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Understanding The PCOS Diet

PCOS is usually marked by irregular periods or no periods at all, weight gain and other symptoms such as acne, hirsutism (hairiness), and male pattern baldness. There is no known cure for PCOS, but women have been known to control the symptoms by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Women with PCOS often have insulin levels that are higher than normal. Insulin is the hormone that helps your body cells turn sugar (glucose) into energy. If you don’t produce enough insulin, your blood sugar levels can rise. This can also happen if you’re insulin resistant, meaning you aren’t able to use the insulin you do produce effectively. If you’re insulin resistant, your body may try to pump out high levels of insulin in an effort to keep your blood sugar levels normal. Very high levels of insulin can cause your ovaries to produce more androgens, such as testosterone.

Insulin resistance may also be caused by having a body mass index above the normal range. Insulin resistance can make it harder to lose weight, which is why women with PCOS often struggle with this issue.

A diet high in refined carbohydrates, such as starchy and sugary foods, can make insulin resistance, and therefore weight loss, more difficult to control. This is a guide that could help you plan your diet so that you can get your weight under control -

What Do I Add?

Foods that are -

1. Rich in fibers, such as broccoli, greens, including red leaf lettuce and arugula, green and red peppers, beans and lentils, almonds, berries, sweet potatoes and pumpkin.

2. Lean protein such as fish

3. Anti-inflammatory foods such tomatoes, kale, spinach, almonds and walnuts, olive oil, fruits such as blueberries and strawberries and fatty fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and sardines.

What Should I Limit?

Foods that are -

1. Foods high in refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, muffins, sugary desserts, potatoes and anything made with white flour. Pasta and noodles also comes under this.

2. Sugary snacks and drinks - this must be avoided at all costs. Sugar, in its many forms, such as sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, and dextrose must also be avoided

3. Inflammatory foods, such as processed food, french fries and red or processed meats.

What Else Should I Do?

Like most disorders that aren’t life-threatening, PCOS can be brought under control by making positive changes to one’s lifestyle. This include being active and exercising. Daily physical movement becomes a must. This would help in reducing insulin resistance. This, along with the controlled diet as mentioned above, reduced sugar intake and a low-inflammatory diet may lead to weight loss.

Sometimes, women with PCOS have been known to have stress. So, some stress-reducing activities would also go a long way in curing you.

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