Diet and exercise are important parts of managing PCOS. This is because young women with PCOS often have higher levels of insulin (a hormone) in their blood, and many have trouble maintaining a healthy weight. Knowing the right foods to eat as well as the kinds of food to limit can improve the way you feel. It will also help you lose weight. Eating well, staying active, and maintaining a healthy weight (or losing even a small amount of weight if you’re overweight) can improve PCOS symptoms.
Well, let’s have a look at some PCOS superfoods that may help us manage our symptoms. It’s important that we eat well-balanced, healthy whole foods and incorporating some of these foods into your diet will help to improve some of your symptoms. This list is by no means definitive but it is a good place to start.
Avocados have gotten some bad press in recent years as it is considered to be fairly high in fat. While this is true, the fat contained in avos are healthy fats and are actually anti-inflammatory in nature. This anti-inflammatory property is important in terms of PCOS as women with PCOS are prone to chronic inflammation. One study even suggests that “inflammation directly stimulates the polycystic ovary to produce androgens.” That doesn’t sound good! Inflammation is also problematic as it increases resistance to insulin, making symptoms worse.
Another aspect of avocados is that they help with the absorption of oil-based nutrients and carotenoids in particular. So, adding avocados to your salad will ensure that you are getting maximum nutrients from your salads and foods.
Nuts are not likely to spike insulin levels as they have a low glycemic index and actually lower the glycemic index of other foods you might be eating at the same time (Eg: an apple with a handful of nuts will have a lower GI than the apple on its own) .
Studies also revealed that eating nuts regularly also increase sex hormone-binding globulin. This is important because SHBG binds to testosterone and lowers the amount of free testosterone in the blood which will help to improve overall symptoms. So, it looks like nuts are a really healthy snack to introduce into your PCOS diet.
Cinnamon is a wonderfully versatile spice that can be enjoyed on both sweet and savoury foods. The good news is that it is also great for your Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Here’s why:
The first thing is that research has been shown to lower blood glucose in people with Type 2 diabetes. The study showed that cinnamon consumption results in a lower demand for insulin. Insulin acts on ovaries to produce testosterone so if we can manage insulin levels, we’ll be able to better manage testosterone.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar is also good for PCOS. It improves sensitivity to insulin .So, taking ACV before a meal will reduce your blood sugar levels after the meal, as well as the amount of insulin needed to cope with the meal. Not only that, but it also helps to prevent sharp rises and falls in your blood sugars and insulin.
Did you know that 67-85% of women with PCOS are vitamin D deficient? The symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency include:
- Insulin resistance
- Ovulatory and menstrual irregularities
- Lower pregnancy success
- Elevated cardiovascular disease risk factors
- Sounding a little too familiar isn’t it?
Well, there are very few dietary sources of Vitamin D but salmon happens to be the best source, with 4oz of salmon providing 127% of your recommended daily intake. Not only that, salmon (especially wild salmon as opposed to framed salmon) is also high in Omega 3 which is known to help lower testosterone levels in women with PCOS (15)
So, why not have at least one serving of salmon per week to help battle your PCOS?