Did you know that 1 in 5 Indian women suffer from PCOS?? Now isn’t that a staggering number! But it’s true as revealed by an inclusive study on Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or Polycystic Ovarian Disease trends in young women in India.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome a.k.a. PCOS is a common health problem caused by an imbalance of the reproductive hormones. PCOS is characterized by the overproduction of androgen testosterone (male hormone), menstrual abnormalities when ovulation does not occur, and enlarged ovaries containing multiple small follicles.
Due to menstrual irregularities, excess of androgens, total and abdominal fat and insulin resistance make women prone to diabetes and cardiovascular disorders.
What causes PCOS?
The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but it is believed that the excess production of male hormones stops ovaries from releasing normal eggs. Obesity, insulin resistance and genes may also be a causative factor to contribute to this condition.
Symptoms of PCOS
Some women start depicting the symptoms of PCOS during their first menstruation cycle whereas others only discover they have PCOS once they have gained weight or face infertility issues.
The common symptoms of PCOS are
- Irregular periods
- Heavy bleeding
- Facial hair growth
- Weight gain
Role of diet and lifestyle for PCOS
PCOS is a sign that your body is no longer sensitive to insulin and there is an underlying hormonal chaos in your system. Medication may help resolve some of the symptoms, but diet and lifestyle changes have been proven to be the best therapy for treating the symptoms and reversing PCOS
Here are some diet and lifestyle changes that can prove beneficial
- Consume whole foods
Say no to packages, processed and refined foods completely. Whole foods are closest to their natural state and are power packed with nutrients. Whole foods are at the peak of nourishment and provide your body with nutrients essential to maintain optimum health. Swap your packaged soups, fruit syrups, cola, frozen pizzas and everything that pretty much comes in a box with fresh produce like fruits, veggies, vegetable juices, home-made dressings etc.
- Have foods with low GI (Glycemic index)
One of the simplest ways to tackle insulin resistance is eating foods with low glycemic index. Low GI carbs trigger your pancreas to produce lesser insulin and a slow release of sugar into your bloodstream. It prevents blood sugar spikes in your body and is crucial in treating insulin resistance. Examples of low GI foods are apple, oranges, curd, spinach, peppers, cucumber, milk, etc.
- Include foods that reduce inflammation
Many women who suffer from PCOS are known to have chronic inflammation. Though inflammation is your body’s natural response to injury or hurt, chronic inflammation is harmful to your body. Fight inflammation by consuming essential fatty acids, cutting down refined food, increasing your antioxidant intake and by staying active!
- Stay active
Losing weight is the first line of treatment for combating PCOS. Staying active and eating well help you balance your hormones and manage your weight. Starting to walk more can be an ideal start to managing PCOS. Learn about it here!
- Consume fats of the good kind
Fat does not make you fat! Essential fatty acids are crucial for our daily functioning and we must look at the good kinda fat for it. Try and make eggs (with the yolk!), flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, ghee, butter, fish, etc. a part of your daily diet and put an end to the big fat debate!
Now understanding food groups and sorting all this info could be tedious. But I wouldn’t worry much. Far away from the weight loss mantras and fad diets is an app that actually caters to condition-specific eating. Don’t believe me? Download the app here and let it worry about your eating preferences, metabolic profile, and taste.
Re-arrange your food groups, look at your nutrient profile, aim at your health goal and keep your taste buds alive; do all of this while you combat PCOS with just the touch of a button.
Akansha is the Founder and Consultant at Beyond the Weighing Scale. With a wide range of expertise and skills, she is adept to speak about nutrition, health, lifestyle management and physical activity. She is a popular food columnist, a passionate foodie, a health enthusiast, an avid traveller and a happy yogi.