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PCOS Diet: Manage the Disease and Symptoms Better

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Do you suffer from PCOS? Are you struggling to manage this condition but are not sure which foods could ease your discomfort and which will make things worse? If you have PCOS, you know symptoms are often varied and acute, making it difficult to pinpoint the source of your distress. There is an unbreakable link between your diet and overall health. Eating the wrong foods will obstruct your efforts to soothe your PCOS, making life considerably more difficult. If you are frustrated from trying to manage your symptoms to no avail, this is the time to learn about the best PCOS diet options to help you achieve revitalized health.

Table Of Contents

How Diet Impacts PCOS

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PCOS Facts

The term PCOS is short for polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition affecting women with an excess production of the hormones known as androgens. PCOS is usually characterized by erratic or nonexistent periods, along with highly cystic ovaries and fluctuating weight. In fact, about half of women who suffer from PCOS struggle with obesity, partially due to the hormone imbalance caused by the condition. Additional symptoms experienced by women with PCOS include excess body hair, acne, and balding. If not managed properly with the right diet, this disorder can lead to a host of other serious illnesses, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and endometrial cancer.

Key Considerations

If you have PCOS, it is highly likely that you are experiencing imbalanced insulin levels responsible for dictating how your body processes sugars. When your pancreas is not making enough insulin, your blood sugar levels can spike rapidly. Alternatively, if your body is not properly handling the insulin it is producing, you may develop insulin resistance, leading to your ovaries releasing higher amounts of androgens. Your ability to manage your insulin and blood sugar levels correlates directly with your PCOS diet. If your body is not releasing and processing insulin correctly, foods high in unhealthy carbohydrates will spike your blood sugar levels, leading to an increase in symptoms and ultimately weight gain.

Foods to Eliminate

Foods to avoid
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To follow an effective PCOS diet, there are key foods that need to be removed from your diet in total. If you eat foods containing high amounts of processed carbohydrates, like muffins or white bread, these need to go. Stay away from sugar-filled drinks, snacks, or desserts. The starch in white flour and white potatoes will hit your bloodstream and turn straight to sugar, so these foods should be avoided. Highly processed red meats, fast food, and fried foods increase your inflammation and should be eliminated. Pay close attention to labels on the food you buy, looking out for hidden sources of sugar like dextrose or sucrose.

Foods to Focus On

An anti-inflammatory PCOS diet replaces starchy and unhealthy carbohydrate food sources with complex starches like fibrous vegetables, low-fat protein sources, and foods rich with antioxidants such as tomatoes. Increasing your fiber intake may improve your insulin resistance, as foods high in these nutrients take longer to digest, hitting your blood sugar far more slowly and keeping insulin levels even. Fibrous vegetables like peppers, leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are fantastic options. Focus on protein-rich sources like beans, lentils, fish, and nuts. You can enjoy a bounty of other plant foods on the PCOS diet, including berries, winter squash, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes. These foods work to fight inflammation, which is the key factor in controlling your PCOS.

PCOS Diets to Consider

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The Protein-Packed Diet

Several PCOS diets focus specifically on protein sources to reduce inflammation, balance insulin levels, and achieve a healthy weight loss. Rather than limiting your caloric intake, the protein-packed PCOS diet allows you to eat more protein, causing you to become fuller faster. This not only fuels weight loss efforts but provides you with energy sources that hit your digestion slowly and do not spike blood sugar levels.

The Low Glycemic Index Diet

Another popular approach to the PCOS diet is to focus on foods low on the glycemic index. In removing unhealthy starches and foods high in processed carbohydrates from your diet, you instead make selections that have the least impact on your insulin levels and pack the most fiber in each serving. The higher food rates on the glycemic index, the greater its negative effect on your blood sugar will be. Selecting low glycemic index foods not only impacts your insulin and blood sugar imbalance for the better but can help you achieve a more regulated menstrual cycle and a loss of excess body fat.

The Inflammation-Fighting Diet

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Some doctors recommend a PCOS diet focused solely on fighting inflammation, to reduce the condition’s associated symptoms, enjoy weight loss, lower blood pressure, and achieve improved cholesterol. Inflammation-fighting foods can also balance out your metabolism and reproductive function. The anti-inflammatory PCOS diet focuses on foods low on the glycemic index rich with antioxidant properties, along with a healthy balance of essential fats, quality protein sources, and complex carbohydrates.

Best Foods for PCOS

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Root Vegetables

While we already discussed key food sources that will help you manage your symptoms, there are some that stand out above the rest and should be incorporated into any balanced PCOS diet. Root vegetables like carrots and beets pack far more nutrients per serving than plants that grow above the ground as they absorb the full spectrum of vitamins and minerals while developing under the soil. Carrots and beets fight inflammation and fungal overgrowth, two conditions which will worsen your symptoms considerably. The compounds contained within these vegetables instigate healing within the liver, restore damaged cells, and promulgate new tissue production.

Garlic

A staple of any well rounded PCOS diet, garlic is renowned for its exceptional healing and anti-inflammatory properties. It is useful for restoring circulatory function and negating the risk of heart issues that may develop from PCOS. Garlic contains significant amounts of the protein allicin along with nutrient-rich selenium. In fact, garlic improves the ability of your kidneys and liver to process toxins, enabling your body to release these elements and not let them build up in your system. One root of inflammation is your liver’s inability to process environmental toxins and fatty buildup effectively. Garlic stimulates liver enzyme production, which helps your body to ward off disease, eliminating toxins through waste production.

Apples and Avocados

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Fruits like apples and avocados will prove essential additions to your PCOS diet, as they detoxify your body and release harmful elements, strengthening your GI tract and immune system. The fiber content in apples makes them an ideal dietary staple to enjoy a hint of sweetness that will digest slowly and not impact your blood sugar levels negatively. Fiber is necessary to reduce fatty buildup, which can lead to circulation issues and heart disease. Not only are avocados tasty and nutritious, but they also contain considerable amounts of key vitamins and minerals that help your body achieve optimal function.  Avocados contain a nutrient-rich compound known as glutathione, which protects you from outside toxins, inhibits fat production causing damage to your ovaries, and reduces cancerous carcinogens.

Leafy Greens

No PCOS diet would be complete without plenty of leafy green vegetables. Foods like kale, cabbage, and lettuce work to soak up toxic elements in your body which are inflaming your ovaries and causing insulin upset. They are strong detoxifying agents, enabling your body to release and eliminate the fatty and harmful buildups damaging your system and worsening your condition.

Cold-Pressed Oils

It is crucial to incorporate quality fat sources into your PCOS diet, through cold-pressed oils like olive, flaxseed, or hemp oil. These oils also work to detox your body, reducing inflammation which is impeding your ability to manage your PCOS. These oils should not be consumed in excess, however, as even high amounts of good fat can cause liver buildup and prevent proper drainage. Exercise in moderation, and you will enjoy these rich oils in a variety of tasty PCOS-friendly dishes.

Citrus Fruits

citrus fruits
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One of the best categories of fruits to incorporate into your PCOS diet are those in the citrus family. Citrus fruits serve as a detoxifier and diuretic, helping your body to purge and process toxins effectively. Your immune system may suffer considerably as the result of PCOS. The high levels of Vitamin C contained in citrus fruits will go far to improve your overall health and fight the infections that often cause ovarian cysts to develop.

Green Tea

If you love nothing better than a soothing cup of hot tea, choose a green tea to add into your PCOS diet. Green tea detoxes your body, using antioxidants to eliminate the effects of harmful free radicals which are causing tissue damage and worsening your symptoms. In addition, the catechins in green tea help your liver achieve healthy function and support the elimination of toxins posing a threat to your ovarian health.

Gluten-Free Foods

Finally, when selecting foods to incorporate into your PCOS diet, you may wish to consider choosing gluten-free grains. Going gluten-free is unnecessary for some, but many individuals have an inability to digest gluten, which can increase inflammation and worsen PCOS symptoms. If this is the case for you, maintaining a gluten-free diet will be essential to achieving a strong and healthy liver that can process and release toxins. Rather than gluten-containing grains like wheat, barley, rye, and triticale, choose alternatives like quinoa, buckwheat, and millet. These fibrous options will have a minimal impact on your blood sugar levels and enable your liver to get rid of environmental toxins that are worsening your PCOS.

Conclusion

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A balanced PCOS diet includes the elimination of unhealthy starches, inflammatory food sources, and toxic fatty elements. Instead, incorporate foods high in fiber, low in simple starches, rich in lean protein, and packed with antioxidants and advanced nutritional profiles. Speak with your doctor regarding the PCOS diet that is best for you, so you can tailor a food plan that meets your health needs, eases your symptoms and reduces overall inflammation.

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