How to Manage PCOS Symptoms Through Diet
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition marked by irregular or absent ovulation that presents as irregular menstrual cycles. For the 10% of reproductive-age women who are diagnosed with PCOS, symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, irregular cycles, unwanted hair growth, acne, infertility, mood changes, and headaches are fairly common. Ultimately, early diagnosis and treatment are essential in order to manage symptoms and prevent long term health issues, including diabetes and heart disease.
If you have been diagnosed with PCOS, maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best ways to manage your symptoms. Since obesity associated with PCOS can worsen complications of the disorder, losing even a modest amount of weight can make cycles more regular, restore ovulation, and improve fertility. Dara Godfrey, registered dietician and nutritionist at RMA of New York, provides important tips on how your diet can help you lose weight and manage your PCOS symptoms.
1. Limit Carbs
Choose whole grain instead of white breads, cereals, and pastas, and introduce legumes as a healthier alternative to starchy grains. Limit your portion of carbs to a fist size once a day.
2. Avoid added sugars
Choose snacks that are unprocessed, unpackaged, and low in sugar. Whole fruit is a great option when craving something sweet because it contains natural sugars only. Eating often and consuming foods that are high in lean protein ensures you won’t experience severe drops in energy throughout the day.
3. Add Omega 3’s
Omega 3’s are an essential part of your diet if you have PCOS. They help stabilize mood, decrease cholesterol and triglycerides, improve insulin, lower blood pressure, and aid in hair growth and skin quality. Consider including foods high in Omega 3’s, including salmon, walnuts, and ground flaxseed into your daily diet.
4. Eat more plant-based foods
Incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet – about two meals a week – can help lower your cholesterol and saturated fat levels. And don’t think plant-based meals limit you to only eating vegetables! Fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts are also great options for plant-based meals.
5. Include Cinnamon
Adding cinnamon to your daily diet can help stabilize your blood sugar levels. Add a pinch of cinnamon to yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, and cottage cheese for a sweet treat!
6. Get a daily dose exercise
To complement a healthy diet, exercise can aid in reducing weight in a safe and efficient way. Exercise and a diet low in added sugars can greatly improve insulin sensitivity, one of the possible causes of PCOS, so get moving!
Incorporating these simple lifestyle choices into your daily diet will help improve the symptoms you may experience from PCOS. Being equipped with these tools will help you better manage your symptoms and, ultimately, help you to feel better about yourself and your condition.