PCOS Management: Role Of Nutrition And Lifestyle Tips

Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS can be managed with the right nutrition and lifestyle habits. Here's what the expert says. 

Navya Kharbanda
Written by: Navya KharbandaPublished at: Sep 18, 2022Updated at: Sep 18, 2022
 PCOS Management: Role Of Nutrition And Lifestyle Tips

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common health condition experienced by one out of 10 women of childbearing age. Women with PCOS produce more male hormones than is normal. This hormone imbalance causes their body to skip menstrual cycle and makes it harder for them to get pregnant. PCOS can lead to other serious health complications, such as diabetes, cardiovascular problems, depression, and increased risk of endometrial cancer. 

Diet can help reduce the impact of PCOS. At the same time unhealthy diet is also responsible for PCOS. As per studies adolescent girls with PCOS consume a lot of unhealthy foods such as fast food, soft drink, sweets, and junk food. Nutrition and lifestyle modifications play a huge role in weight management, and therefore paying attention to what you eat and adapting it accordingly could help your PCOS symptoms. For PCOS awareness month in September, OnlyMyHealth editorial team talked to Ms. Anam Golandaz, Clinical Dietician, Masina Hospital, Byculla, Mumbai, to know about the role of nutrition in managing PCOS symptoms and lifestyle tips for the same. 

Foods to eat if you have PCOS

1. Whole grains

Women who suffer from PCOS are four times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and whole grains contain high levels of fibre which can help manage insulin levels. So include barley, millet, buckwheat, oat, brown rice in your diet. 

2. Fruits and Vegetables

pcos diet

Fresh fruits and veggies are loaded with vitamins , minerals and antioxidants. So basically they are versatile and nutrition-packed. Choose fruits and veggies that are full of fiber, like crucifers (e.g., cabbage, broccoli), leafy greens veggies, apples, and plums. 

3. Lean Protein

Eating lean meat is essential for any healthy diet. For PCOS suffers, who may find weight loss more difficult due to hormonal imbalances lean protein helps a lot for weight loss. Lean cuts of poultry cooked without the skin are excellent choices. Eggs are another good choice. For vegetarians they can have grains, pulses, and beans in their diet to meet the protein requirement. Avoid red meat or any meat or fish that's fried or prepared with a lot of salt, butter, and/or oil. Avoid processed meats such as hot dogs, sausage, and bacon, which are high in sodium, trans fat, and additives. 

Also read: PCOS & Women's Health: Need For Timely Diagnosis In Women, Symptoms, And Treatment To Overcome PCOS

4. Healthy Fats

One very big concern for women who are experiencing PCOS is fertility and pregnancy and fatty acids play an essential role in both of these. Omega 3, a fatty acid which can be found in sources such as fish or flax seeds, helps to regulate hormones and regulate your menstrual cycle.

5. Dairy

The PCOS diet generally advises against consuming full-fat dairy products. Try dairy-free and low sugar alternatives like almond, rice, or coconut milk. 

Foods to avoid if you have PCOS 

1. Desserts

It is better to avoid desserts because sugar can cause inflammation, it's best to limit your intake of sweets. While a small amount of dark chocolate can be tolerated on a PCOS diet, avoid baked goods, candy, packaged snacks, and other treats.

2. Processed Foods

Processed foods tend to have a higher Glycaemic Index (GI), which is directly linked to insulin sensitivity and diabetes. As previously stated, women with PCOS are much more likely to develop diabetes, so it is critical to avoid high GI foods that are likely to cause a spike in your blood sugar levels. As a result, he avoids processed foods such as cookies, cakes, pastries, and ready meals.

Also read: Explained! The Difference Between PCOD and PCOS

Lifestyle changes to consider with PCOS 

These changes include exercise and daily physical movement. Both, when combined with a low intake of refined carbohydrates, can help reduce insulin resistance. Many experts agree that at least 150 minutes of exercise per week is ideal. Weight loss may also be aided by regular physical activity, a low-sugar diet, and a low-inflammation diet. People who lose weight may have better ovulation.