September is PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) month! PCOS is a reproductive issue caused by a hormone imbalance. This “silent disorder” is one of the most common hormonal disorders in women. It affects about one in 10 women of childbearing age, and it can cause some challenging symptoms like infertility, weight gain, hair growth, mood disorder, high blood sugar, metabolic disorder and more.
Nutrition has a profound impact on your hormones and switching the foods you eat can help you relieve symptoms of PCOS, lose weight, and re-balance your hormones for fertility and more energy. Even a small amount of weight loss in women can dramatically improve your PCOS symptoms, and experts consider lifestyle modifications like diet, exercise and stress management to be the best way to relieve PCOS.
If you have PCOS, try following these four well-researched nutritional principles. You may be surprised by how good they make you feel.
Cut out sugar and refined carbs
About 70% of PCOS women also have insulin resistance, which is when your cells struggle to regulate insulin and blood sugar properly. Insulin resistance drives weight gain and also makes it very hard to lose weight.
Cutting out refined carbs(white flour, white rice, etc.) is one of the best ways to control your insulin levels and lose weight. Women with PCOS who ate a higher-fat, lower-carb diet saw a more than 30% decrease in their insulin levels, compared to those who ate a higher-carb, lower-fat diet.
Eat plenty of protein
Calorie for calorie, protein is the most filling macronutrient –more so than fat or carbs. High-protein diets are great for weight loss in women without causing hunger, and that weight loss can make a significant difference in your PCOS symptoms. Experts suggest aiming for 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight (for example, 120 grams/day for a 150-lb. person). That may be more protein than you’re used to eating, but it can make a big difference in how you look and feel, especially if you have PCOS.
Get more healthy fats
In a 2015 study, women who switched to a low-carb, high-fat diet lost significantly more weight than women eating a higher-carb, low-fat diet . A significant portion of their weight loss was belly fat, and they also maintained muscle mass better than women in the high-carb, low-fat group did. Finally, the low-carb, high-fat group enjoyed more balanced metabolic hormones, which help with both weight loss and PCOS symptoms. Some of my favorite healthy fats are:
Increase fiber from fresh veggies
Women with PCOS who ate more fiber had lower body fat (especially belly fat and thigh fat) and more stable insulin levels than those who ate less fiber. Fresh vegetables and low-sugar fruits are the best sources of fiber. You get more bang for your buck by adding in more of the green leafy veggies as they will help to detox your body, in turn encouraging your hormones to level out. Aim for 6-10 servings of vegetables and low-sugar fruits a day. Good options are:
For PCOS relief, the best place to start is diet. Try these four dietary changes and see how you feel. Even losing just 5-10% of your total body weight can make a big difference. If you’re struggling to stick to a healthier diet, don’t beat yourself up! Change is hard. Start with any one of the four strategies, then add another once you feel comfortable with the first. Slow, steady changes in your day-to-day life can lead to massive improvements over time.
Change is hard! What if you had a strategy, personalized to meet your needs and fit your lifestyle, from a trained healthcare expert who's been where you are and who will empower you to become all you want to be? NOW, that would be EASY. Click here to schedule your free discovery call.