nuts and Seeds
These are a great source of protein, healthy fats such as omega-3s, and anti-inflammatory agents. This is helpful for people with PCOS as they often have a type of low-grade inflammation that causes their ovaries to produce androgen. In addition to being a satisfying snack on their own, nuts and seeds can be added to meals as a topping for oatmeal, a garnish for salads, or an ingredient of smoothies.
Some nuts and seeds to try include:
Fish that are high in Omega-3s
People with PCOS can benefit from essential healthy fat since it helps lower insulin resistance and cholesterol levels, according to a study that demonstrates the efficiency of omega-3 fatty acids for the condition. Omega-3s are present in a wide variety of fish, including:
Lean and plant-based proteins
Proteins are beneficial for making you feel full, supporting healthy muscular growth, and preventing blood sugar surges, but not all proteins are created equal.
Choose chicken, fish, and other non-red meats more frequently for meat-based proteins. Because it delivers the same amount of protein with less calories, lean protein is preferable than fatty meat. Additionally, it’s possible to consume enough protein without eating meat. Among the top plant proteins are:
In comparison to refined grains, whole grains offer more fiber and are an excellent source of protein.
High-fiber diets are crucial for people who have PCOS because they reduce the risk of blood sugar rises, which increases the amount of insulin released into the system. People with insulin sensitivity may experience issues, such as difficulties losing weight, as a result of high insulin levels in their blood.
Whole grains that are good for you include:
- whole oats
- Whole grain
- full-grain rye
- Whole-grain bread and pasta
- Additionally, whole grains make you feel fuller longer, which lowers your risk of overeating.
Fat Dairy products and alternatives
According to a study, persons with PCOS should choose full-fat dairy over low- or no-fat varieties because it may increase fertility. Dairy items that are suggested as examples include:
- whole milk
- Greek plain yogurt
- Alternatives, such as fortified soy milk, oat milk, or almond milk, are available if you don’t consume dairy products.
A diet that is healthy should include fats. Fats aid in vitamin absorption because several vitamins are fat-soluble. Additionally, they aid in preventing or reducing the dangerous blood sugar surges seen by those with PCOS. Particularly for those with PCOS who are at risk for heart disease, it’s crucial to pick healthy fats over saturated or trans fats like hydrogenated oils and to take them in moderation.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Coconut oil
- Flaxseed oil
Other ways to treat PCOS
Anyone who thinks they may have PCOS should see their doctor to learn more about a potential diagnosis. You must consult with a Physician for your treatments and concerns. They will assist you with everything. Although diet and exercise can significantly reduce the symptoms of PCOS, additional steps could be necessary.
If you visited a doctor, the doctor might have given you a prescription for medicine or dietary supplements to treat some of the symptoms, such as acne and irregular periods.
Changes in lifestyle are the most crucial. A healthy lifestyle includes activities like getting enough sleep, eating smaller meals more regularly to maintain blood sugar and insulin levels, as well as stress management and mindfulness exercises. You can also join a PCOS support group, which can offer members both emotional and practical help.
Angelika is an aspiring producer and writer with a love for film and media production. She enjoys writing on a diverse range of topics, including lifestyle, health, and movie-related content. She likes to cook for her family and spend her free time with friends.