Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), is a hormonal disorder affecting women who are in their reproductive years. Common symptoms of PCOS include disruption of menstrual cycle including infrequent or prolonged periods and excessive presence of male hormones. Fertility issues may arise as the ovaries develop fluid filled follicles with failure to release an egg. Other symptoms include hormonal acne breakouts, facial hair, and thinning of hair on the scalp.
Weight gain and difficulty with weight loss is also common in women with PCOS and some women develop insulin resistance, which can further drive weight gain and can lead to more serious medical conditions including diabetes.
Women with PCOS are at higher risk of heart disease, endometrial cancer, and high blood pressure if PCOS goes unmanaged.
The good news is that many of the symptoms of PCOS can be managed with simple changes in food choices. Food is fuel for bodies, and food choices can influence hormonal changes for better and worse. Additionally, some foods can cause inflammatory responses leading to additional symptoms.
Poor PCOS diet: five foods to avoid if you have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome…
Sugary foods and drinks. Sugar, particularly refined sugar found in processed food and drinks can result in surges of hormone changes. Sugar consumption can also be problematic in women with PCOS experiencing insulin resistance. Be sure to drink plenty of water and avoid soda and excessive alcoholic beverages which contain sugar.
Fried Foods. Excessive use of oils and fats found in fried foods also effect hormone levels which can drive symptoms of PCOS including acne and weight gain. Grilled, seared, and broiled foods are great solutions when avoiding fried foods.
Refined carbohydrates. Highly processed and mass-produced breads, cereal, pastries, and cookies are high in refined carbohydrates. These foods are full of empty calories and can result in weight gain and challenged with weight loss.
Excessive amounts of red meat and processed meat. Hamburgers, steak, and pork should be eaten in limited quantities, if at all. This is also the case for processed meats such as hotdogs, lunch meat, and jerky. Often the meat itself contains higher amounts of fat, and in many instances also contains hormones which when consumed can affect the body’s hormone levels.
Dairy products. Milk, ice cream, cheese and butter can lead to higher levels of insulin, and women with PCOS are likely to develop insulin resistance. Consuming dairy products thus can further drive hormone and energy disruption and weight gain. Additionally, when left untreated, insulin resistance can lead to more serious medical conditions.
While the prospect of radically changing one’s diet is overwhelming, small daily changes over time lead to great results. Continuing to eat the foods you love is still possible while avoiding the above foods that can worsen symptoms of PCOS. While completely cutting out dairy foods might feel foreign or impossible to some, there are wonderful dairy alternatives available at most grocery stores.
By limiting processed food you open yourself up to more robust whole food meals which taste better and deliver better sources of energy for your body. Limiting sugary beverages such as soda and alcohol will boost your ability to maintain a healthy weight and promote overall health. The results of giving your body foods that it can easily utilise for fuel is not only looking better but feeling better so that you can live your life the way you want.
Dr Amanda Olson is a licensed and practicing Doctor of Physical Therapy and she is also the President and Chief Clinical Officer of Intimate Rose.