What to eat (and what not to eat) for PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may be extremely common – according to the NHS, 1 in 5 women have PCOS in the UK – but its widespread nature doesn’t mean you should suffer in silence.

PCOS symptoms vary from individual to individual. Irregular or no periods, fertility issues, excessive hair growth, weight gain, hair loss, and acne are just some of the symptoms associated with the condition.

These signs usually appear during the sufferer’s teenage years or early 20s, and with no cure, don’t go away. There are however several self-care basics for women with PCOS that help to effectively manage and relieve these troublesome symptoms.

In addition to regular exercise and hormonal acne treatments, what you eat (and what you don’t eat) can make all the difference to your experience living with PCOS. Here we reveal what a healthy, balanced, and PCOS-friendly diet really looks like.

Say yes to whole foods

Embracing Ayurveda is a great way to manage PCOS, particularly as the Ayurvedic diet is built around the consumption of natural, unprocessed foods.

Processed foods have been found to exacerbate PCOS symptoms. The weight gain associated with eating processed foods can also leave sufferers more vulnerable to more severe PCOS complications.

Overweight PCOS sufferers for instance, are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol in later life.

Losing weight can ultimately help you manage PCOS in the long term and a wholesome Ayurvedic diet is one of the best ways to achieve just that as CureJoy details:

“Ayurveda uses “apatarpana” or “depleting treatments” to tackle obesity. The focus is on a high-fiber, low glycemic index carb diet. In general, avoid high glycemic index foods like white rice, potatoes, and refined flour and incorporate whole grains and antioxidant-rich vegetables.

Whole grains like yava (barley), priyangu (foxtail millet), shyamak (Japanese millet), and cheenak (proso millet) are especially useful to tackle excessive body weight associated with PCOS.”

Say no to refined carbs

White bread, muffins, pancakes, and pretty much anything that contains white flour are huge no-nos when managing PCOS symptoms.

These refined carbohydrates are not only highly processed but intensify the inflammation and insulin resistance that cause and worsen PCOS symptoms.

If you feel that you can’t live without these staple items, exploring the healthy alternatives means you can enjoy the taste of your favourite food items without letting your body suffer the consequences.

You can choose pasta noodles that are free from semolina, durum flour, and durum wheat flour, as well as eat pasta made from bean or lentil flour instead of the usual wheat flour.

You should also avoid other inflammation causing foods such as red or processed meats, margarine and fries. Instead, opt for foods that lower inflammation, such as tomatoes, spinach, kale, almonds, olive oil, walnuts, blueberries, and strawberries.

Say yes to fibre

Foods that are high in fibre can help to fight the insulin resistance that causes many PCOS symptoms. This is due to fibre’s ability to slow digestion and lower the effects of sugar within the blood.

You’ll find high levels of fibre in so many foods, which means every PCOS diet can be varied, interesting and rich in the good stuff.

The best high fibre foods to add to your PCOS diet include broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, rocket, red and green peppers, beans, lentils, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, berries, and almonds.

Say no to sugar

Sugar is another carbohydrate that you should treat with caution if you suffer from PCOS.

Unbeknown to most, sugar is found in a vast many foods and drinks, so check the label before you buy. Sugar may be referred to as sucrose, high fructose corn syrup and dextrose.

You don’t have to forgo the sweeter things. You can sweeten your food naturally without using refined sugar or sugar substitutes. Dates, cinnamon, vanilla, beetroot, maple syrup, crushed berries, and lucuma powder all offer healthy ways to indulge that sweet tooth.