Characterized by hormonal imbalances, PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome now afflicts every 1 in 10 women of child-bearing age. The condition does not only involve imbalance of reproductive hormones such as testosterone and estrogen but also other hormones that regulate fat storage, blood sugar and appetite. This hormonal imbalance induces a number of symptoms like irregular periods. Painful periods, weight gain, difficulty in weight loss, increased appetite and more.
PCOS is actually a pre-diabetic condition as most of those inflicted by this condition are resistant to insulin. PCOS also gives rise to obesity and infertility. While PCOS causes weight gain and hormonal imbalances, vice-versa is also true. Either way, the whole cycle is vicious. But you can interrupt it and get going with a virtuous cycle instead.
According to Dr Marilyn Glenville, PhD, author of best selling book Natural Solutions to PCOS, diet and lifestyle makeover can manage not only the associated weightloss and maintenance, but also to regulate insulin levels. A PCOS diet can increase the chances of living a symptom-free life and can also help in maintaining the hormonal balance that a delicate female body requires. So, here are the 7 ways to get going on the virtuous path and alleviate your symptoms.
1. Say No To Refined Carbohydrates, Switch To Unrefined Ones:
This is the most crucial dietary change that PCOS sufferers require to make. But this does not mean that carbohydrates are to be completely avoided. In fact carbohydrates are know as ‘Brain food’ because of the simple fact that 25% of all energy circulating inside body is consumed by brain. The regular supply required by brain can be catered by eating once in every three waking hours. This will not only increase your metabolism but also keep the sugar-levels in body balanced. Some examples of unrefined carbs include brown rice, barley, wholemeal flour, millet, buckwheat and maze.
2. Eat Omega 3 Rich Foods, Especially Fatty Fish:
Did someone just advised you tasteless, low fat diet? Forget about it!! Yes right. If you want to beat your PCOS, its really important to hookup on essential fats you can get from fatty fish and nuts. Although Omega 3 fatty acids can also be derived from vegetarian sources such as Flaxseeds, green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes but Omega 3 derived from fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout and fresh tuna contain DHA and EPA which have anti-inflammatory properties and are also very important for healthy heart, immune function. Having a Omega 3 rich diet will increase your body’s response to insulin and will help in overcoming insulin resistance.
3. Reduce Intake Of Dairy Products For 3 Months:
Dairy may wreck havoc on insulin and testosterone levels of body and should be avoided by PCOS sufferers. Milk, butter, cheese and other dairy products contain IGF-1 or insulin-like growth factor amongst insulin, leptin, various forms of estrogen and progesterone. IGF-1 in particular poses maxium threat by stimulating storage of glucose in cells.
4. Hook On Vegetables And Pulses:
Vegetables and pulses intake elevate protein SHBG in body which in turn control the male hormone levels. Green leafy vegetables are a must have for PCOS sufferers. Broccoli is also considered to be quite beneficial for those ailing with PCOS as it is a low GI food and is extremely low in calories. You may also eat celery, lettuce, mint, coriander, cabbage and cauliflower greens. Amongst pulses try lentils and chickpeas.
5. Avoid Alcohol For 12 Weeks:
Alcohol intake should be strictly avoided by those suffering from PCOD as it stimulates appetite, interfere with liver function and suppress thyroid function. Due to inability of liver to metabolize blood sugar and eliminate hormones, estrogen levels in blood increase and cause further hormonal imbalance. Alcohol also dehydrates body and increases stress hormones. Alcohol may also damage intestine lining causing poor absorption of nutrients and digestion imbalance. Moreover, if you take mocktails, they already have high sugar level which is a strict NO for PCOS.
6. Avoid Caffeine:
Intake of caffeine may exacerbate polycystic ovary syndrome. Caffeine is known to increase body’s estrogen levels. PCOS patients often struggle with infertility, which can be worsened by high caffeine intake. Caffeine is also known to stimulate the adrenals causing adrenal fatigue. Coffee or ant other drink with caffeine acts as a stimulant and increase production of stress hormones which in turn leads to fluctuation in body’s blood-sugar levels.
7. Eliminate Trans-fat And Cut Down Saturated Fats:
Intake of saturated fats should be at a modest level for those ailing with PCOS. Saturated fats are generally found in dairy and meat products. High intake of these fats reduced capacity of body to absorb the good fats that is Omega 3 fats and causes inflammation in body. Saturated fats also raise glycohemoglobin ( HbA1c) which is an indicator of irreversible cell damage. Similarly trans fat do not account for any nutritional benefit and cause weight gain. Therefore it is advisable to completely eliminate trans fat from diet and stick to a low-calorie diet paving way for better absorption of essential fatty acids and to overcome insulin resistance.