Can a Balanced Diet Help Relieve Symptoms of PCOS?

Many gynaecologists believe that certain diet and lifestyle changes can help reduce the symptoms of PCOS.

Having trouble with irregular periods? Have you had a sudden burst of pimples and put on a lot of weight without any apparent reason? If the answer to all this is yes, then you are probably suffering from PCOS.

Don’t panic! It only sounds complicated, but it’s not!

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a growing hormonal disorder mostly found among women of reproductive age. There is no one test to diagnose this syndrome but usually the first sign is having irregular periods or in some cases, no periods at all.

In PCOS, women cannot ovulate due to formation of small cysts in their ovaries.
In PCOS, women cannot ovulate due to formation of small cysts in their ovaries. (Photo: iStock)

In PCOS, there are cyst formations in the ovaries due to overproduction of certain hormones. Yes, the resulting imbalance of hormones is what causes most of the distress.

In PCOS, women cannot ovulate due to formation of small cysts in their ovaries. This results in the imbalance of estrogen, progesterone and other hormones that causes irregular menstruation cycles.

Dr Deepti Khare, Gynaecologist

Though the exact cause of this disorder is unknown, many experts link it to insulin resistance that cause the excessive weight gain, disrupt ovulation, and increase sugar cravings, among other things.

What Is Insulin Resistance?

The carbohydrates that get digested in our body release glucose into the bloodstream. Insulin helps the cells to absorb glucose and produce energy that can be used by our bodies.

But when our bodies develop resistance, the cells stop absorbing the glucose. This forces the glucose to accumulate in the blood stream which ends in high blood sugar levels.

When our bodies develop insulin resistance, the cells stop absorbing the glucose. This forces the glucose to accumulate in the blood stream which ends in high blood sugar levels.
When our bodies develop insulin resistance, the cells stop absorbing the glucose. This forces the glucose to accumulate in the blood stream which ends in high blood sugar levels. (Photo: iStock)

So, basically you need to work on decreasing the insulin resistance of your body.

Though cases of PCOS have been on the rise in the past few years, many gynaecologists believe that certain diet and lifestyle changes along with some medication can help reduce the symptoms.

Stress and sedentary lifestyle are the two main causes of PCOS in women these days. A balanced diet and proper exercise help a lot in dealing with the symptoms of PCOS.

Dr Deepti Khare, Gynaecologist

Seems doable?

Diet and PCOS: The Connection

When your body becomes insulin resistant, then it starts producing more insulin to maintain normal sugar levels. High level of insulin makes it harder to lose weight resulting in a higher Body Mass Index (BMI).

So, it is very important to know what to eat and what to avoid!

It is very important to know what to eat and  what to avoid!
It is very important to know what to eat and what to avoid! (Photo: iStock)

Since insulin resistance builds up in the body, it is extremely important that women understand the constituents of their diet well and have a balanced meal.

Dr Shikha Sharma, Nutritionist

Let us help make you a perfect diet plan then…

What to Eat?

Remember, you must prevent excess sugar from entering your blood stream. So, you must eat food that doesn’t convert to sugar easily.

Experts advise a high fibre-lean protein diet which will help control the amount of insulin in the body by slowing down digestion.

PCOS diet must include a lot of green vegetables and fresh fruits. A high fibre-lean protein diet will help control the amount of insulin in the body.
PCOS diet must include a lot of green vegetables and fresh fruits. A high fibre-lean protein diet will help control the amount of insulin in the body. (Photo: iStock)

So, your diet must include a lot of:

• Green vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach

• Beans & lentils

• Almonds, berries

• Tomatoes

• Pumpkin

• Olive Oil

• Chicken

• Fish (like Salmon, Sardines)

Have a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. Include more body cleansing items like turmeric, lime, garlic, onions, coriander in your meal preparations. They will detox the body and help you get rid of extra sugar.

What to Avoid?

Sugars and carbohydrates are a strict NO!

Yes, prepare yourself to bid farewell to all your favourite chocolates, candies, cakes, pies! Sorry, but they are of no help now!

Sugars and carbohydrates are a strict NO! 
Sugars and carbohydrates are a strict NO!  (Photo: iStock)

Strictly stay away from:

• White bread (Bye-bye Pizza!)

• Rice

• Sugary juices

• Desserts (Basically, anything with sugar in it!)

• Potatoes

• Pasta noodles made from wheat flour (Try lentil flour (masoor aata) pasta, instead!)

You are also advised to cut down on foods like red meat, French fries (yes, you read that right!) since they cause inflammation in the body.

You have to be extra careful even while grocery shopping.

Why? Because packaged foods have a lot of sugars and carbohydrates that we usually don’t see because we rarely read the labels!

Read the labels of packaged food items while shopping. Make sure the salt content is low, avoid items with simple sugars, make sure that Trans fat is zero and the amount of preservatives present is minimal. Fresh food is always better than preserved food.

Dr Shikha Sharma, Nutritionist

Other Lifestyle Changes…

Along with a perfect diet, some exercise will also help you feel better.

No, you don’t have to run to the gym! Simple physical activities like brisk walking, jogging, swimming will help control your BMI.

Simple physical activities like brisk walking, jogging, swimming will help control your BMI.
Simple physical activities like brisk walking, jogging, swimming will help control your BMI. (Photo: iStock)

Any type of physical activity helps improve insulin sensitivity, reduces your BMI and increases your frequency of ovulation.

Dr Deepti Khare, Gynaecologist

Do you feel better now? You can deal with PCOS with the right diet and exercise. Try to gather more information which will only help you feel more confident in dealing with PCOS.

Remember, when in doubt, always consult your gynaecologist.

 

 

 

 

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What to eat & avoid in PCOS

What to eat & avoid in PCOS
A healthy lifestyle involves many choices. Exercise and eating right is always top-most on that list. As every disease condition has a few do’s and don’ts, choosing the right diet plan depending on your health issues is most important. If PCOS is your new-companion these small but important changes in your eating habits can help in alleviating your symptoms, increasing your energy levels and in maintaining your weight.

Ditch Processed and Refined Food: In PCOS, the crux of eating healthy is to consume food which is low in calories and is preservative free. Consuming food in its most natural state prevents our hormones from going berserk. In order to keep them in check cutting down on processed and refined food helps immensely.

Opt for whole gluten-free grains like oats, brown rice, millet and quinoa instead of white flour, pasta and bread.

Skip the Sugar: Women with PCOS have high insulin levels and eating too much sugar will add to their existing problem. Not only that, it also makes losing weight more difficult. Eating fewer sugars and simple carbohydrates can help you lose weight and reduce your risk for diabetes. Avoid sweetened juices, cakes, cookies, sodas and those delectable desserts in your refrigerator.

Opt for food that has natural sugars like fruits, jaggery, honey and dates instead of artificial sugar.

Limit the Liquor: Alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing PCOS by 50% and adds to the hormonal imbalance by upping the oestrogen levels. Apart from that alcohol gets converted to sugar immediately in our body, thereby raising the already high blood sugar levels even further. So alcohol is definitely a no-no as far as PCOS is concerned.

If you feel like letting your hair down and a drink is a must, limit yourself to just one glass of wine once in a while.

Stay Away From Salt: One teaspoon of salt contains more than a day’s requirement of Sodium and high sodium leads to excessive water retention in our body. Women suffering from PCOS have a lot of water retention anyway, so excessive salt adds to their problem. S

Stay clear of salty snacks through the day. Opt for nuts, fruits instead. Not only does it give you the important nutrients but also helps you keep your sodium levels under control.

Up Your Intake of Veggies and Fruits: Vegetables and fruits are packed with a lot more nutrients per calorie than any other food. Most fruits and veggies are rich in iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. They also have ample of vitamin K, C, E and many of the B-complex group. All these are known to help in reducing PCOS symptoms.

Though medical intervention is an absolute necessity in PCOS, these small but important changes in your daily dietary intake can help you increase your energy and help maintain your weight.

To know more about PCOS and its symptoms, causes, complications and Homeopathic Treatment visit https://www.welcomecure.com/diseases/Polycystic-ovary-syndrome-PCOS/overview

Disclaimer: This article is written by our Sponsor and we do not take any responsibility for the accuracy of their views. This should not be considered as a substitute for Physician’s advice. Please consult your treating Physician for more details.

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