Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), also known as polycystic ovary disease (PCOD), is a hormonal disorder that affects up to 10% of women of reproductive age. It is characterized by high levels of androgens (male hormones) in the body, irregular periods, and the formation of small cysts on the ovaries. PCOS can lead to a variety of health problems, including infertility, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. One way to manage PCOS is through diet, so in this blog post, we'll explore six foods to watch in PCOS/PCOD.
Foods high in simple carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, and sugary snacks, can cause blood sugar levels to spike, leading to insulin resistance, a common problem in PCOS. Insulin resistance occurs when the body's cells become resistant to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. This can cause the body to produce more insulin, which can lead to weight gain and other health problems. To manage PCOS, it's best to avoid or limit simple carbohydrates and instead focus on complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, which are slower to digest and do not cause blood sugar spikes.
Red meat, such as beef and pork, contains high levels of saturated fat, which can increase inflammation in the body and worsen insulin resistance. To manage PCOS, it's best to limit red meat and instead choose lean proteins, such as chicken, fish, and plant-based sources of protein, such as beans, lentils, and tofu.
Some women with PCOS are sensitive to dairy products, which can cause inflammation and worsen insulin resistance. If you suspect you may be sensitive to dairy, try eliminating it from your diet for a few weeks to see if your symptoms improve. If you do choose to consume dairy, opt for low-fat or non-fat options.
Processed foods, such as packaged snacks, frozen meals, and fast food, are often high in calories, fat, and sodium and low in nutrients. They can contribute to weight gain and worsen insulin resistance, making PCOS symptoms worse. To manage PCOS, it's best to avoid or limit processed foods and instead choose whole, nutrient-dense foods.
Soy products, such as tofu, edamame, and soy milk, contain phytoestrogens, plant-based compounds that can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. Some studies have suggested that phytoestrogens may interfere with hormone balance in women with PCOS, so it's best to limit soy products or choose fermented soy products, such as tempeh and miso, which are lower in phytoestrogens.
Alcohol can worsen insulin resistance, increase inflammation, and contribute to weight gain, all of which can worsen PCOS symptoms. To manage PCOS, it's best to limit or avoid alcohol and choose water or other non-alcoholic beverages instead.
In addition to avoiding these foods, there are also some foods that may be beneficial for women with PCOS, such as:
1. Berries: Berries are low in sugar and high in antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation in the body and improve insulin resistance.
2. Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds are rich in healthy fats, protein, and fiber, which can help keep you feeling full and improve insulin resistance. They also contain anti-inflammatory compounds that can help reduce inflammation in the body.
3. Leafy Greens: Leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and collard greens, are low in calories and high in nutrients, including magnesium