Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition which affects 1 in 15 women and is a problem affecting women’s hormones. Symptoms include acne, excessive body hair, problem periods, fertility problems and small cysts on the ovaries. It is caused by fluctuations in hormones and can be passed on through family generations.
Many women are treated by doctors using conventional medicines and birth control pills however, these may not be the key in treating the condition.
Scientists and medical professionals are slowly acknowledging that a healthy diet can have a great effect on certain conditions, especially ones involving hormones, and by watching what you eat you can control many symptoms of many conditions including PCOS. If you do suffer from this condition, or suffer from a complaint commonly caused by hormones such as acne or painful periods, the following tips may help you overcome you symptoms.
Cut out sugar
PCOS can result in insulin resistance which can in turn lead to diabetes. One of the main ways of fighting this condition is to manage your blood sugar levels. Each time you consume sugar, your blood sugar levels spike, which results in unbalanced hormones. Several studies have shown that women who eat a low sugar and low GI diet have far more success in clearing the symptoms of PCOS than those who continue to eat a Westernised high sugar diet. Apart from this, sugar is not good for the body anyway and should only be eaten in very small quantities.
Keep track of your calories
Being above your ideal weight can have an impact of the severity of your PCOS, so make sure you eat a healthy diet that doesn’t allow you to put on weight. If you are overweight, aim to lose a pound or two every month until you are at your ideal weight. Don’t try to lose weight too quickly — this on its own can cause hormonal imbalances.
Eat lots of greens and broccoli
Broccoli is one of the best foods for women suffering with PCOS. It has a very low Glycemix index (which is what you want), is a great source of calcium and is extremely low in calories. Green leafy vegetables are also great as they contain the iron, folic acid, calcium and potassium which are all needed to help your reproductive system and body function well. Try implementing spinach, celery, lettuce, coriander, mint, cauliflower greens and cabbage into your daily diet and make sure you steam them to retain as many nutrients as possible.
Fill up on salmon
Salmon is a superfood when it comes to PCOS due to its levels of vitamin D. Low levels of the vitamin have been associated with PCOS and problems such as acne and insulin resistance. Salmon is also rich in magnesium, B3 and B6, all of which are credited with helping hormonal problems. Just be careful which type of salmon you opt for as farmed salmon can be high in chemicals such as mercury and pesticides. Wild is always the best option.
Limit your carb intake
In the same way as sugar, carbs can lead to a spike in your insulin levels and we know what that means. White bread, white rice and potatoes are high glycemic foods and so not ideal for anyone suffering with PCOS. Replace these with whole grain alternatives such as brown rice and bread and even then, limit your intake of these foods. A mixture of vegetables and protein is always best, so only eat refined carbs if you have a really strong craving.