Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal imbalance that can make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight. Exercise and diet are vital to lessening the symptoms of PCOS and preventing obesity.
Women with PCOS often have higher levels of insulin, a hormone that helps turn the sugar you eat into energy. PCOS also causes women to be insulin resistant, meaning your body doesn’t use the insulin it creates. The result are symptoms like:
- Body hair growth,
- Polycystic ovaries,
- Irregular menstruation,
- Increased hunger,
- High cholesterol,
- Weight gain.
Link Between Food and Insulin
Since polycystic ovary syndrome is linked to insulin resistance, look for foods that do not cause a big spike in insulin. Specifically, eat foods with a low glycemic load. These foods release glucose slowly and steadily instead of all at once, immediately after consumption. Foods with a high glycemic load are good options for long-distance runners who need to restore energy to their bodies after strenuous exercise; they’re not great options for a mid-afternoon snack.
In fact, eating foods with high glycemic loads, like refined carbohydrates, compounds the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome. Refined sugars and carbs makes insulin resistance more difficult to control and symptoms worse.
Foods to Avoid
To lessen the symptoms of PCOS, avoid foods like:
- Sugary snacks and drinks like sodas and juices,
- Breads and pastries made with white flour,
- Boxed breakfast cereals,
- Processed meats and red meats,
- White potatoes and French fries,
- Pastas made with semolina or durum flour,
- Anything made with high fructose corn syrup.
Foods to Eat
Replacing highly refined carbs isn’t difficult. If you want pasta, use a variety made with lentil or bean flour. These don’t include the wheat flours that can cause a spike in insulin.
Also consider adding:
- High-fiber foods like broccoli,
- Bell peppers,
- Leafy greens,
- Lean proteins like fish, chicken and tofu,
- Beans and lentils,
- Sweet potatoes,
- Kale and spinach,
- Nuts like almonds and walnuts,
- Olive oil,
PCOS and Fertility
Polycystic ovary syndrome can cause infertility. It’s an extremely frustrating condition for couples trying to conceive a child. While dietary changes can certainly help lessen symptoms, a fertility evaluation is the best way to determine if another treatment option is right for you. For some couples, IUI, or artificial insemination, is the best alternative while others may opt for IVF, in vitro fertilization, to achieve their dreams of having a child.
Call today to schedule an appointment with our fertility experts. We would love the chance to discuss how fertility treatment can help you overcome infertility due to polycystic ovary syndrome.