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PCOS and Nutrition: Adapt your diet to control your symptoms

As an individual, understanding your own body is key to a healthy and productive lifestyle. Good nutrition is the primary factor that influences proper growth and development. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that mainly affects young women of childbearing age.

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Numerous cysts grow on the female ovaries, thus, affecting hormonal production that is responsible for menstruation and ovulation. PCOS diagnosis shows three main features; the presence of many cysts in the ovaries, the presence of androgen, a male sex hormone, and irregular or missed menstrual periods. The condition has many other symptoms apart from those listed, but they all depend on the individual because our bodies are different. There is no known cause of PCOS and no known cure, but a healthy diet can manage the symptoms. Many women who suffer from PCOS are overweight or obese. Lifestyle change and diet are the ultimate treatment for PCOS.

Doctors believe that the androgen hormone inhibits the female ovaries from functioning normally. The disorder is hereditary through genes, insulin resistance, and inflammation. It is necessary to understand the meaning of insulin resistance and if a diet can treat or manage PCOS. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas to regulate the sugar levels in the blood. The hormone works by taking up glucose from carbohydrates and distributing the glucose to cells throughout your body for energy. Insulin resistance means that your body cannot use the produced insulin properly, making the pancreas produce more insulin in the bloodstream. Excess insulin is responsible for producing androgen male sex hormones in the female ovaries. The liver, muscles, and fat tissues store the extra glucose. At this point, the condition's pathophysiology gets interesting. The fat tissues cause weight gain or obesity, common in women living with PCOS. So, how does a change in lifestyle and diet control help treat or manage PCOS? Let us find out.

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Eating a balanced, nutritious diet and exercising are beneficial in keeping blood sugars in check and weight loss. These are some of the lifestyle changes that a person living with PCOS should adopt. Change your diet by ditching the simple carbohydrates and sugars and consuming the complex carbohydrates, a lot of fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins. Why complex carbohydrates? They contain more natural fiber and other nutrients and take time to digest. In addition, the complex carbs are more filling making them ideal for weight control and helping manage blood sugar rise after meals keeping the insulin levels low. An excellent example of such carbohydrates is whole wheat and maize grains, brown rice, sorghum, and millet. Yes, we all agree, but you are probably wondering which diet is good for you as an individual because what works for another person may not work for you. As the saying goes, one man's meat is another man's poison.

It is not easy to come up with the correct diet to manage the PCOS symptoms, and thus, the diet needs to tailoring according to each person's symptoms and lifestyle. One can achieve this goal seamlessly with the help of a professional nutritionist. Any diet that aims at weight loss and lowering insulin in the bloodstream is the best for people with PCOS. It is a low glycemic index diet (GI). The Glycemic index is a ranking system that monitors how quickly glucose in the blood rises after eating carbohydrates. This is because carbohydrates are different and have different effects on blood sugars. Only foods containing high carbohydrates than fats are assigned the glycemic value. The glycemic index is rated low, medium, or high in reference to the absorption of 50 grams of pure glucose, which has a glycemic index value of 100. The recommended choice for people living with PCOS is the low GI value due to their slow digestion and absorption, resulting in a gradual rise in the blood sugar level.

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The insulin level will be balanced, which, in turn, will reduce and regulate the symptoms of PCOS. At this point, you want to know examples of foods with a low GI value. Well, we had mentioned earlier whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins. A ripe banana is a fruit, but once consumed will raise the sugar levels very fast. The above means that we have to understand the factors that affect the GI of a food or meal. The factors include the type of sugar the food contains, the structure of starch, the cooking method, ripeness level, nutrition composition, and carbohydrate processing level.

The riper the fruit, the higher the GI. The amount of food eaten is also a critical factor in determining how carbohydrates affect the level of sugar in the blood. This factor is taken care of by the glycemic load (GL), which accounts for the type of glycemic index and the quantity in grams per serving. The recommended total glycemic load in a day should be below 100. However, to ensure this aim is achieved effectively and easily follow a low GI diet and consume moderately.


It is also critical to understand your body and notice any problem earlier for a proper and early diagnosis. Irregular or missed menstrual periods are the first telltale signs of something amiss. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome affects women of reproductive age and has no known cause or cure, but adopting a healthy lifestyle can manage the many syndromes. Doctors believe that PCOS can be inherited or result from insulin resistance or inflammation. These, in turn, lead to the production of androgen, which is responsible for many PCOS symptoms. Adopting a tailor-made healthy balanced diet is key to managing or treating the disorder. Such is a low glycemic index diet and a low glycemic load meal. It contains complex carbohydrates that are slow to digestion and absorption, thus reducing the rate at which blood sugar rises.

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