PCOS affects more than just our fertility. Our entire body, including our endocrine, metabolic, reproductive, psychological, cardiovascular, and digestive systems are all touched in some way by this syndrome. Therefore, there is not one specific diet for PCOS. It is important to work with your health care provider to determine which diet is best suited to you. However, at the core of any PCOS diet, supporting healthy glucose and insulin levels with blood sugar balanced meals is very helpful in reversing or even preventing symptoms such as hormonal dis-regulation and systemic inflammation.
Starting any kind of diet plan can be a struggle, so to help you on your way, here are a few tips to keep in mind and get you started:
1. Ditch processed foods. Swap in whole foods instead.
2. Avoid, as much as possible, white sugar (a tablespoon of maple syrup /day is a healthier alternative), dairy ( instead, try some of the great plant based alternatives), wheat and white flour products and artificial sweeteners.
3. Timing and regularity of meals is important to keep the circadian rhythm of your “clock genes” on track for your liver and metabolic health.
4. Breakfast should be the largest meal of the day, followed by a moderate lunch and a minimal dinner.
5. Never skip breakfast. Allow yourself a 13 hour fast overnight. So, eat your last meal of the day by 7pm and have a protein filled breakfast by at least 10am. Fasting until noon creates too much H-P-A axis stress for a woman with PCOS.
6. Each meal should be blood sugar balanced. Even snacks or “mini meals”. So, each meal and snack should include a good quality protein, either plant or animal based, a healthy fat such as half an avocado, coconut oil or olive oil, a mountain of veggies and nuts and seeds. It is important to feel full in order to minimize snacking throughout the day.
Keeping carbohydrates low shows a greater decrease in insulin resistance.
Become familiar with foods and food combining that have a low glycemic load.
7. Make sure you choose veggies from across the colour of the rainbow, for a healthy dose of polyphenols and antioxidants. Don’t get stuck eating the same thing every day. A healthy gut microbiome needs diversity.
8. Research has shown that women with PCOS have fewer types of gut bacteria and very different microbiomes than women without PCOS. So, it is important to eat probiotic rich foods and make sure you are getting at least 30gm of fiber /day.
9. Be aware of where(is it heavily sprayed) and what( pre- packaged foods, plastic drinking bottles) your food comes in.
Hopefully these tips help get you on your way to healing your PCOS!