Diet for PCOS Patients – What Fruits and Vegetables to Eat
What is PCOS?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a medical condition that creates a hormonal imbalance in the body and problems with metabolism. Women who suffer from PCOS have prolonged or infrequent menstrual periods along with excess male hormone levels. The ovaries develop cysts and fail to release eggs, thus impacting fertility. Some of the major reasons why women suffer from PCOS are lifestyle-related such as obesity, lack of physical exertion, and unhealthy eating habits. PCOS can lead to some very serious health challenges such as Diabetes, Depression, Cancer, and Cardiovascular diseases. Acne, mood swings, hair thinning, and Hirsutism are some of the symptoms associated with PCOS.
How does nutrition impact PCOS?
Nutrition plays a very critical role in managing weight and insulin resistance among patients suffering from PCOS. Nearly 50% of women suffering from PCOS develop insulin resistance and some develop full-blown Diabetes before the age of 40. Following a balanced diet that encompasses fruits and vegetables, helps to manage the condition and promote insulin levels. Keeping weight in check can improve fertility levels as obesity has a direct impact on the fertility levels of women.
Nutritional guidelines for people suffering from PCOS
Clinical Nutritionist, Dr. Anju Sood suggests the inclusion of these fruits and vegetables can help to manage the condition in a better way: · Increase frequency of meals with 2-3 fruit and vegetable-based snacks. Ideally, each snack should consist of a portion of both fruits and vegetables · The intake of fibrous fruits and vegetables should be increased · Vegetable juice is great for combating insulin resistance. A combination of four different types of vegetables such as carrots, spinach, amla, mint, and tomato can be put in a mixer/grinder along with water and consumed · Plant protein is highly beneficial in increasing satiety and managing blood sugar levels. This can be found in green leafy vegetables, broccoli, green peas, cauliflower, and cabbage · Fruits such as strawberries, bananas, and apples are high sources of Vitamins and Minerals
Foods to eat
There is no laid-down hard and fast diet for the management of PCOS. Ace Nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood is in agreement that there are some foods that are very beneficial for people suffering from PCOS and must be incorporated into the diet.
High seeds consumption
Dr. Anju recommends adopting the seed cycle for managing irregular periods and menstruation. This has to be followed from the 1st day of the cycle to the last day. For this, take 1 tbsp. of Sunflower seeds, 1 tbsp. of Flaxseeds, 1 tbsp. of Sesame seeds, 1 tbsp. of Pumpkin seeds and roast them in a pan for a minute or two. Sprinkle them liberally over your soups and salads for maximum benefits.
A low Glycemic Index (GI) diet
Foods that are low on GI are digested more slowly in the body. They do not create spikes in insulin levels as other foods do. Fruits and starchy vegetables are an essential part of the low GI diet and must be consumed frequently throughout the day. Root vegetables such as turnips and carrots are a great source of fiber and keep blood sugar levels stable.
An anti-inflammatory diet
An anti-inflammatory diet helps to reduce the fatigue associated with people suffering from PCOS. These include berries such as Strawberries, Blueberries, Goji berries, and Raspberries. These berries are very high in antioxidants which are beneficial for PCOS patients as they suffer from high levels of oxidative stress. These must also be eaten in relation to their Glycemic Index as some can spike blood sugar levels which can have varying health implications for people who suffer from Diabetes.
The intake of leafy and green vegetables is always a good call. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, Kale, and Fenugreek contain high levels of Vitamin B. Nearly 80% of women who suffer from PCOS are found to be deficient in Vitamin B12. Leafy greens are high in nutrients and low in calories. They also help to reduce inflammation in the body. A deficiency of Vitamin B12 can exacerbate symptoms such as: · Obesity · Irregular periods · Insulin resistance · Difficulty conceiving Hence, it becomes important to incorporate fruits and vegetables in the diet that are high in Vitamin B12.
A healthful PCOS diet can also include:
· Dark red fruits such as grapes and cherries · Healthful fats such as coconuts and avocado · Peaches and pears
Fruits to choose less often
Fruits without edible skin tend to have lower levels of fiber and must be avoided or eaten in limited amounts: · Melons · Bananas · Oranges · Pineapple These fruits have a higher GI. While they are healthy, their GI is an important consideration in the management of PCOS. For instance, Bananas in this group have a medium GI but they are also a rich source of Potassium and Vitamin B which helps to manage blood sugar levels and high blood pressure. These fruits need not be avoided completely but can be eaten in moderate portions.
People with PCOS have a higher risk of developing Type-2 Diabetes. A diet that is devoid of heavy carbohydrates and focuses a lot on essential micronutrients found in fruits and vegetables can help to keep insulin levels in the body stable. Balance is key and choosing the right fruits and vegetables can help to manage the condition.