Nutritionist shares diet dos and don'ts to keep PCOS under control - Hindustan Times
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Nutritionist shares diet dos and don'ts to keep PCOS under control

ByAbigail banerji
Feb 15, 2024 06:29 PM IST

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, also known as PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects millions of women.

A new study has stated that the number of cases of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome among women has “increased sharply”. The first comprehensive analysis of infertility related to PCOS has shown a rise from six million in 1990 to 12.13 million in 2019 across 200 countries and regions.

There has been a rise of PCOS cases from six million in 1990 to 12.13 million in 2019 (Unsplash)
There has been a rise of PCOS cases from six million in 1990 to 12.13 million in 2019 (Unsplash)

So what is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?  Also known as PCOS, it is a hormonal disorder that affects millions of women. It happens when a woman's ovaries or adrenal glands produce more male hormones than normal. This can lead to irregular periods or no periods; the development of cysts and could even lead to infertility in some women.

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There has been a rise of PCOS cases from six million in 1990 to 12.13 million in 2019 (Unsplash)
There has been a rise of PCOS cases from six million in 1990 to 12.13 million in 2019 (Unsplash)

Some other symptoms could be weight gain, especially around the waist, hair, acne or dark patches on the skin, pelvic pain and depression. The condition can't be cured, but it can be treated and managed with food and lifestyle changes, shares nutritionist Kavita Devgan.

Losing excess weight, eating well, paying attention to how foods affect your blood sugar and insulin, exercising, the kind that gets your heart pumping, as well as lifting weights to keep your muscles strong, and keeping a lid on stress, all help. If you are struggling with PCOS, small but essential changes in your eating habits can help alleviate your symptoms, increase your energy levels, and help you manage weight.

The Diet: Do’s

Eat a whole foods-based diet such as fruits, vegetables, dals, grains, nuts, and seeds. It is also important to increase fibre intake, so include at least 25-30 grams every day. Include enough whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables in the diet. Also, include protein with every meal. Remember to never eat a carbohydrate alone and always pair it with a protein or a good quality fat as they help curb the blood sugar rise.

Eating high-fat meals can help you manage this condition better. It helps to not obsess over calories when your hormone health is suffering. Instead, focus on eating more of good fats. Omega 3 can aid as well, so add fish, walnuts, flaxseeds and sacha Inchi seeds, which are all loaded with protein too.

To your diet, include foods high in antioxidants such as green tea, green coffee, nuts and berries and anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric and cinnamon, too. Remember to add a pinch of pepper when using turmeric as it will help you absorb the turmeric better. Vitamin B12 and D supplementation are important if the levels are low.

Snack right

Binge eating is not good as it can lead to weight gain. So it is important to snack right. Some smart snack options are a bowl of yoghurt, buttermilk with sattu, black sesame seed laddu, a bowl of salad with tofu tossed in it, coconut water with its malai and roasted seeds and nuts.

The Diet: Don't's

Avoid processed and junk foods as they are laden with trans fats and additives as they further cause havoc on your hormones and cause inflammation as well. Reduce the intake of sugar and refined foods, along with sugary beverages such as sodas, sports and energy drinks as they aren't good for health too. PCOS is linked to insulin resistance so the goal is to keep your blood sugar moderate and stable; it is high insulin levels that lead to symptoms like excessive hunger, hair fall, acne, facial hair etc. Avoid fried foods, and trans fats and keep intake of saturated fats in check too.

Eliminate processed meats and processed snacks like cakes, cookies, candy and pies as they have compounds that can create more trouble. Reduce salt intake as it can lead to bloating and women suffering from PCOS have a lot of water retention anyway. So excessive salt adds to their problem. Stay clear of salty snacks throughout the day if you feel peckish. Reduce alcohol consumption as it can add to the hormonal imbalance by increasing estrogen levels. 

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