Raise your hands if you’ve or know someone who has been dealing with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). One in five women in India suffers from this ovarian condition that affects their health, hormones and reproductive health. While there is no cure for PCOS, the disorder is mostly manageable through prescribed hormonal medicines. Naturally, the condition can be brought under control with a holistic diet supported by lifestyle changes. Nutrition plays a vital role in sustaining your overall well-being and thereby managing your PCOS without having to pop pills with damaging side effects. “Choose foods that are rich in fibre, nutritionally dense, and are low in refined carbs, saturated oils. Taking help of a nutritionist in the selection of foods will help you lose weight as well as manage PCOS,” advises Suhasini Mudraganam, chief nutritionist of Possible and food scientist.
Common PCOS Symptoms
- Irregular periods: Less than eight periods in a year
- Heavy bleeding: Since the uterine lining is built up for a longer duration, few cycles can be heavier than normal.
- Hair growth: Excess hair growth known as hirsutism will be seen on the face and other parts like belly and chest.
- Acne: Hormones can make the skin oilier and cause breakouts on the face, chest, and upper back.
- Weight issues: Up to 80 per cent of women with PCOS face issues with their weight. In most cases, women start putting on weight due to hormonal imbalance.
- Darkening of skin: Seen on the neck, in the groin, and under the breasts of most of the PCOS cases.
How to Beat PCOS?
Right balance of nutrition, lifestyle and medication are required to manage PCOS. We have listed down some foods that could you beat PCOS:
It is rich in fibre and excellent for digestion and weight loss. Including red poha in your diet can help promote gut health. The red colour in poha is due to the pigment anthocyanin, which is a powerful anti inflammatory agent. It is also loaded with goodness of vitamin B’s like thiamin, and minerals like calcium helps in bone health. It’s selenium content helps in hair growth and lowers inflammation as well as balances hormones while iron improves hemoglobin, manganese improves metabolism.
This gluten-free superfood is a complete protein with all essential amino acids, which is twice as rich in fibre as compared with other grains. Its iron content helps in improving haemoglobin levels, it is also high in riboflavin that improves energy metabolism.
Soluble and insoluble fibres in oats slow down the absorption of fat and sugars in the body. The vitamin B in oats helps in increasing the production of progesterone hormone. Zinc in oats helps in hair growth and helps in reversing PCOS.
This super grain is high in fibre with low glycemic index and hence beneficial for losing weight. Moreover, they are rich sources of minerals such as iron, calcium, copper, phosphorus, manganese and magnesium.
Brown rice also has a low glycemic index that prevents insulin spikes, and contains high fibre that keeps you full and prevents overeating.
Legumes such as whole moong, chana, green peas, soybeans and kidney beans are great sources of fibre, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Proteins in the legumes keep you full for longer and boost metabolism and helps in insulin spikes and weight management.
Vegetables And Green Leafy Vegetables
These are nutrient dense as well as low in calorie that makes green veggies an ideal dietary inclusion for weight loss. The green vegetables also reduce inflammation- related symptoms like fatigue. Green leafy vegetables like broccoli and cabbage are rich in magnesium, which is helpful in tackling insulin resistance.
Fruit are rich sources of fibre, vitamins and minerals. For best results, eat fruits that have low glycemic index.
It is rich in vitamin C as well as antioxidants and helps reduce body weight, improves the number of follicles in the ovaries, as well as improves insulin resistance.
Super foods like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, muskmelon seeds, water melon seeds, flax seeds, and sesame seeds are rich in fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins and minerals. Flax seeds and chia seeds have omega-3 fatty acids beneficial in regulating glucose metabolism and hormone balance that normalises the menstrual cycle.
Inclusion of probiotics such as Curd, buttermilk, yogurt improves gut microbiota. Impaired gut microbiota can lead to insulin resistance and may result in PCOS by impacting energy absorption.