Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is typically distinguished by irregular periods or even no periods at all. Women with PCOS typically have multiple cysts in their ovaries, caused by an overproduction of hormones called androgens.
Around 80 percent of women suffering from PCOS are overweight or obese. Common symptoms include acne, hirsutism (hairiness), and male pattern baldness.
For most women PCOS is diagnosed either due to scanty periods or when they are unable to get pregnant.
Read More : PCOS Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Women with PCOS are also at great risk for:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Endometrial cancer
But there is a good news too – PCOS can be naturally reversed with diet and lifestyle changes!
The first step to controlling or reversing PCOS is changing diet and lifestyle. In other words losing weight and lowering your blood sugar levels needs to be your priority.
Does my diet affect PCOS?
The simple answer is – YES. In fact most of the times the diet is the main culprit.
Insulin is an essential hormone that controls your blood sugar.
Pancreas secrete insulin and help move sugar from your blood into the cells for storage. However when cells are insulin resistant, they can’t use this insulin effectively.
This causes blood sugar high in your body.
When your pancreas sense that the blood sugar is still high and not normal, it makes more insulin to overcome the resistance and bring your blood sugar back to normal. This cycle – repeatedly – over time, can deplete the pancreas of insulin-producing cells.
Insulin sensitivity refers to how responsive your cells are to insulin. Improving it can help you reduce insulin resistance and the risk of many diseases, including diabetes, PCOS, heart disease and more.
A study has found that excess insulin appears to be an important factor in maintaining hyperandrogenemia by acting directly to induce excess androgen (testosterone) production. (9)
In other words, excess insulin production in the body causes the ovaries to produce the high levels of male androgen hormone – testosterone.
Steps to reverse PCOS naturally:
- Switch to the Low Carb High Fat Diet
- Exercise regularly
Read ahead to find out how.
Foods to add to the PCOS diet
Consumption of starchy and sugary foods cause excess insulin to be released by our body. White flour and even fruits with a high glycemic index can cause an insulin excess for most people. Foods made of such ingredients can cause insulin resistance and lead to increased weight over time.
Lowering insulin levels and eventually achieving weight loss is one of the keys to reversing PCOS.
Many nutritionists will advocate the need for cutting back on calories & reducing portion sizes. Unfortunately, they will also advocate cutting back on fats too.
A conventional weight loss diet that encourages cutting back on fats will NOT WORK for PCOS.
Foods to add to your diet
- High-fiber foods.
- A moderate serving of protein.
- Anti-inflammatory foods and spices.
- Natural good fats.
High-fiber foods can help combat insulin resistance by slowing down digestion and reducing the impact of sugar on the blood. Some great options for high-fiber foods include:
- Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts
- Leafy greens, including red leaf lettuce and arugula
- Green and red peppers
- Beans, peas and lentils
- Winter squash
- Sweet potatoes
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
Protein sources like chicken, lamb and fish are healthy dietary option for women with PCOS.
Foods that help reduce inflammation will also be beneficial. They include:
- Sage, holy basil
- Fatty fish with Omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and sardines
Good fats that will help regulate your blood sugar and hormones are:
- Grass fed butter
- Extra-virgin cold pressed olive oil (don’t cook with it, eat raw)
- Coconut oil/ Coconut milk
- Nuts like walnut.
- Fish / Cod liver oil with healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.
In other words, switch to an anti-inflammatory low carb – high fat diet.
The low carb-high fat diet focuses on low carbohydrate, moderate protein & high fat combination. Get your daily quota of carbs by eating lots of vegetables and fruits with low glycemic index.
Cook vegetables and meats in natural healthy fats. Cooking with these heart-healthy fats helps with satiety and keeps appetite in check too.
Also ditch all processed vegetable oils.
Foods to avoid on the PCOS diet
- Foods high in refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, semolina (suji) and muffins.
- Sugary snacks and drinks. Fruits drinks, home made or store bought.
- Inflammatory foods – any processed foods & meats.
Sugar is an empty carbohydrate and should be avoided at all costs. When reading food labels, be sure to look for sugar’s various names. Sugar can be labelled as sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, and dextrose. Sugar is also present in large quantities in drinks, such as sodas and juices.
It’s also a good idea to abstain from other inflammation-causing foods, such as french fries, margarine, and processed meats as well.
Read More : PCOS Symptoms, Causes and Treatment