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Home > Blog > Diet for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome - 12 Foods & Foods to Avoid

Diet for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome - 12 Foods & Foods to Avoid

Diet for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome - 12 Foods & Foods to Avoid

Max Lab

Nov 13, 2022

A hormonal condition known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affects women who are of reproductive age. The syndrome is characterized by irregular periods, excess male hormones, and polycystic ovaries. PCOS can impact a woman's fertility, mental health, and physical health. There is no one-size-fits-all diet for women with PCOS, but certain foods may help manage the symptoms. In this blog post, we will discuss the best diet for PCOS and how to incorporate it into your life.

What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

A hormonal condition known as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is prevalent in females of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may experience prolonged or irregular menstrual cycles or have elevated amounts of androgens, or male hormones. The ovaries could produce a lot of tiny fluid-filled sacs (follicles) but not consistently release eggs.

The exact cause of PCOS is unknown. Early diagnosis and treatment can help minimize the long-term effects of PCOS on your health, fertility, and appearance.

There's no one diet that's right for everyone with PCOS, but some general dietary guidelines may help manage the condition. These include keeping a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, and exercising frequently.

How does Diet Affect PCOS?

When it comes to managing PCOS, diet is key. While there is no one-size-fits-all diet for women with PCOS, making some simple dietary changes can help to manage the symptoms of the condition.

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important for all women, but it is especially important for women with PCOS. A healthy diet can help to regulate hormones, manage weight and reduce insulin resistance.

There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to eating for PCOS. First, aim for a diet that is high in fibre and low in refined carbs and sugar. This will help to regulate blood sugar levels and insulin levels. Second, make sure to include plenty of lean protein and healthy fats in your diet. After meals, this will help you maintain a sensation of fullness and satisfaction.  Lastly, make sure to get plenty of antioxidants from fresh fruits and vegetables. These nutrients help to protect the body against inflammation, which can be a trigger for PCOS symptoms.

Making these simple dietary changes can go a long way in managing the symptoms of PCOS. However, it is always best to speak with a doctor or registered dietitian before making any major changes to your diet.

What Foods should I add to my PCOS Diet?

Adding certain foods to your diet may help to regulate your hormones and manage your PCOS symptoms. Below is the list of foods to add with PCOS: 

  • Beans

There are many different types of beans, each with their own unique nutritional profile. However, all beans are a good source of fiber and protein, which makes them a great food to include in your diet if you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Fiber can help regulate blood sugar levels, which is important for managing PCOS. Protein is also essential for balancing hormones and maintaining a healthy weight. So, aim to include a variety of beans in your diet. Some delicious ways to do this include adding black beans to tacos or chili, lentils to soup or salad, or white beans to a veggie-packed pasta dish.

  • Lentils

Lentils are a great source of fiber and protein. They also contain several important vitamins and minerals, including iron, folate, and magnesium. All of these nutrients are important for women with PCOS. Vitamins and minerals like iron, folate, and magnesium are important for overall health, but they also play a role in fertility. Iron is necessary for producing healthy red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the cells in your body (including your ovaries).

Protein and fiber help to regulate blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full longer. This is important because women with PCOS often have trouble regulating their blood sugar levels and can experience hunger even when they’ve just eaten.

  • Almonds

While there is no one specific diet that has been shown to be effective in treating or managing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), making some simple dietary changes may help to improve symptoms and reduce the risk of associated health problems. Including almonds in your diet is a good way to get more healthy fats, fiber, and nutrients like magnesium and vitamin E. Just a handful of almonds (about 1/4 cup) contains over 7 grams of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, 4 grams of fiber, and 7 grams of protein.

  • Sweet Potatoes

The humble sweet potato is often overlooked as a dietary powerhouse, but it should be a key part of any diet for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, which are essential for maintaining stable blood sugar levels. They are also rich in fiber, vitamins A and Vitamin C, and potassium.

Eating sweet potatoes regularly can help to regulate insulin levels, which is crucial for managing PCOS. In one study, women with PCOS who ate a diet rich in complex carbs like sweet potatoes had significantly lower insulin levels than those who ate a diet high in simple carbs.

  • Pumpkin

Pumpkin is a great food to eat if you have PCOS. Pumpkin is a good source of fiber, which can help regulate your blood sugar levels. Pumpkin is also a good source of vitamins A and C, which are important for hormone balance.

  • Tomatoes

Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant that can help to protect cells from damage. They are also a good source of potassium, fibre, and the vitamins A and C. Including tomatoes in your diet can help to improve your overall health and may also help to reduce the risk of developing polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

  • Spinach

Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that is rich in nutrients, including iron and folic acid. It is also a good source of magnesium, which is thought to play a role in regulating blood sugar levels. Spinach may help to regulate insulin levels and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In addition, spinach contains antioxidants that can help to protect the body against disease.

  • Walnuts

If you have PCOS, you might be wondering if there are any specific dietary changes that can help. 

Walnuts are an especially good choice for women with PCOS because they contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity. Walnuts are also a good source of magnesium, a mineral that plays a key role in regulating metabolism.

  • Olive Oil

If you have PCOS and are looking to incorporate olive oil into your diet, be sure to choose extra virgin olive oil, as it has the highest concentration of healthy nutrients. You can use olive oil in place of other oils in cooking or baking, or drizzle it over salads or cooked vegetables.

  • Blueberries

Blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidants and have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. They are also a good source of fiber, which can help regulate hormone levels.

  • Strawberries

Strawberries are a good source of antioxidants and phytonutrients, which may help reduce inflammation and insulin resistance. In addition, strawberries are a low-glycemic fruit, meaning they don't cause spikes in blood sugar levels. This is important for women with PCOS because high blood sugar levels can worsen symptoms like fatigue and irritability.

  • Fatty Fish

There are many health benefits to eating fatty fish, including reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Fatty fish is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and improve cholesterol levels.

Some research has also shown that omega-3 fatty acids may help to reduce the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). One study found that women with PCOS who took a daily supplement of omega-3 fatty acids for eight weeks had a significant reduction in symptoms, including decreased levels of the hormone testosterone.

What is the Diet Plan for PCOS

A PCOS diet should be high in fiber and low in sugar and refined carbohydrates. It should also include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats.

Some women with PCOS find that they need to limit their intake of dairy and gluten, as these foods can worsen symptoms. There is no scientific evidence to support these restrictions, but eliminating certain foods may help to reduce symptoms in some women.

Which Foods to Avoid with PCOS?

There are a few key things to keep in mind when it comes to diet and PCOS. First, avoid processed foods and simple carbohydrates as much as possible. These can spike insulin levels, which can exacerbate symptoms of PCOS. Second, make sure to get plenty of fiber-rich foods, which can help regulate blood sugar levels. Finally, be sure to get enough protein, which can help reduce inflammation and promote weight loss.

With that said, here are a few specific food groups or items that you should limit or avoid if you have PCOS:

  • Sugar: This includes refined sugars like those found in candy, cookies, and soda, as well as natural sugars like honey and agave nectar. Too much sugar can lead to weight gain and insulin resistance. This includes refined sugars like those found in candy, cookies, and soda, as well as natural sugars like honey and agave nectar. Too much sugar can lead to weight gain and insulin resistance.
  • Dairy: Milk and cheese contain hormones that can trigger acne breakouts and worsen other PCOS symptoms. Opt for dairy-free alternatives like almond milk or coconut yogurt instead.
  • Milk and cheese contain hormones that can trigger acne breakouts and worsen other PCOS symptoms. Opt for dairy-free alternatives like almond milk or coconut yogurt instead.
  • Alcohol: While an occasional glass of wine may be fine, excessive alcohol consumption can cause weight gain and disrupt hormone levels. If you do choose to drink

Other Lifestyle Changes to Consider with PCOS

There are a number of other lifestyle changes that can be helpful for managing PCOS. Getting regular exercise can help to regulate hormones and insulin levels, as well as reducing stress levels. In addition, it’s important to get enough sleep and manage stress levels, as both can impact hormone levels. Finally, quitting smoking can also be beneficial, as smoking has been linked to an increased risk of PCOS.

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