PCOS Diet - What to eat to deal with PCOS

PCOS Diet – What to eat to deal with PCOS

PCOS, also known as PCOS, affects PCOS up to 12% (up to 5 million) American women of childbearing age. She has even influenced celebrities like Kiki PalmerAnd the Lea Micheleand HGTV Christina AnsteadHowever, the hormone-related disorder has not been extensively studied and is not diagnosed. This often leaves some confusion for women with this disorder. The first course of action that many medical professionals recommend is making lifestyle changes, especially following a PCOS diet that can help manage symptoms. Here, we talk with experts about how diet affects PCOS, PCOS diet foods you can incorporate into your meals, and some of the foods that may trigger PCOS symptoms more often.

What is PCOS?

Explains that PCOS is an endocrine disorder that affects hormonal production, reception and transport Hannah Alderson, BANT, registered dietitian and founder of The Positive Method. It’s often diagnosed by experiencing at least two irregular ovulations (leading to irregular or absent periods), hyperandrogenism (high levels of androgen), or polycystic ovaries, she says. Symptoms of PCOS It varies from person to person but can include:

  • irregular menstruation
  • ovarian cysts
  • young love
  • Hair growth (especially on the chest, chin, upper lip, and places where women would not normally expect to have hair)
  • Hair loss from the scalp
  • Infertility or other pregnancy complications
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • High cholesterol and triglycerides
  • high blood pressure
  • Sleep Apnea
  • anxiety or depression
  • skin tags
  • Fatigue and brain fog
  • Skin diseases such as eczema or psoriasis
  • dark patches of skin
  • Symptoms of insulin resistance and prediabetes or type 2 diabetes

How does diet affect PCOS?

It can be confusing why diet affects a hormonal disorder, but the main problem with PCOS is that there is a tendency to be glucose sensitive and develop insulin resistance, he explains. Thomas Ruiz, MDleads an obstetrician-gynecologist at Memorial Care Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley.

Insulin is the hormone that processes glucose (a type of sugar) and turns it into energy for the body to use, he explains Rebecca Blake, MS, RD, CDN, Senior Director of Preventive Health at Carrot Fertility. When the body needs more insulin than is considered normal to process glucose and convert it into a usable form, this is called insulin resistance, she says. Dr. Ruiz says this leads to higher levels of insulin in the body which can lead to health conditions including prediabetes and diabetes in your 40s and beyond.

“The risks of PCOS don’t go away once you are past your childbearing years. All the risks we see with PCOS like diabetes, heart disease and uterine cancer we tend to see in our 40s,” Melissa Groves Azzaro, RDN, LDDietitian in integrative and functional medicine specializing in women’s health and hormones.

Because of this insulin resistance, symptom management and Weight loss with PCOS It can be very difficult. Dr. Ruiz explains that a healthy diet can control the amount of glucose circulating in the blood and avoid high blood sugar.

Additionally, it’s essential to target the root cause when planning a diet with PCOS because although the majority of women are affected by insulin resistance, many also have symptoms due to gut dysfunction, inflammation, and other imbalances, Azzaro says.

Foods to eat if you have PCOS

So, if insulin is related to sugar, it’s better to cut out the sugar, right? Well, not exactly. Most experts agree that a diet similar to Mediterranean diet Ideal for the long term. Eating food Anti-inflammatory foods It can be beneficial, and focusing on balancing your plate with lean proteins (like fish and legumes), healthy fats (like salmon and walnuts), fiber fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help regulate blood sugar and manage PCOS. Says.

in addition to, Research Diet changes that include fruits and vegetables have been linked to a lower glycemic index, low-fat dairy products, seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids, lean red meat and poultry, legumes, whole grains, and moderate alcohol intake, improving symptoms. Polycystic ovary syndrome and laboratory findings. It’s best to work with a dietitian or your medical provider to determine which foods are best for you, but these expert-approved foods are known to support healthy hormones and control PCOS symptoms.

all grains

Dr. Ruiz says that foods like farro, bulgur, brown rice and whole-wheat bread contain a lot of fiber, which causes your blood sugar to drop. It’s also important to avoid “naked carbs,” which means that even whole wheat grains can spike your blood sugar if not paired properly, Caroline Brown, MS, RD, an integrative nutritionist and co-founder of the Indigo Wellness Group. She always suggests pairing carbs with good fats and protein to slow the rise in sugar and increase satiety in the long run.

sweet potato

Although the occasional white potato is acceptable, sweet potatoes are higher in fiber and have a lower glycemic index, says Dr. Ruiz.

lean proteins

There is certainly room in the diet for chicken, fish, and red meat periodically, says Dr. Ruiz. Azzaro agrees, encouraging those with PCOS to increase their protein intake and make sure it’s evenly distributed throughout the day. Brown also loves vegan options like beans and lentils that contain insulin-friendly inositol.

Full fat dairy

Foods like yogurt, cheese and kefir contain hormones that most people with PCOS find balanced Phyllis Ramalo, MSCN, RD, LDchief nutritionist at larra. She suggests two to three servings per day or a dairy alternative if not well tolerated.


Brown suggests that vegetables like dark leafy greens, broccoli, and cauliflower are great sources of fiber that can help maintain gut health and improve bathroom visits. Ramalu adds that the goal is to eat three to four servings of vegetables a day.

“Colorful vegetables that are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients, in particular, are great phytoestrogens. Alderson agrees that variety is key with a major focus on whole foods.


Dr. Ruiz says fruits that are low in sugar, such as berries, are especially great to include in a PCOS-friendly diet.

“Vegetables and fruits are excellent sources of fiber and nutrients that are essential for our bodies regardless of PCOS and should be included freely,” says Blake. When eating fruit that is high in sugar, it may be helpful to balance this fruit with a source of protein and/or fat so that fruit has a milder effect on your blood sugar. Consider adding some unsweetened yogurt to your fruit or balancing an apple With a handful of almonds.”

healthy fats

Blake says the mono and polyunsaturated fats from nuts, nut butters, avocados, seeds, extra-virgin olive oil and avocado oil can be helpful in PCOS. Brown likes to add two tablespoons of seeds like hemp, chia or flax to her meals each day for an extra boost.

“Fat is your PCOS friend because it doesn’t raise blood sugar,” Azzaro says. “It slows digestion, slows down the transition of foods from the stomach to the small intestine, and it also tastes good.” In addition, seafood such as salmon and mackerel that contain lean proteins and healthy fats are great additions to your diet. Brown suggests aiming to incorporate these foods three times a week.


Although research is limited, some experts recommend trying supplements that support blood sugar such as berberineinositol, vitamin D, and omega-3s, Brown suggests.

Foods to limit if you have PCOS

With PCOS, it’s important to keep your blood sugar steady throughout the day, eat regularly, and choose foods that promote stability and balance. Ramalu encourages avoiding low-carb fasting, keto, intermittent fasting, and other trendy diets, and choosing small, frequent meals throughout the day. When you do eat, our experts suggest limiting these foods:

simple carbohydrates

Dr. Ruiz says foods that are high in uncomplicated carbohydrates, such as white bread and refined grains, tend to raise blood sugar. Additionally, for some people with PCOS, foods containing gluten (even the whole grain type) can be inflammatory and exacerbate symptoms. If you find that you’re feeling better by avoiding gluten because of celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or a poor thyroid, Brown encourages you to choose whole-grain, gluten-free options.

sugary foods

Dr. Ruiz says any raw sugars can also cause blood sugar to spike and insulin to rise in the blood. Blake adds that this includes both foods such as cakes, sweets and biscuits, as well as sugary drinks such as juice and soda.


Not only does alcohol cause inflammation in the body, it can disrupt sleep, affect food choices, and cause distress in the gut.

Processed foods

Azzaro says highly processed fried foods that use poor quality oils and many packaged snacks can be inflammatory.

“Reducing ultra-processed foods is very important because this type of food will trigger inflammation in the body, which exacerbates PCOS symptoms,” Alderson says.

Other lifestyle changes to manage PCOS

Weight loss is often the first line of defense when it comes to managing PCOS, but Ramalu reminds us that a healthy weight is one that’s easy to maintain and stable after three to six months of healthy changes, not what the scale or BMI might say.

Although a healthy diet can be of great help in lowering insulin levels, managing PCOS, and controlling hormone fluctuations, Dr. Ruiz adds for PCOS sufferers that ultimately medication is the best option. If not treated by a medical professional, PCOS can put patients at an increased risk of developing endometrial cancer, something that diet alone cannot prevent.

Dr. Ruiz says that your doctor often prescribes birth control pills or an IUD with only combination hormones or a progestin. Other medications may be prescribed to help block certain hormones. Plus, if a patient chooses they want to get pregnant, there are medications a doctor can prescribe to help with ovulation and boost fertility, he notes.

Blake says patients with PCOS should add exercise to their regular routine. She suggests relaxing yourself in your daily movement by taking a brisk five to 10 minute walk after meals to improve your body’s glucose processing. Ramalu encourages working out up to 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week. It’s also important not to get too much exercise, Brown notes, which can add extra stress to the body.

in addition to, Research It has been found that PCOS is linked to mental health and stress. Brown encourages regular meditation, yoga, journaling and walking. If you are experiencing weight loss after being diagnosed with PCOS, it is essential to work with a medical professional to manage symptoms sensitive to your experience and to consider seeking mental health support.

Finally, Ramalu says getting a full seven to nine hours of sleep each night and maintaining a stable sleep schedule is critical to managing PCOS symptoms.

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