Nowadays, the word “PCOD” or PCOS is a common disease that a lot of women are having sleepless nights thinking about. PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, a medical condition which develops due to hormonal imbalance in a woman’s body. Women of the reproductive age may develop small collections of fluid or follicles on their ovaries that hinder normal release of eggs from the follicles, resulting in irregular and infrequent menstrual periods. Celebrities like Victoria Beckham, Daisy Ridley of the “Star Wars”- fame and Oscar winning actress Emma Thompson have revealed that they suffer from this condition. PCOD is so common in India that anywhere around 9.13% to 36% women are affected by it. As with any other hormonal and lifestyle disease, food is medicine in PCOS too. Many women would be shocked to find out that PCOS or PCOD is a lifestyle disorder. Irregular menstrual cycle, unwanted body and facial hair, A proper diet goes a long way in straightening things out. So today, we embark to enlist some food items that are a strict no-no if you are suffering fro PCOS. Don’t fret yet, because PCOS can be totally controlled and there is no need to lose your sleep. If we stick to a proper dietary routine and workout regime along with proper medication, we can wipe out all symptoms of PCOS. So, here’s what food to avoid if you have PCOS.
1. Sugar: If you have been diagnosed with PCOS, undoubtedly your physician or dietician has advised you not to consume excess sugar, to stay off it as far as possible. Sugar is not good for anyone, not at all for women who suffer from PCOS. Cutting back on sugar or completely avoiding sugar altogether will make it a lot easier to lose weight as well as to stay in shape (which is desirable even if you don’t have PCOS). So before you consume any food, always check whether it contains added sugar, sucrose, dextrose or high fructose corn syrup.
2. Dairy products: Another family of food items women with PCOS ought to avoid as much as possible are dairy products. Dairy products, along with sugar, are notoriously fattening, and so try to avoid milk and other dairy products.
3. Artificial Sweeteners: Now this might come as a surprise, but many of the so called ‘healthy’ or ‘healthier’ substitutes to sugar, like saccharine and other synthetic alternatives abundantly available in markets are actually worse than the original item, to those who suffer from conditions of hormonal imbalances like PCOS. So, switching over to synthetic sweeteners might not be the most prudent choice for those tackling PCOS.
4. Red Meat: Although earlier on, many professional dieticians were of the opinion that including highly rich animal protein packed meat in the diet of PCOS patients would benefit them immensely by helping them to lose weight and fend off the negative effects of sugar. However, recent studies have revealed the downsides of consuming red meat, the most prominent among them being the ill effects of the resultant decrease of SHBG, a sex hormone that is vital to reducing testosterone levels, which is critical in PCOS recovery. On the other hand, increased consumption of animal protein might result in significant increase of amino acids especially among patients additionally having the MTHFR gene mutation that consequently leads to an increase in PCOS symptoms. So avoiding red meat is highly advisable.
5. Cruciferous Vegetables: Almost all cruciferous vegetables contain goitrogens which basically suppress normal function of the thyroid glands causing hypothyroidism, which may lead to PCOS. So, if they must be consumed, please ensure to cook vegetables like raw kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and collard greens etc. Therefore, if you are diagnosed with PCOS, do take care to heed to the advice.
6. Fattening Cooking Oils: Bad cooking oil wreaks havoc on hormonal harmony. If you have PCOS, it’s best to avoid fattening cooking oils. The body needs a steady supply of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids (neither of which the body can produce on its own) but unfortunately, most of the cooking oils readily available in the market have sizeable content of omega-6 but with a severe shortage of omega-3. A disproportionate amount of omega-6 in our system leads to inflammation which can worsen PCOS condition.
7. Gluten: As a patient of PCOS, gluten is a strict no-no as it can cause inflammation. Gluten tends to affect our digestive system and you would feel bloated most of the time, so avoid gluten at all cost.
8. Soy: Soy is known to adversely affect thyroid function and ovulation. It is found to contain compounds that can interfere with the normal functioning of the hormone estrogen and worsen PCOS condition. It is unwise for women who plan to substitute milk and miscellaneous dairy products with soy. This is due to the fact that soy contains phyto or ‘plant estrogen’ that confuses endocrine system and lowers the production of estrogen and luteinizing hormone thereby adversely affecting and consequently shutting down ovulation. So soy should be avoided by patients with PCOS.
Well ladies, we tried to present as comprehensive list of food items that you should totally avoid if you have PCOS or even if you do not want to keep away from it in the future. With this we wrap it up for the day with one parting word of encouragement to all those brave women out there, dealing with PCOS,
‘Keep up the fight,
You are our Light
& our heart’s Delight,
May your dreams take Flight
That gives the rest the Might
To Fight, Fight and Fight! ‘
Share your thoughts in the comments section below. Till next time, take care!!!