Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a female endocrine disorder that can cause reproductive, hormonal, and metabolic problems. The actual cause of PCOS is unknown, but environmental factors, including dietary habits, play a role in controlling the condition.
Having PCOS increases your chances of developing certain health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and metabolic syndrome. Diet to help reduce the risk of these complications is important for people with PCOS.
Below is a breakdown of the nutritional basics you should keep in mind when using PCOS.
The importance of balance
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans states that nutritional needs should primarily come from nutrient-dense foods and beverages that provide vitamins, minerals, and other health-promoting ingredients. Choices should have no or very little added sugar, saturated fat, and sodium.
A healthy eating pattern includes foods and beverages from all food groups, in recommended amounts, and within calorie restrictions.
While these recommendations apply to everyone, people with PCOS should take extra care to align their dietary patterns with these recommendations to maintain or improve markers of metabolic health, such as blood sugar levels and cholesterol ratios.
The main components of a healthy eating pattern are protein, carbohydrates, fat and water.
Protein is responsible for the growth and maintenance of all body cells and structures, such as bones, muscles, blood cells, skin and hair. They are also a major component of enzymes that help facilitate many chemical reactions in the body, including digestion.
A healthy diet should include 2 to 3 servings of lean protein per day. Try grilled or grilled chicken, fish or beans.
Some grains are also high in protein. For example, combine quinoa with roasted vegetables to make a very satisfying lunch or side dish that provides an ample supply of protein.
It is also important for women to get enough calcium in their diet. Low-fat dairy products are an excellent source of calcium and protein. Try low-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, and milk.
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. Fruits and vegetables are carbohydrate-rich foods and key to providing many vitamins and minerals that are vital to health.
Women ages 19 to 30 should eat 2 cups of fruit and at least 2 1/2 cups of vegetables per day.
Among the different types of vegetables, current dietary guidelines recommend:
- 3 cups dark green vegetables
- 2 cups orange/red vegetables
- 3 cups dried beans and peas
- 3 cups of starchy vegetables per week
There are many easy ways to incorporate more vegetables into your diet. For example, eat a salad with each meal, toss mixed vegetables into an omelet, or munch on sliced vegetables or fruit for an afternoon snack.
Minimize your daily sugar intake
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that sugar be less than 10% of total daily dietary calorie intake, but some experts recommend even lower daily limits. For example, the American Heart Association insists that dietary sugar intake should not exceed 6 percent of daily calories.
Fats or lipids are an important part of the diet. They are found in butter and oils, dairy products, meats, nuts, avocados, and many processed foods.
In the right amount and type, fat will provide most of the energy you need to get through the day. Fats also provide nutrients that support and buffer your internal organs, protecting them from damage.
Current guidelines recommend avoiding hydrogenated and trans fats. Other fats should be reduced as much as possible. Generally speaking, fat should be controlled below 30% of daily caloric intake, and saturated fat should be controlled below 10%.
Try roasting vegetables or chicken instead of frying to cut down on fat.
Choose simple salad dressings, such as olive oil with vinegar, lemon, or stone-ground mustard, rather than store-bought salad dressings, which often use unhealthy oils and added sugar
There are plenty of marinades and spices that you can use to flavor your food without adding fat.
In addition to regulating body temperature, water is present in every cell in the body. Water is an essential part of many chemical reactions and aids in the digestion and excretion of waste.
Because of this, it must be taken regularly to maintain vital bodily functions.
Drinking plain water is the best option. In addition to liquids such as milk, coffee, and tea, most fruits and vegetables also contain water.
While many beverages do provide some water, they can also add calories and sugar. If you drink a lot of soda, try mixing a bit of 100% fruit juice with some soda to help cut calories and sugar while staying hydrated.
Why your body needs water
A healthy diet doesn’t have to be strict or difficult to maintain. It’s easier to stick to the new routine if you make small changes and commit to them.
As each change becomes more routine and you no longer have to think about it, try implementing another change.
Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself. Frustration happens. If it does, admit it, move on, and try to remember to make a better choice next time.
The Best Diet for Managing PCOS Symptoms