Women's Health: Swap These 8 Foods For Better PCOS Management
Read on as we discuss what foods worsen PCOS management and foods that are healthier alternatives.
A healthy diet can help manage PCOS and improve overall health
PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It is characterised by the presence of cysts on the ovaries, irregular or absent menstrual periods, excessive androgens (male hormones), and may lead to fertility issues.
Diet does not directly cause PCOS, but it can worsen the symptoms and complications associated with the condition. Women with PCOS often struggle with insulin resistance, which means their bodies may have difficulty using insulin properly. This can lead to weight gain, increased risk of type 2 diabetes, and difficulty in managing PCOS symptoms.
However, adopting a healthy and balanced diet may help improve PCOS management. Here are some dietary recommendations for women with PCOS on what foods they should avoid and what alternatives might be a better option.
Swap these 8 foods in your diet for better PCOS management:
1. High-glycemic index carbohydrates
Foods like white bread, white rice, and sugary cereals can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels, which can worsen insulin resistance in women with PCOS. Instead, choose low-glycemic index options like whole-grain bread, brown rice, quinoa, or oats.
2. Processed and sugary foods
Processed foods often contain unhealthy trans fats, refined sugars, and artificial additives that can contribute to inflammation and hormonal imbalances. Opt for fresh, whole foods instead, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
3. Dairy products
Some women with PCOS may have sensitivity or intolerance to dairy products due to the presence of hormones. Consider dairy alternatives like almond milk, coconut milk, or cashew milk. If you still want to consume dairy, choose low-fat options or try lactose-free products.
4. Red meat
High intake of red meat, especially processed meats, has been associated with increased inflammation and insulin resistance. Include more lean proteins in your diet instead, such as fish, chicken, turkey, legumes, and tofu.
5. High-fat foods
Excessive consumption of high-fat foods, especially saturated and trans fats, can lead to weight gain and worsen hormonal imbalances. Opt for healthier fats found in avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish like salmon.
High caffeine intake has been linked to hormonal fluctuations and can interfere with hormone balance in women with PCOS. Limit your intake of caffeinated beverages like coffee and opt for herbal teas or decaffeinated options.
Alcohol can negatively impact liver function, hormonal balance, and insulin resistance in women with PCOS. It's best to limit alcohol consumption and opt for healthier alternatives like sparkling water with a splash of fruit juice or herbal mocktails.
8. Added sugars
Consuming foods and beverages with added sugars, such as soda, candies, baked goods, and sweetened drinks, can contribute to weight gain and worsen insulin resistance. Choose natural sweeteners like stevia, honey, or fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth. Be mindful of overall sugar intake and read food labels for hidden added sugars.
It is important to note that individual needs and responses to diet may vary. It is recommended to consult a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian experienced in PCOS management for personalised dietary advice.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.
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