The phrase ‘You are what you eat’ isn’t unfamiliar to anyone. But while diet plays an important role in well-being, can it act as a relief for an established health condition?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS is a condition of reproductive hormonal imbalance in women. It often entails an increase in androgen (the male hormone). This leads to irregular ovulation where the unreleased eggs soon form cysts in ovaries.
And while medical consultation is absolutely essential, one wonders what can be done to manage the symptoms naturally. Is there any role played by the food one consumes in fighting this condition?
The good news is – research has found that diet does play a crucial role in providing relief from PCOS (Kandarakis et al., 1970). From eating high-fibre foods in order to regulate insulin levels, to consuming lean proteins so as to attain weight loss, Here is a list of 5 plant based foods what will help you regulate your PCOS symptoms naturally:
1. Seeds (Chia, Hemp, Flax seeds)
Leading to an insulin resistance (a hormone which breaks down blood sugar to produce energy), PCOS commonly causes diabetes.
A high fibre food – seeds are slow-release carbohydrates. This means that the body breaks them down slower and more gradually into glucose/sugar. This gives the unbalanced insulin levels time to function properly.
2. Legumes and Pulses (Chickpeas, Kidney beans, Lentils)
Obesity is a common issue among those who have PCOS. This is probably due to the high insulin which also makes losing weight difficult. While PCOS negatively impacts obesity, it is also vice versa as obesity too can worsen PCOS symptoms.
Experts observed through trials that weight loss showed physical and mental improvements women with PCOS such as better health, reduced depressive symptoms and anxiety disorders (Legro et al., 2016).
The high fibre and protein in pulses and legumes can make you feel fuller for longer and encourage weight loss.
3. Soy products or Soybeans
Soy is said to increase fertility, reduce testosterone, restore magnesium, and regulate cholesterol as well as assist in weight loss. It is a superfood which you definitely shouldn’t miss out on.
4. Cruciferous Vegetables (Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, Kale, Cabbage)
Unrelated to obesity, low-grade inflammation inside the body is observed in PCOS, which often leads to heavy fatigue.
Full of antioxidants, these cruciferous vegetables are some very popular and effective anti-inflammatory foods.
5. Monounsaturated fats (Extra virgin Olive Oil, Avocado)
Monounsaturated fats help lower the “bad” cholesterol (LDL) in the blood and increase the “good” cholesterol (HDL). Along with this, they have a good impact insulin levels and in controlling blood sugar levels, and must therefore be a welcome part of the meal for women with PCOS.
Diamanti-Kandarakis, E., Christakou, C., & Marinakis, E. (1970, January 1). Phenotypes and enviromental factors: Their influence in pcos. Latest TOC RSS. https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ben/cpd/2012/00000018/00000003/art00006.
Legro, R. S., Dodson, W. C., Kunselman, A. R., Stetter, C. M., Kris-Etherton, P. M., Williams, N. I., Gnatuk, C. L., Estes, S. J., Allison, K. C., Sarwer, D. B., Diamond, M. P., Schlaff, W. D., Casson, P. R., Christman, G. M., Barnhart, K. T., Bates, G. W., Usadi, R., Lucidi, S., Baker, V., … Dokras, A. (2016). Benefit of delayed fertility therapy with preconception weight loss over immediate therapy in obese women with pcos. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 101(7), 2658–2666. https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2016-1659
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