PCOS Diet & Lifestyle Modifications

on Monday, 04 March 2013. Posted in Disease and Diet, Pregnancy health, Women's Health Written By: Raminder Deshmukh

Manage PCOS with dietary and lifestyle changes; increase fertility

PCOS Diet & Lifestyle Modifications

Poly-Cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common reproductive hormone disease among women. Women suffering from this syndrome usually struggle with obesity and failure to lose weight, excessive hair growth and acne, infertility and irregular periods.

 Foods; a helping hand in dealing with PCOS

It is unlikely that a poor unbalanced diet causes PCOS but certainly it will increase chances of developing this condition if you are already predisposed to this disease. Usually weight gain, diabetes due to insulin resistance and heart diseases are linked to PCOS.  So eating the right kind of food is certainly going to help; not only in shedding weight, but also to help restore ovulation, thereby improving chances of conception.

The aim of a diet plan in PCOS is to lower insulin thereby, decreasing the risk of diabetes and also increasing sensitivity to insulin which will further help in weight loss and thereby decrease any risk of heart disease.

What to eat?

I always tell my patients to opt for whole grains and pulses instead of processed and refined foods like porridge, oats and sprouts. They not only have more vitamins and minerals, but the fiber present in them also gives satiety, keeps the gut healthy, improves insulin resistance, lowers cholesterol and overall helps in weight loss. Replacing white bread with brown bread helps decreasing the insulin levels. White rice maybe replaced with brown bread as it has GI.

Take plenty of salads, fruits, and homemade soups for satiety so that you don’t eat unhealthy. Instead of sweets, opt for fruits and yoghurts. Avoid candy and deserts. Refined sugars elevate levels of insulin. Avoid all drinks with added sugar for example-soft and sports drinks.

Fried foods must be replaced by steamed or sautéed foods to shed off those extra piles and also to tackle the problem of acne.

It is best to have small, frequent meals. Dieting is not about starving but it is about eating right at the right time. Mini meals throughout the day will help keep blood sugar levels in control.

Combine carbohydrates with proteins and healthy fats like olive and rice bran oil and eat small portions of it throughout the day instead of one meal. Eating protein rich foods such as fish/tofu /pulses together with carbohydrate rich foods like whole wheat breads and porridge, minimizes rise in insulin.

When it comes to dairy products choose low fat ones and better still have fish or chicken, instead of mutton. Limit intake of butter, ghee, and processed cheese, tinned and bottled foods.

Lifestyle Modifications

Not only diet but your physical activity would also help tackle this problem. Instead of spending most of our times on TV /laptops/computers it is good to explore some nature outside. A 45 minute walk or aerobics; a yoga class or any dance activity would not only help us lose weight but also release hormones which elevate our mood. Keeping indoors not only pushes towards depression but also deprives us of our daily vitamin D dose, which is required for our well-being.

Not only less of physical activity but stress , unusual sleeping and eating patterns, smoking and drinking  are all linked to decreased insulin resistance.

So get up and get moving. Make time for your health and manage PCOS successfully, with lot of small yet, positive changes in your lifestyle and eating habits in general.

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About the Author

Dietician; Ms.Raminder Deshmukh

Dietician; Ms.Raminder Deshmukh

Ms. Raminder Deshmukh is a Nutrition Consultant with an extensive experience of over 20 years in this field.She holds a Post-graduate Diploma in Dietics and Public Health Nutrition, from Delhi University.