Can Food Help Improve PCOS?
Poly cystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder in women and a leading cause of infertility. PCOS has no cure and has yet to be clearly understood of its pathogenesis. Although research suggests a genetic composition, many women are looking for answers to help manage the condition.
For any women being told by a specialist that your chances of conceiving naturally are limited or nonexistent with the options of assisted reproductive treatments that are thwart with emotions consistent of being on a roller coaster cannot be underestimated.
It is hardly surprising that women diagnosed with PCOS have the desire to take control by researching the condition and try many treatments in the hope that something will alleviate or control the symptoms with hopes of pregnancy.
The infertility rate for those with PCOS is very high with the latest research suggesting up to 15% of women are effected by the modern condition. For those wanting a family usually require assisted treatment such as ovulating drugs or IVF to help achieve pregnancy.
As a natural fertility expert, clinician and scientist I understand the concepts that science brings along with the clinical and natural methods of treatment for many gynecological disorders, and I have noticed an increase of patients who have been diagnosed with PCOS wanting to manage the condition using natural approaches including a change of lifestyle.
Nutrition is one that not only prevents nutrient deficiencies by ensuring sufficient vitamins, nutrients and minerals for cellular function for human growth and reproduction, but is key in promoting health and to reduce the diet associated long term chronic diseases such as diabetes type 2, vascular disease and cancer.
Insulin resistance is now recognised as a key factor in those with PCOS and nutrition is fast becoming a method in regulating its effects. Recent research shows that increased intake of protein against carbohydrates can help with the management of PCOS.
Equally there has been much interest and the effects of sugar within our diet, and many of those with PCOS are adapting to a reduced sugar diet to help manage the long term insulin effects associated with PCOS.
In clinical practice I have treated many patients with PCOS who increased protein in their diet with great results from having 94 to 32 day cycles over a period of time who then fell pregnant naturally with live births without complication. However, PCOS is a modern and complex syndrome and we have yet to clearly understand the effects of our modern lifestyles.
However food is one way that you can manage PCOS. High-fiber foods can help combat insulin resistance by slowing down digestion and reducing the impact of sugar on the blood. This may be beneficial to women with PCOS. Great options for high-fiber foods include:
¥ cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts
¥ greens, including red leaf lettuce and arugula
¥ green and red peppers
¥ beans and lentils
¥ sweet potatoes
¥ winter squash
Lean protein sources like, chicken, fish don’t provide fiber but are very filling and a healthy dietary option for women with PCOS.
Foods that help reduce inflammation may also be beneficial. They include:
¥ almonds and walnuts
¥ olive oil
¥ fruits, such as blueberries and strawberries
¥ fatty fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and sardines
Foods to avoid include
Refined carbohydrates cause inflammation, exacerbate insulin resistance, and should be avoided. These include highly processed foods, such as:
anything made with white flour
Pasta noodles that list semolina, durum flour, or durum wheat flour as their first ingredient are high in carbohydrates and low in fiber. These should be removed from the diet.
Pastas made from bean or lentil flour instead of wheat flour are an excellent alternative.
Sugar is a carbohydrate and should be avoided wherever possible. When reading food labels, be sure to look for sugar’s various names. These include sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, and dextrose. Sugar can also lurk in the things you drink, such as soda and juice.
It’s a good idea to reduce or remove inflammation-causing foods, such as french fries, margarine, and red or processed meats from your diet as well.