Have you been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), or do you feel you fit the profile? One of the most common causes of infertility, PCOS can also wreak havoc on aspects of your health that have nothing to do with reproduction, like putting you at higher risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and depression.
For these reasons, we recommend that all women with PCOS work with their doctors to create the best management plan for their symptoms and overall health goals. For many, changes to diet and lifestyle can make a notable improvement in the way PCOS expresses itself in their body – including the return of a normal menstrual cycle and ovulation.
Read, What My PCOS Diagnosis Means, to learn more about PCOS particulars.
Try a PCOS Diet to Alleviate Your Symptoms
Here are some of the foods and diet tips that can diminish your PCOS symptoms, help you lose unwanted weight, balance blood sugar levels and improve your tendency towards insulin resistance – one of PCOS’s most dangerous and compromising side effects.
Prioritize fresh over processed
Because processed foods often contain lots of carbs in the form of sugars, we recommend skipping those and prioritizing fresh foods. While a little more assembly may be required, the benefit is a healthier body and improved nutrition. Also, processed foods and snacks are associated with higher levels of inflammation in the body, which can further exacerbate existing ovarian cysts. By alleviating inflammation, you can also alleviate pelvic and back pain.
Eat fresh fruit in place of sweets
It’s true that diets like Adkins and South Beach limit fruit intake because fresh fruit has carbs. If you have PCOS, however, fresh fruit is a major bonus over white sugars and sweetened snacks. This is because the high-fiber content in fruit helps to balance its impact on your blood sugar levels by filling your G.I. tract and acting like a fructose-time-release system. If you have sweet cravings (common in women with PCOS since your body is struggling to elevate plummeting blood sugar levels that follow the spikes), answer them by eating ripe, seasonal fruits. Pair them with yogurt for a high-protein smoothie or buy yogurt pops with 100% real fruit and no additives.
Focus on anti-inflammatory foods
Because inflammation is part and parcel of PCOS, reducing inflammation is beneficial. We recommend following Dr. Weil’s Anti-inflammatory Diet, which consists of foods known to reduce inflammation, such as:
- Leafy greens (kale, bok choy, cabbage, Swiss chard, arugula)
- Flax Seeds
These foods are chock full of nutrients, healthy proteins and fats, Omega 3 fatty acids and/or antioxidants so the benefits of adding them to your diet is multi-fold.
Can you add cinnamon or turmeric to that?
These two aromatic spices are becoming superstars of the spice world. Cinnamon is thought to balance blood sugar by slowing the release of glucose into the bloodstream. Maybe this is why it’s so tasty when added to our desserts, cereals and hot beverages – it’s like the body already knew that where there is sugar, there should be cinnamon.
Turmeric is a popular spice used in Indian and Mediterranean foods. It also contains a seemingly-miracle compound called curcumin. In addition to being a major anti-inflammatory agent, curcumin appears to fight cancer cells and has been shown in cultural studies – as well as scientifically-based studies – to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
If you aren’t a huge fan of cinnamon or curcumin, talk to your doctor about taking them in supplement form, which can be an easier way to ingest larger quantities.
In addition to these additions to your diet, regular exercise of 30-minutes per day, at least 5 days a week, is also important for losing excess weight, increasing heart health and regulating blood sugar, which can reverse insulin resistance.
Are you interested in learning more about PCOS or finding a balanced treatment plan that works for your goals and lifestyle? Schedule an appointment with Women’s Health Associates and we’ll be happy to help you out.
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