Fight Polycystic Ovary Syndrome with Seven Simple Dietary Changes
Adolescent experience multiple issues, including acne, hirsutism, sleep difficulties, depression, and body image issues. Moreover, in adulthood, PCOS is linked to heart problems, diabetes, and uterine cancer.1 Thus, correcting PCOS in time is important.
Relationship between PCOS and Weight
Obesity significantly contributes to the severity of PCOS. The risk of PCOS considerably increases with a high body mass index (BMI). However, women who are overweight or underweight may develop PCOS. Obesity is responsible for symptoms that may cause mental and physical damage and the leading cause of infertility and abnormal menstruation. Lifestyle management is the most effective therapy for avoiding PCOS symptoms. Moreover, it helps in reducing consequences in the long run. PCOS management can be performed by focusing on weight loss, exercise, and a healthy diet.
Relationship between PCOS and diabetes
Usually, females with PCOS are insulin-resistant, meaning their bodies do not react to insulin the way they should. Thus, there is an increase in insulin production in the body. Such females are at a higher risk of developing heart diseases and type 2 diabetes.
Diet and PCOS
Although PCOS has no treatment, its symptoms may be alleviated with dietary and lifestyle modifications such as more significant physical activity, healthier eating, cosmetic treatments, and medicine. To promote healthy living, smoking should be avoided. These lifestyle adjustments and dietary changes have been demonstrated to be the highly effective therapy for PCOS.
Following are the seven simple diet changes that help manage PCOS:
- Include a variety of foods: Include a minimum of five portions of different vegetables and fruits on a daily basis. They provide minerals, antioxidants and vitamins. Include whole grains, beans, pulses, legumes, nuts, seeds, lean meats, and seafood.
- Control portion size: To understand pre-packaged food sugar and fat content, you should read the labels. The food portion can be different; therefore, it is better to read the "per 100 g" column. Certain food packaging may have a traffic light type of labelling. In such packaging, the green label means the food is healthiest. Amber label indicates that the food is moderately healthy, and red label may suggest that the food is least healthy. To maintain control over the portion size of your regular meal, you can follow a healthy plate model, i.e. out of your entire plate, 50% should be filled with different vegetables, 25% should be filled with carbohydrate-containing food such as rice and bread, and the other 25% should contain protein foods such as seeds, nuts, eggs, chicken, and fish.
- Limit consumption of sugar and calorie: Fat-containing foods includes multiple calories, while foods heavy in sugar may create blood sugar spikes. To prevent sugar spikes, you should cut down on sugar intake. This can be performed by limiting the consumption of chocolates, cakes, pastries, puddings, and sweets. Replace sugar-containing drinks with low-calorie or sugar-free beverages. Moreover, you can use sweetener rather than regular sugar and opt for lower fat-containing dairy products. Furthermore, avoid drinking alcohol beyond 14 units in a week, i.e. half a pint of beer, 25 ml of spirits or 125 ml of wine.
- Do not skip meals: Eat all three meals at regular times daily. As a snack between meals, you can have fresh fruits, unsalted raw nuts (30 g), low-fat milk, unsweetened yogurt, and crackers (reduced-fat).
- Include high fiber food: Including fiber in your diet is important because it helps regulate blood sugar levels and reduces the glycaemic index of foods. Dietary fibre may help in the maintenance of good digestive processes, the filling of your stomach, and the reduction of blood cholesterol levels. Foods such as brown rice, brown pasta, wholemeal, wholegrain bread, potato skins, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruit, and vegetables are high in fibre. If you are purchasing packaged food, you can look for words such as "whole grain" or foods that have a fibre content of at least 5 g in 100 g of product.
- Choose your fat wisely: You should consume a small amount of unsaturated fat every day because they aid in maintaining a healthy heart. You can use 2–3 tablespoons of vegetable oils such as sunflower, peanut, soybean, olive, corn, canola and flax seed oil. While selecting meat, avoid the fatty cuts or deep-fried meat, go for lean meat, choose skinless chicken or fish.
Avoid junk food: Foods containing refined carbohydrates can induce inflammation that aggravates insulin resistance. Foods that should be avoided in PCOS are white bread, white rice, maida-containing foods, sweetened and carbonated drinks, sugary desserts, processed and canned foods, samosas, mathris, chips, puris, paranthas, and other salty snacks.
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