Polycystic ovary syndrome, otherwise known as PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects one out of ten women in their reproductive years. Women with PCOS usually experience metabolism issues like weight gain, insulin resistance, and hormonal imbalances. Almost half of us ovary carriers with PCOS are overweight or obese which circles back to having PCOS creating a somewhat vicious cycle that’s seemingly impossible to break. As if it doesn’t already feel like your body’s working against you, women with PCOS usually have a higher risk of hypertension, high insulin levels, and increased cholesterol. Even more alarming, ignoring excess weight gain thrusts women with PCOS to developing type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, and stroke.
Traditional treatments for PCOS include medication which doesn’t always address the underlying issues and sometimes can even worsen your symptoms. The not-so-secret truth is - making conscious dietary choices and adjusting your lifestyle can alleviate and manage your PCOS symptoms affecting weight. Yes, these lifestyle and behavior changes include exercise, diet, supplements, and more, but we know it’s not a one size fits all - just a start in the balanced direction.
Science shows, if you’re able to lose 5% and higher of your body weight, it can regulate your menstrual cycle while reducing PCOS symptoms. We’ve found these to be the best foods for people with PCOS.
High-fiber diets are where it’s at. It isn’t a “Hail Mary,” but this choice of food holds several benefits which helps to lower insulin levels and produce more antioxidants. The fiber producing antioxidants lowers inflammation and nourishes your gut microbiome. High-fiber foods for PCOS you can add to your diet easily include:
- Legumes: beans (black, kidney lima, and black-eyed), chickpeas, peanuts, green peas.
- Whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, and oats
- Berries: blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries
- Seeds: sunflower seeds, and chia
(We know you’re busy so we linked delicious recipes, too!)
Another food women with PCOS should add to their diet is lean proteins. Red meat contains a high level of saturated fat, unlike lean protein. Including lean proteins in your diet will help promote weight loss for women with PCOS. Some lean proteins you should add to your diet include fish, chicken, beans, tofu, and peas.
Women with PCOS usually have low-grade inflammation. These inflammatory signals usually increase insulin which could worsen the symptoms of PCOS. That’s why you should include foods that are rich in antioxidants in your diet. Some foods filled with antioxidants helping to fight inflammation include fruits, whole grains, avocado, nuts, vegetables, and olive oil.
Organic Whole Soy
There’s a recent study that the isoflavones present in soy can help increase your pregnancy chances. Generally, organic whole soy is known to improve fertility in women and is a good addition to your diet. However, you must only go for organically produced soy and not highly processed packaged. (Tip: here’s our guide to reading nutrition labels.) Some examples of organic whole soy foods include tempeh, edamame, and miso.
The Mediterranean diet is also an excellent choice for women with PCOS looking for the ideal diet. It is a mix of healthy fats, whole grains, seafood, fruits, and vegetables. All vegetables and fruits are allowed in the Mediterranean diet. That means you can eat shrimp, avocado, brown rice, couscous, salmon, and so much more.