5 diet tips for women living with PCOS
One popular health concerns affecting many women of reproductive age is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome(PCOS)
PCOS is a condition in which the ovaries produce excessive amounts of androgen- the male sex hormone- which is usually present in women in small amounts. This results in erratic menstrual cycles, missed periods, and unpredictable ovulation. PCOS is one of the leading causes of female infertility.
The main causes of this syndrome are unknown but it may occur as a result of genetic factors. PCOS cannot be cured but the symptoms can be managed.
When these symptoms are not controlled, these women are at a greater risk of more life-threatening diseases like heart diseases, endometrial cancer, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.
How does diet affect PCOS?
Two of the primary ways that diet affects PCOS are weight management and insulin, production and resistance. Up to 70% of all women living with PCOS struggle with controlling their weight and many of these women also have insulin resistance.
This means that the body’s cells stop responding to insulin in a normal manner, resulting in the insulin levels shooting above normal. It is therefore important to manage insulin levels by following a nutritious diet and maintaining a healthy weight.
Women who thrive with PCOS should know that food is medicine. The right diet can help manage this condition. Here are some diet tips every woman living with PCOS should take seriously:
1. Cut down on processed foods
Processed foods are generally unhealthy, women suffering from PCOS should avoid these foods like the plague because they contain high amounts of saturated fats and high levels of sodium which leads to inflammation.
Processed foods also tend to have a higher Glycemic Index (GI) which is directly linked to insulin production and diabetes.
2. Eat lots of green leafy vegetables
More than 80% of women who suffer from PCOS are deficient in Vitamin B which is linked to many PCOS symptoms like insulin resistance, obesity, and hirsutism. Green vegetables like spinach contain high levels of this much-needed vitamin.
These vegetables are also rich in essential nutrients and low in calories which makes them ideal for weight loss.
3. Increase fibre intake
Women living with PCOS should eat more foods that are high in fibre because fibre slows down digestion which helps with weight management. Fibre is also effective for combating insulin resistance.
4. Limit alcohol
Alcohol should be an occasional indulgence for these women, not a regular occurrence. Alcohol can increase the level of testosterone hormones and disturb the hormones required for ovulation.
It also lowers blood sugar levels, leading to increased food cravings and making it hard to control weight.
5. Avoid sugary beverages
Soda, fizzy drinks, and energy drinks have high sugar levels, increasing the release of insulin and also affecting the level of testosterone. Also, too much sugar will be stored as fat in the body, leading to weight gain