PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) is defined as a condition which involves an imbalance of female sex hormones. This condition may lead to menstrual cycle changes, cysts in the ovaries, infertility and other health changes. Most of the time, PCOS is diagnosed in women in their 20s or 30s however, it may also affect teenage girls.
PCOS usually leads to higher than normal blood sugar levels that interfere with normal egg development each month.
When I meet with new clients, I often suggest the following:
- Eliminate/reduce high carbohydrate intake and high glycemic loads. A low-GI diet consists of eating foods that cause little changes to insulin levels such as whole grains, vegetables and fruit.
Limiting processed foods and foods with added sugars
- Add more whole-grain products, fruits and vegetables to your diet
High fiber foods such as spinach, broccoli, brown rice, high-fiber cereal and low-sugar drinks can help reduce this risk.
9 times out of 10, I am usually suggesting Whole Grains including: quinoa, amaranth, kasha, brown basmati rice, beans and pulses, low starchy vegetables and fresh fruit in moderation. Instead of eating 3 large meals, try eating 5 or 6 small meals and snacks every 3 hours to help keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day.
Note for Vegetarian/Vegans: Adopting a well balanced, vegan diet can be especially beneficial to women with PCOS, since a well balanced, vegan diet is free of dietary cholesterol, high in dietary fiber, legumes and vegetables which can significantly lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Cinnamon: 1 tsp a day which has been shown in studies to reduce insulin resistance.
- Exercise – High Intensity Interval Exercise (i.e. short bouts of intense exercise interspersed with a recovery period) more effective than Steady State Exercise (i.e. steady exercise of moderate intensity) for fat loss.
This helps to lower blood glucose (sugar) levels, improve the body’s use of insulin, and normalize hormone levels in your body. Even a 10 percent loss in body weight can restore a normal period and make your cycle more regular.
An active lifestyle with regular exercise can also help treat your PCOS. Start slowly and build physical activity into your daily life. Physical activity has an excellent impact on insulin and cholesterol levels, and helps you lose weight and keep it off.
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