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Easy Diet & Lifestyle Changes for Managing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a syndrome that affects our hormones during the reproductive years. What we eat and how we live our day-to-day life plays a huge role in the severity of symptoms.

Aarushi Chadha
Treatment for PCOS includes lifestyle changes such as exercise, diet, and weight loss.

PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome is an imbalance of hormones during the reproductive years. Although the exact cause of PCOS is not known, however, factors such as excessive production of male hormones, family history of PCOS, high levels of androgen, and low-grade inflammation can lead to PCOS.

Symptoms of PCOS start appearing over time. The symptoms also vary from person to person. Usually, it causes a person to have irregular periods. It is common for people with PCOS to not get their periods every month, and have periods that last for many days. People with PCOS have trouble getting pregnant. It can also lead to polycystic ovaries, severe acne, male-pattern baldness, and cause excessive facial and body hair to grow.

Treatment for PCOS includes lifestyle changes such as exercise, diet, and weight loss. This is because weight loss can help improve cholesterol levels, lower insulin, and reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease. A healthy diet filled with nutritious fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help regulate the menstrual cycle better. Along with lifestyle changes, doctors also prescribe birth control to relieve symptoms like excessive hair growth, prevent endometrial cancer, and regulate ovulation.

Diet Tips for PCOS

Lower carbohydrate consumption- Carbs impact insulin levels in our bodies. Studies indicate that the majority of people with PCOS develop insulin resistance (a condition where the cells in our body stop recognizing the effects of the hormone insulin). Therefore, for better blood sugar management, people with PCOS are advised to significantly lower their carb intake and lose weight.

Increased Fibre- Fibre helps lose weight as it reduces hunger. A high-fibre diet is linked with a healthier digestive system, lower insulin resistance, and less belly fat in people.

High Protein Diet- Protein is an essential nutrient that helps stabilize blood sugar, reduce cravings, and manage hunger-controlling hormones. Seafood, meat, dairy, eggs, and nuts are options for some healthy high-protein foods.

Consume a fatty diet- Contrary to popular belief, not all fats are unhealthy. Our body must maintain a healthy amount of fat in order to function properly. Therefore, a diet that is rich in healthy fats can not only help you tackle weight loss but also reduce symptoms of PCOS. A diet rich in healthy fats also helps us eat fewer calories as it reduces hunger.

Eat fermented food- Fermented food and food rich in probiotics are excellent for our mental health and for maintaining our gut flora happy. Some studies have suggested that women with PCOS tend to have fewer healthy bacteria in their gut than healthy women. To multiply the number of healthy bacteria in their gut, people can eat fermented food such as sauerkraut, kombucha, and kimchi, along with foods high in probiotics.

Limit consumption of processed food- Processed foods tend to lose their nutrients as they are processed. Plus, to make them tasty, companies add copious amounts of salt and sugar which are incredibly unhealthy when consumed on a regular basis. At the end of the day, processed foods are just empty calories that are rich in sodium, sugar, oil, and trans-fat. Limiting the consumption of processed food is a way to maintain a healthy body weight.

Eating healthy does not mean undereating- Long-term calorie reduction might lead to short-term weight loss, however, by restricting the number of calories you consume, you slow down your metabolism and your body reduces the number of calories it burns, which leads to weight gain. Restricting your diet also negatively impacts the hormones that control your appetite. Instead of lowering your calorie count, you should focus on replacing the unhealthy food in your diet with healthy food.

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