12 Diet Tips for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

1. Cut Down on Carbs

Reducing your carb intake may improve the hormonal imbalance linked to PCOS and boost weight loss in women with PCOS.

Insulin is produced as carbs are converted into glucose in the body.

Women with PCOS are often insulin resistant, meaning their cells don’t use insulin as readily as they should. This increases insulin and blood sugar levels, causing unpleasant symptoms.

However, a low carb or low-glycemic index diet can help keep insulin levels stable.

A low-GI diet consists of eating foods that raise blood sugar levels slowly, which helps prevent insulin spikes.

The low-GI diet usually consists of eating whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats. It also involves avoiding most processed or refined carbs, including sugary foods and drinks.

2. Eat foods high in fiber.

Great options for high-fiber foods include

cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, green and red peppers. Other high fiber foods are beans and lentils, almonds, berries, sweet potatoes.

3. Eat Enough Healthy Fats

An adequate supply of healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids, has been shown to help balance your hormones and improve insulin levels in women with PCOS.

Some healthy fats include oily fish, avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, nut butters and unsalted nuts and seeds.

Even without omega-3 supplements, adequate intake of healthy fats may also improve insulin resistance.

4. Eat Plenty of Lean Protein

Compared to high-carb foods, high-protein foods do not cause great increases in insulin levels.

A high protein intake also suppresses ghrelin, a hunger hormone, for much longer than carbohydrates.

As a result, a high-protein diet is likely to be much more filling and reduce insulin levels, both of which can have positive effects on PCOS symptoms.

Be sure to include plenty of healthy protein sources in your diet, such as lean meat, fish, eggs, beans and some dairy products.

5. Foods that help reduce inflammation may also be beneficial. They include tomatoes, kale, spinach, almonds, walnuts, olive oil, fruits-such as blueberries and strawberries, fatty fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and sardines.

6. Eat Fermented Foods

Healthy gut bacteria may play a role in metabolism and weight maintenance.

As such, eating foods high in probiotics — such as yogurt, locust beans, kefir, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods — may help increase the number of beneficial bacteria in your gut.

You can also try taking a probiotic supplement to get the same results.

7. Limit Processed Foods and Added Sugars.

Another tip to lose weight with PCOS is to cut down on your intake of certain unhealthy foods.

Processed foods and added sugars may raise blood sugar levels and increase your risk of insulin resistance, which is linked to obesity.

Refined carbohydrates cause inflammation, exacerbate insulin resistance, and should be avoided or limited significantly. These include highly-processed foods, such as white bread, muffins, breakfast pastries, sugary desserts, fries, margarine, red or processed meat.

Anything made with white flour, pasta noodles that list semolina, durum flour, or durum wheat flour as their first ingredient are high in carbohydrates and low in fiber. These should be removed from your diet.

Pastas made from bean or lentil flour instead of wheat flour are an excellent alternative.

Sugar should be avoided wherever possible. When reading food labels, be sure to look for sugar’s various names. These include sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose.

Sugar can also lurk in the things you drink, such as soda and juice. Smoothies and water are your best drink options.

8. Do early hours Intermittent Fasting.

Women with PCOS are encouraged to eat regular meals.

A study found that making breakfast the biggest meal and dinner the smallest may help balance out the hormones associated with PCOS.

If you want to do Intermittent Fasting, I suggest 16:8 Intermittent Fasting with eating windows of 8am – 4pm or 10am – 6pm.

9. Stay Active

Regular exercise may improve insulin resistance and ovulation, help burn body fat and reduce inflammatory markers in women with PCOS.

10. Get Enough Sleep

If you have PCOS, you may experience sleep disturbances, including excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep apnea, and insomnia.l

Lack of sleep has been shown to increase the activity of hormones that drive hunger, such as ghrelin and cortisol, which may cause you to eat more throughout the day.

Developing a healthy sleep routine will help boost your progress and overall health.

11. Manage Your Stress

Because stress is a risk factor for weight gain, managing your stress can help manage your weight.

Stress increases levels of cortisol, a hormone made by your adrenal glands. Chronically high cortisol levels are linked to insulin resistance and weight gain.

To lower cortisol levels, focus on stress management practices like meditation, music, dance, yoga, journaling and spending time with friends or in nature. 

Speaking with a therapist or other medical professional may also be beneficial.

12. Some Supplements May Be Helpful

Studies show that certain supplements may help ease the symptoms of PCOS, especially in women who have low levels of those nutrients.

However, like medical treatments, supplements also depends on your treatment goals.

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