What to Eat and What Not to Eat In PCOS
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affects as many as 2 in 10 women. Role of diet and lifestyle changes is phenomenal and understated! We cannot ignore
the fact that PCOS has increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular problems and endometrial cancer in 50s. Diet definitely plays in reducing the negative impact of the condition
Women with PCOS present with irregular periods, acne, abnormal hair growth, weight gain, and difficulty losing weight. Later in life, women with PCOS often develop metabolic syndrome, i.e. excess weight, excess cholesterol, excess fat around the waist, high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels. This increases risk of heart disease and stroke. At younger age, PCOS also makes getting pregnant harder!
Diet and exercise are integral part of managing PCOS. Eating well, staying active, and maintaining a healthy weight (or losing even a small amount of weight if you’re overweight) can improve PCOS symptoms.
A healthy plan for women with PCOS includes:
- A high-fibre diet, whole-grain foods, more lean protein is essential. When it comes to protein sources, 2 to 3 servings of fish per week, chicken
(grilled or baked), and plant-based sources of protein are recommended.
- A variety of foods from all the food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. Moderate portions of healthy fats, such as olive
and canola oils, walnuts, almonds and avocados.
- Protein in all meals and snacks. Try nut butters, lean meats, fish, tofu, beans, lentils and low-fat dairy products with all meals and snacks.
Foods that need to be avoided, that can spike blood sugar, and cause weight gain:
- Refined carbohydrates, such as pastries and white bread.
- Pasta, noodles, semolina – made from wheat flour. This is high in carbohydrates and low in fibre.
- Sugary beverages, such as Thumbs up, Sprite, Fanta
- Sugar in any form – direct, sweets, drinks, juices etc
- Fried foods
- Solid fats, including margarine and lard.
- Red meat, such as steaks, hamburgers, and pork.
- Processed meats, such as hot dogs and sausages
It’s really important that girls with PCOS exercise. Exercise brings down insulin levels, helps with weight loss, is important for cardiovascular health, and improves mood too. Exercise in any forms helps, so find an activity, sport, yoga, walking, swimming, Zumba, gym – any form will do. Work towards increasing your physical activity to at least 5 days a week for 30 minutes per day.
An individualized approach to weight loss is essential because we are all different in genetic make-up, lifestyle, behaviours and physical activity.