What is the Best Diet for PCOS?
“PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) is an endocrine disorder that affects over 7 million women. That’s more than the number of people diagnosed with breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus combined.” – Louise Chang, MD
September marks PCOS Awareness Month and presents an opportunity to raise worldwide public awareness of polycystic ovarian syndrome, a health condition that can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle, fertility, hormones, heart, blood vessels, and appearance specifically with obesity and issues with weight gain. If you have PCOS and struggle with weight issues, here are some great PCOS diet and healthy lifestyle strategies.
Tip #1: Control Your Blood Sugar
Many researchers believe that insulin (a hormone that controls your blood sugar, but also signals your body to store fat) is also linked to PCOS and is an underlying cause of weight gain. It is common for women who have PCOS to have increased levels of insulin which appears to also increase the production of androgen. With insulin resistance, your blood sugar levels rise in spite of high levels of insulin, and eventually, Type 2 Diabetes may result. Positive changes in diet and exercise (including the ideas listed below) can postpone the development of diabetes and reduce the amount of sugary carbs that can result in weight-loss.
- Cut out white breads, pasta, potatoes, cereals, certain fruits, and snack foods.
- Incorporate the following foods into your diet: nutrient dense, high-fiber carbs; foods high in protein such as lean meats and legumes; and foods containing healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts, and fish.
- Instead of eating three large meals each day, try several mini-meals throughout the day to keep you blood sugar levels even.
Tip #2: Do Not Deprive Yourself
A healthy diet should never mean starvation, and instead should involve a healthy, nutritious lifestyle. There are so many ways you can incorporate delicious, healthy foods into your diet such as lentils, vegetables, lean meats, fruits, and so much more! Check with your local health food store about tips on eating right or try some of the freshly made meals that you can take home without having to prepare yourself. If you do like to cook, check out a cooking class that focuses on preparing healthy, nutritious meals.
Tip #3: Exercise Regularly
Living a healthy lifestyle must involve some form of regular exercise, and in order to burn serious calories, you should exercise every day! Exercise if a perfect accompaniment to a PCOS diet, especially for women with PCOS and insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. Here are just a few ways exercise can help.
- Regulate blood glucose levels
- Increases endorphins (the body’s natural opioids)
- Maintains a positive outlook
- Keeps the body trim and in good shape (especially for pregnancy!)
Tip #4: Eat to Live. Don’t Live to Eat.
Some women use food as a reward for an accomplishment or go to emotional eating when they feel lonely or sad. With a successful PCOS diet, you must evaluate your relationship with food and eat to live rather than live to eat. Replace healthy snacks with junk food, and get help if you have an unhealthy relationship with food such as binge eating, purging, or starving yourself.
Tip #5: Ask Your Doctor about Metformin
Metformin is a drug that was developed for type 2 diabetes and is often prescribed for obesity and PCOS. It can offer the following benefits for women struggling with weight issues causes by PCOS:
- Assist with weight loss
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve cholesterol
- Decrease levels of androgens
- Keep periods regular
- Improve sensitivity to fertility drugs
Are you struggling with PCOS and trying to conceive? The fertility specialists at CRM Florida can help. Call us today at (888) 343-6331 to schedule a consultation at our Orlando, Lake Mary, or Celebration fertility centers.