Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is an endocrine disorder that affects a majority of the female population in the UAE.
One of the key components of PCOS management is diet. In this article, learn how you can create an effective diet for PCOS and manage your PCOS better.
However, before that, let’s first have a look at what PCOS is.
PCOS: Everything You Need To Know
PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects ovulation, period and your ability to conceive. It is typically characterised by the formation of cysts in the ovaries caused by the overproduction of a hormone called androgen.
PCOS is also known to be closely associated with metabolic disorders that can cause weight gain and insulin resistance. Therefore, if not managed properly, it can lead to long-term complications like heart disease, endometrial cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure.
How Does Diet Affect PCOS?
The two main ways in which diet affects PCOS are weight management and insulin production and resistance.
People with PCOS often deal with insulin resistance, leading to higher-than-normal insulin levels in the body.
High insulin levels cause your ovaries to produce more androgens and also make it harder to lose weight. Excess body weight, in turn, further increases insulin resistance.
When you follow a healthy diet and meet your nutritional requirements, you promote good insulin levels, maintain a healthy body weight and break this cycle of insulin resistance and excess weight.
How To Create an Effective PCOS Diet?
The PCOS diet is different from person to person. However, the following tips can help you create your own PCOS diet plan.
- Include Fresh & Minimally Processed Foods
Choose a variety of fresh and minimally processed foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy products, nuts and seeds. Include them in your diet in a healthy quantity.
- Choose Whole Grains
A PCOS diet always needs whole grains that are minimally processed. Some of the best whole grains to include in your diet are whole wheat, barley, oatmeal, brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, etc.
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- Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is crucial for managing PCOS. Make sure your PCOS diet plan includes beverages. Out of all the beverages, water is the most important one for hydration.
While choosing beverages, also ensure that they are not high in sugar, such as juices, soda and energy drinks.
- Include Frequent Meals of Smaller Portions
In your PCOS diet plan, include frequent meals of smaller portions. It will help keep you full and also meet your nutritional requirements.
Try to eat a small meal or snack every 3 to 5 hours. Some good snacks to include are:
- boneless and skinless chicken
- cottage cheese with tomatoes
- hard-boiled egg with carrots and hummus
- Include Omega-3 Options
Omega-3 is essential for improving insulin sensitivity and ovulation. Therefore, make sure that you include omega-3 options at least twice a week in your PCOS diet plan.
You can have fatty fish like salmon and sardines or a tablespoon of ground flaxseed mixed into yoghurt or as a smoothie.
- Limit Sodium
While preparing your diet plan, make sure to reduce sodium consumption as much as possible. When you choose any processed food, look for unsalted options. Also, use herbs and spices to season your food rather than table salt.
- Add Fiber-Rich Foods
Make sure your PCOS diet plan contains foods rich in fibre as they help fight insulin resistance.
Some of the best high-fibre foods are broccoli, cauliflower, green and red peppers, beans, lentils, almonds, berries, sweet potatoes and pumpkin.
- Do Not Include Refined Carbohydrates and Inflammatory Foods
While preparing your PCOS diet plan, try to limit refined carbohydrates and inflammatory foods as much as you can. They increase insulin resistance and inflammation.
Some most commonly eaten refined carbohydrates are white bread, muffins and sugary desserts. Common inflammatory foods are red and processed meat, fries and sugary drinks.
On a Final Note
Eating a PCOS-friendly diet is crucial for managing PCOS, reducing stress and lowering the risk of long-term complications.
You can make your own PCOS diet plan by following the tips given above. Remember the main goal of a PCOS diet plan is to meet nutritional requirements while keeping you full, healthy and happy.