BEST & WORST FOODS FOR PCOD
WHAT TO EAT
High fiber foods/ Fiber rich foods
Don’t forget to include “Dietary fiber “daily in your diet, they are also called as roughage, they are mainly found in fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds and legumes. There are two types of dietary fiber soluble and insoluble fiber.
Dietary fibers are best known to prevent constipation but eating fiber rich foods also helps in improving insulin resistance in PCOS, diabetes, lowering cholesterol (Heart problems) and weight managements (Obesity). It keeps your stomach full for longer time, it also helps to reduce the risk of colon cancer. Our body can't digest or absorb fiber completely, they pass through your stomach and intestine to colon then out of the body.
Recommended amount of dietary fiber for adult women are 20-25 grams and for adult men 30-35 grams per day.
There are no hard and fast rule supported by nutrition experts that they should consume or avoid any specific vegetables. But since few vegetables contain high- fiber, more antioxidants and low glycemic index hence they should be given more preference such as all green-leafy non-starchy vegetables.
Bottle guard, ridge-guard, Okhra (bhindi), pumpkin, green beans, coriander, spinach are to be consumed as they are containing high vitamins, helps in glucose regulation and reduce oxidative stress which is very helpful for women with PCOS.
Generally all fruits are full of carbohydrates, so it is important to choose fruits which are low in glycemic index.
Particularly in the case of women with PCOS, they are highly recommended to follow low glycemic as well as low carbohydrate diet along with managing portion sizes.
The selection of fruits should be diligently done, for example mangoes, bananas, litchi, sapota, grapes should never be consumed in more than recommended amounts as they contain natural sugars which can spike blood sugar levels in the body.
Hence fruits should be carefully selected and included in daily diet as they comprise of good amounts of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and antioxidants that will help to recover insulin resistance, lowering the risk of obesity, cancer, diabetes, PCOS and other chronic diseases.
All berries, apple, pears, plum, Kiwi, coconut, peach, oranges, musambi are PCOS friendly fruits. However, experts specially advise to avoid fruit juices from canned & tetra pack including the suggested fruits also.
Protein rich foods/ lean protein food
Women with PCOS often have a difficult time managing their weight, eating lean protein helps them to manage hunger pangs and keep their stomach full for longer time.
Additionally, the levels of androgen (male hormone) increases due to PCOS, which leads to unpleasant side effects such as facial hair, acne and irregular periods. The choice of protein is extremely important, because all protein foods are not good for health such as red meat, cured meat, excess mutton or chicken especially if prepared in high fat (Oil). They can cause heart, liver problems and weight gain.
Hence, light protein such as fish, skinless chicken, eggs, beans and soy products are to be selected along with managing strict portion to avail health benefits to reduce PCOS effect.
PCOS are often associated with stress, anxiety and mood swings. Stressful conditions can be classified into two types a) natural oxidative stress b) physical/mental stress due to PCOD.
For both the conditions, antioxidant rich foods are highly beneficial because women are prone to hormonal imbalances which further aggravates their condition. Women tend to gain weight, have infertility issues, facial hair, uncontrolled acne, hair loss which makes them undergo tremendous stress.
Antioxidants such as green tea, strawberry, honey, cinnamon, aloevera, basil, blueberry, turmeric root, tender coconut water play a vital role in skin, acne & hair loss control additionally, antioxidant has been found to improve insulin sensitivity, fight the free radicals and reduce oxidative stress from the body. Inequality between the oxidants and antioxidants is mentioned as oxidative stress which a natural biological process, researchers claim that the process gets faster in PCOS subjecting women to unwanted side-effects. Hence by including antioxidant supplements and foods in the daily diet one can really counter ageing and other stressful conditions to a great extent.
Addition of turmeric to your daily diet can be a useful dietary supplement for boosting immunity, weight loss and other variety of health benefits. The active compound present in turmeric called curcumin, which has several valuable benefits such as it reduces the risk of cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, obesity, arthritis and eliminate inflammation in PCOS condition. Curcumin being a polyphenol compound that has been reported to enhance the level of lipolysis (the metabolic process of breakdown of fat/lipid). It also has powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
The bark from the arjuna tree has been used from many years as ayurvedic medicine, especially to support all types of heart disorders. It exists in red color powdered form and broad stick easily soluble in water. Arjuna bark has tannins and flavonoids that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties hence recommended to women with hormonal and PCOS disorder. It is generally considered safe to use 500 mg per day. But it is always advisable to consult a gynae or nutritionist before taking this. Further, this herbal medicine also has some beneficial effects to control hypertension and diabetes also.
WHAT NOT TO EAT
“White sugar” is the worst for women with PCOS. Research is suggestive that PCOD is directly linked with insulin resistance and in this condition mostly the body does not produce enough insulin. Hence the sugar levels often rise frequently forcing the pancreas to produce extra insulin to maintain sugar levels in normal range.
Due to the production of excess insulin in the body, women with PCOS often suffer from side effects such as facial hair, acne, weight gain, irregular periods and erratic mood swings. Over production of androgen (male hormone) may result in hair fall or facial hair & dense hair on body along with irregular periods and acne.
Fresh and organic foods are far better than processed foods. During the method of processing food and beverage most of the nutrients even all nutrients flesh out from the foods. This food item contains high saturated fat, sugar, sodium and synthetic chemicals which are fully harmful in PCOS condition. Processed foods such as sodas, potato chips, candy, bakery products and even all-ready to eat products comes in processed form which is highly harmful for women with PCOS.
Dairy food items specially “commercial dairy items” which use hormones like oxytocin etc for milk production, are to be completely avoided by women with PCOS. It is not necessary they should completely stop but they should choose items which are beneficial for health such as toned milk and yogurt to stop minimum hormonal disbalance.
Apart from hormonal disbalance we must also minimize the chances of lactose intolerance and try to supplement with other calcium and protein substitutes. You can replace the dairy products with almonds milk, coconut milk, soymilk and its products as per your taste and suitability.
Meat products which has been preserved by salting, smoking, curing or canning are bad for PCOS condition. Red meat specially known for deleterious effects not only for PCOS, but it makes the person prone to other heart and kidney problems.
PCOS diet does not require any caloric restriction but it requires to include healthy lean proteins, low glycemic carbs, essential vitamins and minerals. Red meat is high in saturated fat that can be problematic for PCOS patients, this type of fat is mostly found in fried foods, processed food items, fatty beef, processed meat etc. Better to choose healthy fat from fatty fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, avocado, whole grains and healthy oils.
Gluten sensitivity has been observed in women with PCOS. Hence, they are also susceptible to suffer gluten sensitivity, making them more prone to autoimmune diseases. It involves inflammation and destruction of the small intestine and can lead to malabsorption of minerals and other essential nutrients which can general health issues like anemia, vitamin D and calcium absorption.
For losing weight and to maintain PCOS, women have to follow low carbohydrates and gluten free diet. wheat, barley, rye is naturally high in carbs and gluten so from both the angles gluten rich foods are bad for PCOS. Best items for people with gluten intolerance and PCOS are red/brown rice, millets and millet-based flour (quinoa) which also have many health benefits especially for losing weight.
PCOS patient has to focus on healthy fat and oils, in this condition some causes such as low-grade inflammation, insulin resistance, weight gain and hormonal imbalance which stimulates polycystic ovaries to produce androgen which can lead to blood vessels problems. Omega 3 and omega 6 are the types of polyunsaturated fats, and to maintain the ratio between omega 3 and omega 6 is very important for PCOS condition as well as overall health. Hence, inclusions and balancing of omega 6 is vital because one is pro- inflammatory in nature which encourages inflammation in body and omega 3 are anti-inflammatory in nature.
So, keep a check on all inflammation-causing foods especially omega 6 from diet is good practice. Soybean, sunflower, safflower, canola, rice bran and peanut Oil all contains rich amount of omega 6. Nuts, fatty fish, avocado, coconut oil and olive oil are omega 3 rich foods which are good for PCOS.
Alcohol and caffeine
As we believe that “Food works as a natural medicine” so choosing right food items is our duty for healthy body and life. Research is suggestive that women with PCOS have high chances of getting affected with fatty liver, which is mostly diagnosed with the symptoms of indigestion, pain after eating or with an ultrasound. Alcohol and caffeine directly have a toxic effect to the liver, digestive systems and infertility.
The belonging of caffeine on PCOS does not have any effective conclusion, but caffeine may increase the levels of insulin, disrupt sleep and can promote anxiety. The acidity with coffee causes digestive discomfort, indigestion and heart burn.
Studies have directly shown that lifestyle changes, maintaining a balanced diet, exercises and yoga are the best way to manage fatty liver in combination with PCOS. Read our exercise section for more information.
For women consuming alcohol, 30 ml is the permissible limit that too with special reference to wine & vodka but it’s best to limit oneself to daily consumption of intake of alcohol and caffeine both. 2cups of coffee or caffeine throughout the day will not give any harmful effects especially if taken with some biscuits or light snacks.
All the compilation of the content presented has been curated by medical experts. However, this content is specifically designed for promoting health awareness and information only. This content is not a substitute or replacement of any physician’s advice/diagnosis or consultation.
For any health-related queries and opinions one must contact his/her preferred doctor or take second opinions at [email protected]