By Dr. Parnamita Bhattacharya, Gynaecology
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder caused by abnormally high amounts of male hormones in women. The symptoms of condition are irregular menstruation, high blood sugar, acne, obesity, sleep apnea, excess facial and body hair and difficulty in conceiving. There is no cure for PCOS but changes in lifestyle and nutrition can help to treat the condition. The following dietary tips can be helpful with the condition:
1. High levels of the insulin hormone causes PCOS symptoms like high blood sugar, increased hair growth, weight gain etc. So, refined foods rich in fat and carbohydrates should be consumed in small amounts.
2. Whole foods in their natural, uncooked form should be consumed fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans etc. These are low glycemic foods that reduce the glucose circulation by insulin.
3. Intake of salt should be very limited. You should not consume more than 3 grams a day.
4. Green vegetables have antioxidants. These are good for women with PCOS because they have a high amount of oxidative stress.
5. Your daily diet should contain at least 30 grams of fiber to improve the digestion process and remove toxins.
6. Milk and dairy products are best avoided because milk helps to increase the level of testosterone (male hormone) in the body.
7. Soy products should also be avoided, especially if you are trying to conceive, because they interfere with the ovulation cycle.
8. Processed fat is harmful but essential fatty acids found in avocado, fish, olive oil and nuts are important for the body.
9. High levels of male hormones also cause high cholesterol. So foods which have high saturated fats like butter, cream, coconut oil and fatty meat should not be included in the regular diet of women with PCOS.
10. Protein-rich foods like lean meat, fish, legumes, whole grains are beneficial as protein can stabilize blood sugar. These foods also keep you feeling full and prevent over-eating.