Polycystic ovary syndrome—PCOS—has symptoms that range from irregular or absent periods to excessive facial body and hair and thinning hair on the scalp. One of the first signs is weight gain. The condition occurs from higher-than-normal male hormones. People with PCOS can help their condition with diet. Learning the worst foods for PCOS and what to eat instead is a start.
What you eat makes a huge difference in controlling PCOS.
Insulin resistance and weight gain are two major problems caused by PCOS. Approximately 70% of those with PCOS have insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can cause weight gain and excess weight can cause insulin resistance, so it becomes a vicious cycle that is hard to break. Since the food you eat affects your level of insulin, which then directly affects insulin resistance, a healthy diet is important.
Avoid simple carbs if you have PCOS.
Simple carbs digest quickly and spike your blood sugar level. That spike produces high amounts of insulin that can lead to insulin resistance or make it worse. When there is a high glucose level in the blood, a signal goes out to send more insulin. Insulin helps open the cells to intake glucose. When you have insulin resistance, the cells don’t open to lower the level of glucose in the blood, so the body produces even more insulin. Besides simple carbs like sugar, avoiding fast food, sugary drinks, processed meat, excess red meat and solid fats like margarine or lard can help reduce the symptoms.
Instead of highly processed food, making smarter choices can help insulin resistance and PCOS.
Natural unprocessed food, those high in fiber and fatty fish containing omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, can be part of a PCOS diet. So can vegetables, especially leafy greens, broccoli, and cauliflower. Dark red and purple fruit like blueberries and cherries should be part of the diet, as well as beans and other legumes. Healthy fat, nuts, and spices like turmeric and cinnamon should be included, and best of all, so should small amounts of dark chocolate.
- Specific diets that help control PCOS include a low glycemic index diet, an anti-inflammatory diet, and the DASH diet. A study showed that the DASH diet could help women lose belly fat and reduce insulin resistance in 8 weeks.
- You need adequate protein if you want to lose weight. Protein helps stabilize blood sugar and keeps you feeling full longer. A low-carb diet where 40% or more of the calories come from protein, 30% from fat, and the rest from carbs helps PCOS.
- Make certain you have adequate fiber if you want to lower insulin resistance. It helps reduce body fat, particularly belly fat that can cause insulin resistance.
- Probiotics are an important addition to a diet for women with PCOS. They tend to have fewer beneficial bacteria in their digestive tract. Beneficial bacteria make weight loss easier.
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