PCOs( Polycystic Ovary syndrome) is a condition that affects millions of women all over the world. It often happens when there’s increased androgens being produced by a female.
The risk increases with obesity and a history of PCOs in the family.
This brings in symptoms like;
- Increased and unexplained weight gain.
- Infertility ( unable to conceive or carry pregnancy to term)
- Unusual hair growth (hirsutism )or hair loss.
However, sometimes there may not be any symptoms at all and most women would get this diagnosis when they’ve tried to get pregnant with fail, or when they gain too much weight too suddenly.
” PCOs is an unrecognised cardiovascular risk”
The causes of PCOs may be unknown but it is related to high levels of abdominal hormones and elevated insulin.
The biggest challenge for women with PCOs is maintaining a healthy diet
A healthy diet has several benefits such as;
- Alleviating the symptoms .
- Weight management.
- Improving quality of life in general.
In this article, we learn foods to avoid, foods to eat, and tips of meal planning when you haved
Diet | PCOs | Insulin resistance
Is there a need to worry about diabetes when you get diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary syndrome? Yes, because of insulin resistance that has a close link with PCOs.
Insulin resistance leads to higher levels of insulin which then causes hormonal imbalance.
While not every person with insulin resistance gets diabetes, it is still a risk factor. Physical exercises, getting enough sleep, a nutritious diet that focuses on foods with a low glycemic index and medication can help increase insulin sensitivity.
Weight gain and PCOS
Most women with PCOs struggle with weight gain. When obesity comes in, it also brings forth many other cardiovascular diseases.
Obesity is recognised as a disease on its own, meaning strategies have to be put in place soon enough to get back to a healthy weight.
The PCOs diet will help a great deal with weight management and decrease the risk of other health conditions.
Why is Diet important?
Treatment involves the use of medications, and hormonal birth control measures to regulate menses.
However, most important is lifestyle changes including a nutritious diet to maintain a normal weight.
Tips for a Nutritious diet.
- Should be nutrient dense.
- Low in calories.
- Portion controlled.
Fertility and PCOs
Foods containing lots of antioxidants like in most green vegetables and legumes can help with reducing inflammation and decrease insulin resistance. Studies show that this helps improve fertility.
Remember to consult a professional for an individualized care plan that will take into account, your hormone levels, preferences, lifestyle and other medical conditions.
What foods should you Avoid?
In most cases you want to reduce the intake of foods that cause inflammation;
- Processed meats and meat products like sausages and bacon.
- Foods full of saturated fats like most deep-fried foods.
- Red meats, go with moderation as red meat has been linked with causing inflammation.
- Over-processed cereals.
- Sugary, fatty and salty snacks.
- Sugary and alcoholic beverages.
These foods are among the many that will not only increase inflammation but also cause you additional unnecessary weight gain.
Diet and PCOs: What foods should you eat?
The best foods to go for are foods that will help with the control of insulin, weight management and lower inflammation.
- Plant proteins, nuts, seeds, beans and lentils are a good choice.
- Whole grains have been linked with positive results in weight management and importantly promoting insulin sensitivity.
- Foods rich in omega 3 like fish help with improving fertility, lowering inflammation and reducing insulin resistance. They work by balancing the hormones in the body.
A low carbohydrate diet for PCOs management
This is a diet that reduces the intake of carbohydrates.
Women diagnosed with PCOs could also have insulin resistance. Which may or may not lead to diabetes.
When we take too much carbohydrate, especially those with simple sugars, the body will need to produce too much insulin to get the sugar from your bloodstream to the cells.
If this continues consistently, then we could eventually get insulin resistance.
To improve insulin sensitivity, a Low carbohydrate diet! diet comes in.
To reduce the need for the body to produce too much insulin to work on the glucose.
At the same time, a low carbohydrate diet will help with weight management, as not too much of glucose would get stored.
Take home Tips
- Ensure balance of nutrients.
- Take complex carbohydrates, like whole wheat brown bread.
- Go for lean proteins, they help in weight management.
- Healthy fats from avocado, olive oil can be so much better than the saturated fats.
- Remember to control your portion sizes.