A Healthy Diet – The Cure for PCOS

PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) is a common condition among women of childbearing age, which affects a woman’s hormone levels. Women with PCOS produce higher-than-normal amounts of male hormones. This hormone imbalance causes them to skip menstrual periods and makes it harder for them to get pregnant. PCOS is generally not diagnosed at the initial stages as women do not have enough knowledge about it or ignore the symptoms of PCOS. It is a health condition experienced by about one out of 10 women of childbearing age.

Apart from enlarged ovaries with small cysts on the outer edges, there are several other symptoms of PCOS that women have to know about in order to treat it with a healthy diet. Some of these symptoms are irregular periods, excess androgen levels, sleep apnea, high stress levels and blood pressure, infertility, acne, oily skin, and dandruff, high cholesterol and dark patches of skin, fatigue, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, pelvic pain, depression and anxiety, weight management difficulties including weight gain or difficulty losing weight, excessive facial and body hair growth, known as hirsutism and decreased libido.

The best and the only way to reduce the symptoms of PCOS or reduce the impact of PCOS is to have a healthy and nutritious diet. There are two ways in which diet affects PCOS – weight management and insulin production and resistance. The only way to manage these two primary factors is to have a controlled diet that will meet a woman’s nutritional needs, manage a healthy weight and have a good insulin level.

Through immense research done by various scholars, it has been found that there are probably three types of diets that will help women to manage or reduce their symptoms of PCOS. They are:

  • A low glycemic index (GI) diet: Foods having a low glycemic index include whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, starchy vegetables and high fibre foods. The best ever high fibre food options are cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts, greens, including red leaf lettuce and arugula, green and red peppers, beans and lentils, almonds, berries, sweet potatoes, winter squash and pumpkin.
  • An anti-inflammatory diet: Anti-inflammatory foods include berries, fatty fish such as salmon and sardines, leafy greens and extra virgin olive oil. Foods that are great for reducing inflammation include tomatoes, kale, spinach, almonds and walnuts. These foods reduce inflammation-related symptoms, such as fatigue.
  • The DASH diet: A DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is rich in fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. This diet does not contain food that is high in saturated fat and sugar.

There are also certain foods that should be avoided at all costs if you want to reduce or prevent the symptoms of PCOS. Foods high in refined carbohydrates, sugary snacks and drinks and inflammatory foods are the worst food choices for women suffering from PCOS. These food choices include pastries, pasta noodles made with wheat flour, white bread, fast food, sodas and energy drinks, excess red meat, such as steaks, hamburgers and pork.

In the final analysis, it is lifestyle changes like leading a healthy life with physical activities, healthy eating and weight loss exercises which will definitely help women deal with their PCOS.

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