hormones nutrition

The 5 Best Foods for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Mar 29, 2021
PCOS Foods

Polycystic ovarian syndrome, also known as PCOS, is a hormonal condition that affects 10-20% of the female population. The exact cause or trigger for PCOS is still widely unknown, and each woman affected by PCOS can have different underlying symptoms, which makes it a tricky condition to understand and diagnose. However, this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a huge impact on daily life. There are some foods to help with this!

Women with PCOS are more likely to be diagnosed with and have more severe symptoms of anxiety and depression. PCOS is also one of the leading causes of infertility in women, as it significantly interferes with ovulation and the menstrual cycle. Other symptoms used for diagnosis include extreme hair loss, hirsutism (male pattern bodily hair growth), and cysts on the ovaries. PCOS also has negative effects on the digestive system and gut health. A widely experienced symptom of PCOS is insulin resistance and chronic inflammation of the stomach lining. 

The Key to Living Healthy with PCOS

Just reading about these symptoms can be incredibly overwhelming, and so experiencing them every day can be almost unbearable. The good news is that there is a natural way to control and reverse these symptoms with a lifestyle approach! Several studies have shown that an anti-inflammatory diet and regular exercise are beneficial to people with PCOS. 

In general, it’s a good idea for everyone to have a balanced diet that consists of fiber, protein, and carbs. However, for women with PCOS, our bodies show a disposition to diabetes because of insulin resistance and our guts can react badly to processed foods due to the inflammation that they cause. That’s why it’s important that those with PCOS eat a diet of high fiber, antioxidants, lean protein, healthy fats, and natural carbohydrates. In this post, I’m going to share with you the top five foods recommended by dietitians and doctors for PCOS. 

Broccoli

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that is high in fiber, which can help with insulin resistance by slowing down digestion and reducing the impact on sugar in the blood. High fiber foods also assist with weight management, something with which many women with PCOS struggle. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables can help remove excess estrogen that may worsen PCOS symptoms.

Lentils 

Lentils are a type of pulse, which is highly recommended to manage PCOS due to the nutrients that it contains. Not only are lentils rich in plant-based protein but they are also a low-glycemic food. They also contain B vitamins, magnesium, iron, and zinc. Zinc is an excellent mineral for PCOS because it supports blood sugar balance, hormone function, and can regulate unwanted hair loss and growth. 

Avocados 

Avocados have often been called a PCOS superfood! This is because they are made up of unsaturated fats that can lower cholesterol, improve blood pressure and flow the absorption of sugar in the blood. In addition, they are high in plant-based fiber and antioxidants, which can reduce inflammation in the gut

Berries 

Berries, such as blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries, are high in antioxidants which help to reduce oxidative stress in the blood and inflammation in the gut. It’s important to be eating whole berries, as opposed to jams and jellies that contain unnecessary processed sugar, which can exacerbate PCOS symptoms. Berries also have that fiber that is important for healthy digestion. 

Salmon

Salmon is a great type of lean protein for women with PCOS because it also contains healthy fat. Specifically, salmon has omega-3 fatty acids that have been shown to improve cholesterol, insulin, and testosterone levels. This can help with inflammation, unwanted body hair, as well as reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Salmon has also shown to be helpful with stabilizing mood, which can be needed with PCOS. 

The Importance of Exercise

Besides eating well, it’s important to keep your body active in ways that feel healthy. Some people find that they respond better with slow, weighted workouts while others feel that high cardio feels better for their body. Remember that more doesn’t always equal better. There is no substitute for or shame in rest days, so take off when you need. Recovery is always priceless. In the end, everyone’s body is different, and the best person to listen to, to know what is best for your body is yourself. 

Additional Resources

If you are interested in healing your gut, then check out my Gut Health Program.

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