PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) is an endocrine disorder that can inhibit fertility and is linked to increased insulin resistance, risk of diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Though the condition is usually diagnosed by a gynecologist, nutrition is on the forefront for controlling and improving symptoms!
Here are the top 5 ways that a dietitian can help you take control of your PCOS:
1. Learn how to eat a Carbohydrate Consistent diet.
An increased risk of insulin resistance means that your body may not be able to process glucose as effectively as it should, leading to elevated blood sugar levels that wreak havoc over time. Learn how to identify carbohydrates in your food, choose appropriate portions, and spread them evenly throughout the day to minimize risk of blood sugar spikes. Eating similar amounts of complex carbohydrates with each meal will keep your blood sugar steady.
2. Find your healthy body range.
If you are overweight or obese, even small reductions in body weight can help reduce symptoms. A dietitian can help you find a nutrition plan that will keep you satisfied but help you shed extra pounds in a sustainable way. Be sure to incorporate activity into your life, as well; about 30 minutes a day is a realistic goal to make a difference.
3. Consider choosing Low Glycemic Index foods.
The Glycemic Index (GI) of a food helps you determine how much it will spike your blood sugar. Though it’s not a perfect science, there’s research showing that lower-GI foods help improve some PCOS symptoms. The best part of following a low GI diet is that it naturally promotes things like whole grains and complex carbs rather than refined grains or simple sugars, which is definitely a worthwhile diet shift.
4. Conquer your blood lipids.
Women with PCOS are more likely to have elevated levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, which are strong predictors of cardiovascular disease later in life. Choose lean proteins, plant based oils, nuts and seeds, and reduced-fat dairy (or small portions of regular dairy) to avoid saturated fats which can exacerbate those blood fats. Try to limit your intake of fatty processed meats, fried foods, butter, lard, heavy cream, and highly processed foods.
5. Learn if supplements could be right for you.
Certain supplements have been linked to improvement in PCOS symptoms, so your dietitian can help you decide if they are the right path for you. Inositol is perhaps the most popular of these molecules, as its linked to improvements in insulin resistance, blood lipids, and fertility. Other more common supplements including Vitamin D and fish oil may also help improve insulin and blood lipid imbalances.
If you are struggling with your PCOS and are looking for more nutritional guidance, contact The Peoples Plate for in-person or virtual counseling and get a jump start on improving your health!