PCOS diet: Best and worst foods for hormonal health

The thumb rule for a PCOS diet is eating more whole foods and less processed foods.


By: Times Foodie

Updated Jul 20, 2022 | 16:47 IST

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PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is the most common hormonal problem affecting 15 to 18% of women of reproductive age in the general population. New studies say that the number could be as high as 26% in certain populations. One of the symptoms of this problem is the appearance of cysts on the ovaries. Other issues include menstrual irregularities, heavy periods, excessive body and facial hair, pelvic pain, infertility and skin changes. Although many treatment modalities have been prescribed for PCOS, lifestyle factors such as diet are said to play a big role in managing the disease.
What is PCOS?
According to Deepti Lokeshappa, senior consultant-clinical nutritionist, Motherhood Hospitals, Bangalore, PCOS is caused by the overproduction of the hormone named androgens.
How diet can affect PCOS
Insulin is a hormone that helps convert blood sugar into energy. Women who have PCOS are often insulin resistant, meaning they cannot use the insulin produced in the body effectively. To cope with this, the body pumps out higher levels of insulin to maintain blood sugar levels. High levels of insulin can prompt the ovaries to produce more androgens like testosterone.
If your diet comprises refined carbs, and starchy and sugary foods, it's difficult to control insulin resistance and weight gain.
"It can be managed by bringing suitable changes in your diet and lifestyle. Women with PCOS develop resistance to insulin and are at risk of developing diabetes," she adds.
High blood sugar levels lead to more androgens, which leads to PCOS. Therefore, following a nutritious diet will help in regulating insulin production and weight management.
The thumb rule for the PCOS diet is to eat a combination of fibres, proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Here are some of the best foods for PCOS, according to Lokeshappa.
Best foods for PCOS
1. Green leafy veggies like spinach and kale
Green leafy vegetables
Green leafy vegetables
2. Fatty fish like salmon and sardine
Oily fish
Oily fish
3. Chicken and eggs
Chicken and eggs
Chicken and eggs
4. High fibre foods like beans, broccoli, cauliflower and bell peppers
Broccoli
Broccoli
5. Nuts like almonds, pistachios, walnuts and pine nuts
Nuts
Nuts
6. Whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, barley and quinoa
Whole grains
Whole grains
7. Non-starchy veggies like purple cabbage, tomatoes and pumpkin
Non starchy veggies
Non starchy veggies
7. Seeds like sunflower seeds, flax seeds and chia seeds
Seeds
Seeds
Worst foods for PCOS
Unhealthy and processed foods can aggravate the condition. Some of the foods that you should avoid for PCOS include:
1. Fried fast food like samosas, French fries, chicken nuggets, fried chicken and potato chips
Fried fast foods
Fried fast foods
2. Sugary beverages like soda, sports drinks and energy drinks
Sugary beverages
Sugary beverages
3. Food made of refined flour like samosas, biscuits, cookies, cakes, pancakes, bread and pizzas
Bread
Bread
4. Processed meat like sausages, wurst, cold cuts, salami, bacon and ham
Processed meat
Processed meat

Best foods for PCOS

Worst foods for PCOS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

diet for women

PCOS diet


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