How to fight PCOS with diet and nutrition

Pooja Banga, Nutritionist, Wellness Coach and Director – Cultivating Health

Polycystic ovaries syndrome is a hormonal disorder that causes enlarged ovaries with small cysts on the outer edges. Every one out of ten women has PCOS. Hormonal changes may lead to infertility, type 2 diabetes, heart diseases,  cholesterol abnormalities, and increased risk of endometrial cancer.  PCOS is caused due to genetic factors, excess androgen, excess insulin, low-grade inflammation, obesity etc.  This results in irregular periods,  acne, excess body hair growth, female pattern baldness, weight changes etc. 

This problem can be treated with lifestyle modification like a healthy diet, weight loss,  regular exercise.  

Physical exercise – This plays a major role in treating PCOS. As one of the reasons for PCOS is obesity, it is necessary to exercise regularly and stay fit. You can do physical activities like running, cycling, yoga, aerobics etc.  

Prefer whole foods over processed foods- Whole grains are rich in fibre and other nutrients that minimize spikes in Insulin level and blood sugar which reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.  On the other hand, processed foods include high levels of fats and added sugar that leads to problems of obesity,  diabetes etc and they Lack nutritional value. 

Avoid sugar- People with PCOS can have insulin resistance that may cause diabetes. So,  avoid intake of high sugar meals like sweets,  processed foods etc. Avoid the intake of added sugars or sweets with your main meal. Switch from refined sugar to jaggery, honey, dates etc. 

Avoid gluten intake- People with PCOS can have gluten intolerance too.  So, it is better to reduce gluten intake.  Prefer to eat Whole Grains like rice, quinoa, Howard that don’t contain gluten. 

Indian spices- Indian spices come with medical benefits along with taste-making.  Add as many Indian spices as possible like turmeric,  black pepper, cardamom, ginger,  garlic etc. They help in reducing symptoms of PCOS. 

Don’t go for medication- There are no medications in the world to cure PCOS. Medicines only make symptoms less including periods but in return,  it may cause weight gain which can lead to even more hormonal imbalance. 

Reduce milk and milk products – Reduce the intake of milk or milk products as they are rich in fats that may not help to reduce PCOS.  Dairy products can lead to higher levels of insulation, while women with PCOS have the propensity to develop insulin resistance. 

Avoid fad diet- Fad diet is a trendy weight loss diet plan which promises dramatic results. Don’t go on a fad diet because a yo-yo diet pattern van increases the hormonal imbalance and PCOS can come back if you gain weight again. This is not healthy and doesn’t assure long term weight loss.  Eat healthy and nutritious.  

Don’t eat fruit with the main meal- Never have fruit with the main meal as it increases the sugar content of a meal that can lead to an insulin spike. Though the fruit had healthy carbs, but still,  it’s sugar. 

There is no exact cause or treatment of PCOS.  But at some point nutrition and lifestyle are the reason behind PCOS.  And by eating healthy and keeping us fit can help to treat PCOS naturally without any side effect in return. 

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelloPost.)

Contributed by Pooja Banga, Nutritionist, Wellness Coach and Director – Cultivating Health.