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The medical condition that goes by the name PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome or polycystic ovarian disease) has over the years become a rather common occurrence amongst women who live in the urban population. PCOS is caused by hormonal disorder with increased male hormones, cysts in the ovaries, painful periods, increased facial hair growth, obesity, infertility, insulin resistance, etc. With growing awareness, the varied aspects associated with the disease are being discussed and dissected scientifically and as such questions pertaining to the management and cure for the disease becomes all the more easier. And of the many sides of this condition that have been examined, it has been observed that PCOD/PCOS is a hormonal disorder and a healthy diet and lifestyle can tackle a lot of symptoms associated with this disease. And so, quite naturally, the question that is most often asked is what diet would help to fend off the ill-effects of PCOS? In this post, we shall try to present a diet that would suit someone who has been diagnosed with PCOS. So, without any further ado, let us begin.
Now, with scientific advancement and latest research into the condition, it has been revealed and has sort of become common knowledge that women with PCOS have higher levels of insulin than normal. This raised insulin level has been linked with underlying cause of women with PCOS also developing insulin resistance. High insulin levels affect ovaries in a way that they start secreting androgens (which are male hormones), while insulin resistance makes it difficult to maintain or lose body weight – it is rather difficult to keep those unwanted pounds at bay, if you have insulin resistance that might lead to the development of early onset gestational diabetes.
So the following recommended steps should be adhered to assiduously:
- Opt for a Low GI diet: By low GI diet, we mean a low glycemic index diet. This kind of a diet will help one maintain and even reduce body weight, by ensuring insulin levels remain normal and optimum. A low GI diet is also conducive for preventing insulin spikes. In this diet, one should consume whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and lean proteins. Some examples are meat, fish, eggs, beans, kidney beans, peanuts, lentils, chickpeas, low-fat yogurt, plain yogurt, whole milk, soy milk, grapefruit, apple, peach, orange, grapes, asparagus, broccoli, celery, cucumber, lettuce, capsicum, bell peppers, spinach, tomatoes, cooked carrots, rice bran, etc.
- Avoid skipping breakfast: Skipping breakfast is a strict no-no for those diagnosed with PCOS. Medical experts have opined that those with PCOS should be encouraged to eat regular meals. Keep in mind that normal-weight women with PCOS eating half of their prescribed diet are risking an 8% reduction in insulin levels, additionally risking upsetting the whole normal hormone balances in the body. So please, refrain from skipping breakfasts.
- Consume the prescribed amounts of healthy fats: Ensure that you get an adequate supply of healthy fats that are rich in omega-3 rich fatty acids that would help maintain and improve normal insulin levels. Healthy fat helps to reduce bad cholesterol, prevents binge eating, improve mental health, and boosts immunity. Try to consume a good amount of avocados (rich in monosaturated fats that lowers bad cholesterol, rich in vitamin E) butter, ghee (rich in omega-3 and 6 fatty acids), coconut oil (improves brain function), extra virgin oil (rich in antioxidants), dark chocolate (rich in antioxidants, improve heart health), fish, flaxseed, chia seeds, nuts and seeds like almonds and walnuts (rich in omega-3 fatty acids, helps lower bad cholesterol), whole eggs (rich in protein), etc. to stay healthy.
- Reduce intake of carbs: Someone diagnosed with PCOS/PCOD needs to cut back on carbs in order to stay healthy. Carbs get converted into glucose and spike insulin levels in the body, leading PCOS sufferers to insulin resistance and pre-diabetic stage. Opting for a low carb diet has manifold benefits such as reducing blood sugar, improving blood insulin and testosterone levels, and increasing insulin sensitivity, and taking you out of the pre-diabetic stage. It also helps drop weight and achieve goal weight. Here’s a complete vegetarian low-carb diet for weight loss.
- Go for lean proteins: Some studies have shown that women on high protein diets have low levels of androgen than someone who is not on such a diet. Besides high-protein diet does not increase insulin levels and helps women manage and reduce their body weight. Some examples of lean protein are greek yogurt, skinless chicken, prawns/shrimp, paneer, salmon, tuna, fish, lentils, soybeans, egg whites, lamb, tofu, oats, nuts, etc.
- Consider consuming vitamin D and chromium supplements: Women with PCOS should consider consuming vitamin supplements; especially vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency at times triggers obesity, reduced ovulation and the unwanted development of insulin resistance. Likewise intake of chromium supplements improves insulin sensitivity amongst obese women by almost 38%.
Well dear readers tell us what you think of our article in the comments section below.
And as always, stay pretty and healthy.
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