PCOS Diet & Habits – Introduction
Some PCOS fighter has truly quoted- “PCOS is hard to explain to someone who has no clue. It’s a daily struggle, being in pain, or feeling sick on the inside while you look fine on the outside.”
PCOS, Poly-cystic Ovarian Disease, a disease in which women go through hormonal imbalance causing various internal and external problems in women. In one of our previous articles, we talked about the symptoms, causes, treatments of PCOD/PCOS in detail. Click on the link if you have not read it yet.
What is PCOS?
Because in this post I will mention some diet habits, every woman needs to include in her routine to control the PCOS if they are suffering from it. One year back I was struggling to understand the sudden changes I could feel in my body internally and externally.
In starting I did not give much attention to it, but slowly when I started to see an increase in some of the symptoms, I got tensed. I could see that my face looked worst than ever with a lot of acne and darkness and uneven skin tone.
I never had acne in my life before. There was an increase in facial hair, and of course, I was not able to control my increasing weight and food cravings. My whole internal system got disturbed. This irritated me a lot.
Still, I could not understand what’s wrong, until one day I decided to visit a dermatologist for skin issues. She asked me to get my hormonal tests done, and I was diagnosed with this frustrating syndrome. That was the day itself when I decided to start fighting for it and start fighting for my own body. I started my treatments and medications to cure it before it got worse. I was the lucky one because within a few months I was able to get back to normal (PCOS free). All it took was the dedication and a healthy lifestyle.
As my friend Muskan has already talked about PCOS in one of the previous articles, I am going to take up the dietary part today, which helped me to control PCOS.
PCOS Diet habits every woman should follow
All women, who are suffering from PCOS need to adopt a healthy lifestyle and healthy eating habits. Many of them are covered here about dietary things.
1.Avoid sugar and refined flour.
PCOS is a disease of insulin resistance. The carbs in the refined flour increase the insulin levels which are already elevated in women with PCOD. Refined flour is one of the most toxic foods available. Women who are having hormonal imbalance should not consume it at all.
Most of the women who suffer from PCOS crave sugar and sweet things, especially after meals. It is quite a task for them to avoid sweet and sugary food. If you consume less sugar, It will lower the blood glucose level and hence will reduce the male hormonal levels. Decreasing or limiting sugar consumption can control insulin levels in the body.
2.Eat green leafy vegetables and colourful fruits
Green leafy vegetables are very high in nutrient value and very low in calories. Women with PCOS generally lack vitamin B in their bodies. This insufficiency is fulfilled by consuming green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, lettuce, broccoli. These greens also help in weight loss, which is another issue faced by women with PCOS.
Fruits that help control PCOS are all types of berries, apples, papaya, oranges, peaches, pears, etc. Fruits that are rich in antioxidants.
3. Include nuts and seeds in your diet
Seeds should be a staple in the diet for women suffering from PCOS. These are very low in carbs and they do not spike the insulin levels. Seeds that are good for PCOS are Flaxseeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds. They can be eaten directly or mixed in food, it’s up to you. You can also have walnuts, almonds. All of these seeds have their benefits and they also work as antioxidants. The nutrition provided by them includes everything your body needs, like calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, protein, omega-3, fiber, and many more.
4. Eat small frequent meals
Women suffering from PCOS might also suffer from water retention in the body. To avoid this, they should eat frequent small meals. This type of eating habit is good for everybody who wants to lose weight. Instead of fasting, it is much better and beneficial to eat small meals after every two or three hours. This will decrease water retention and will also control hunger and food cravings.
5. Eat lean grass-fed meat
The lean grass-fed meat is always the best option, rather than alternatives higher in fat. Though organic meat is higher in price, the benefits you get are worth it. Normal meat generally contains a higher level of induced hormones given to livestock and it disturbs the hormones in people eating them. For women, PCOS is all about hormonal imbalance, therefore, they should avoid non-organic meat.
6. You can choose a diabetic diet
PCOS is a problem with insulin resistance, making a diabetic diet an ideal diet for PCOS/PCOD patients. This type of diet is high in fiber and low in carbs and processed foods, trans fats. In a diabetic and PCOS diet, white food should be avoided, like sugar, wheat flour, refined flour, white rice, white pasta. The other mentioned habits like eating lean organic meat, colorful fruits, small frequent meals, etc are also beneficial for diabetic patients.
7. Avoid eating saturated and hydrogenated fats.
Women suffering from PCOS have a higher level of Triglycerides, which are also available in saturated fats found in many foods. Especially in animal and dairy-based products. Baked food is filled with such fats and it is a really bad option to eat. Avoid eating fried food, sausages, hot dogs, luncheon meats. Cut off carbonated drinks from your diet. Food high in triglycerides also affects heart health and hence is bad in many ways. You can consume skimmed and toned milk, soy milk, tofu, and paneer as healthy fats.
8. Include whole grains, pulses, and legumes in your diet
Whole grains like whole wheat, quinoa, brown rice, barley, etc are rich in fibre and protein. And these nutrients are the key to a healthy diet. This type of food makes you feel full and therefore you eat less. Also, pulses and legumes like chickpeas, kidney beans, soybeans, and other lentils are full of nutrition that you require to stay healthy.
9. Include herbs in your diet
Some herbs are really helpful to keep PCOS in control. These herbs are cinnamon, turmeric, ashwagandha, holy basil. These herbs are known to have anti-inflammatory properties and help in lowering cortisol levels. They help in metabolizing sugar and balancing hormones. Herbs are believed to give a natural cure for PCOS if consumed properly.
Sample of Indian diet to control PCOS
- Start your day with a glass of warm water. You can mix lemon juice, honey, and cinnamon to it. Or you can also add gooseberry juice instead of lemon juice.
- After maybe half an hour or so, you should eat overnight soaked almonds and walnuts. You can take it with or without a cup of skimmed or toned milk.
- After 20 minutes go for a walk or do any exercises or physical activity of your choice. You need to sweat out. Do it for at least 40 minutes. You can also do Yoga for hormone imbalance.
- After 1 hour of finishing your physical activity, you can have a small meal that should consist of either eggs or sprouts with vegetables like green leafy vegetables. You can also eat fruits and seeds at this time. Vegetable juice is also an option.
- Now for lunch, you can have regular homemade food like chapatti made from your choice of flour, curd, salad, and a cooked vegetable. If not chapati, you can eat brown rice with beans and curd.
- For evening time snack you can have green tea with some healthy snack like a simple bhel, bhuna chana, or around 10 to 15 peanuts.
- For dinner, make sure it is the lightest meal of the day. You can just have a plate full of fruits and salads. Avoid citrus fruits at night. You can also have a mini bowl of cooked dal if you crave cooked food.
So to all the women, Shout out to all of us fighting the battle most people don’t understand. You can win this battle just by bringing a few changes in your lifestyle and eating habits along with an effective medical treatment. The above eating habits I have mentioned will speed up the process of becoming PCOS-free… END PCOS