PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), a medical condition that mainly affects women of reproductive age makes it difficult for them to conceive. In PCOS, there is an elevated production of androgen (especially testosterone) by the ovary. This hormonal imbalance often interferes with the ovulation process (the eggs either don't mature or are not released from the ovary) triggering infertility in the affected woman. While lifestyle changes and timely medical assistance can bring about improvement, switching to a healthy diet is often known to produce fruitful results. In this article, we will discuss the healthy dietary options to deal with PCOS and infertility.
Healthy Diet for PCOS and Infertility
There can be a host of factors that trigger the hormonal imbalance, one being your choice of foods.
Low Glycemic Foods:
- Foods that come with a high Glycemic Index (a glycemic index is a number that determines how rapidly the carbohydrates in our foods are broken down triggering a rise in the blood sugar level) of 70 or more can be extremely harmful.
- The higher the glycemic index, more will be the blood sugar and level of insulin in the body. The elevated insulin level can wreak havoc, disrupting the hormonal balance to a great extent. Thus, women with PCOS and fertility problems should consume foods that come with a low glycemic index (55 or less).
- Some of the healthy low glycemic foods include apples, cherries, plums, dried apricots, oranges, grapefruits, pear, almonds, yoghurt (low-fat), non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, sesame seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, oats, brown rice, and quinoa, to name a few.
Maintaining a healthy body weight:
This can go a long way to improve the symptoms and complications associated with PCOS.
- Overeating should be strictly avoided. Instead, opt for smaller meals at regular time intervals.
- Include high-fiber foods (broccoli, cauliflower) in the diet.
- Foods rich in minerals (potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, selenium) and vitamins (Vitamin B, C, E, and K), folic acid, can work wonders to alleviate the symptoms of PCOS.
- Enrich your diet with green leafy vegetables and foods that are rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.
- While consuming carbohydrates, make sure your diet also contains protein. Carbohydrates, when taken along with proteins, can avert a sudden rise in the blood sugar level.
Foods to be avoided by women with PCOS
- Drinking milk will only elevate the testosterone level further with deleterious consequences and is best left avoided.
- Foods that are rich in saturated and Trans fats (BAD FATS) such as meat, processed foods, margarine, doughnuts, dairy products (cream, cheese, butter), cooking oil (coconut oil, palm oil), aerated drinks and beverages, can aggravate the condition of PCOS and should be avoided.
- Soy milk is another unhealthy dietary option for women suffering from PCOS and infertility. Soy milk is known to cause a delay in the ovulation affecting the fertility.