PCOD is often related to diet and lifestyle. Women suffering from PCOD have been found to have higher insulin levels. Insulin is a hormone produced in the body that helps in converting sugar to energy. So, if insulin is not produced in sufficient quantity, then blood sugar level spikes up as well. This can also happen when someone’s body is resistant to insulin, due to which blood sugar rises and body pump more insulin to bring the blood sugar levels to the normal. Too much of insulin in the blood can cause ovaries to produce increased levels of androgens like testosterone which is a male hormone. Weight loss becomes a bigger issue if the body has elevated levels of insulin. Thus these are all related, and hence there is a need to keep a check on not only hormones but also blood sugar levels and body weight through a healthy diet and lifestyle to keep PCOD in control.
Any diet that is rich in refined carbohydrates like starchy and sugary foods can also make insulin resistance and hence make weight loss more of a problem. So let us have a look at what changes in diet can help you combat this problem.
High-Fiber Food: This is known to reduce insulin resistance. High fiber food slows down digestion and hence reduces the impact of sugar on blood. Thus it is helpful in women with PCOD. Best options of high fiber food include- cauliflower, broccoli, sprouts, Brussels, red leaf lettuce, red peppers, beans, lentils, almonds, berries, sweet potatoes, winter squash, pumpkin, etc.
Lean Protein: Lean protein sources like chicken, fish, and if you are vegetarian, then tofu is a healthy dietary option for women as they are very filling and provide fiber.
Anti-Inflammatory Food: Food items that reduce inflammation like tomatoes, turmeric, kale, spinach, almonds, walnuts, olive oil, fruits like, strawberries, and blueberries are very beneficial. Also, fatty fish like salmon and sardines, which are rich in omega-3-fatty acid, is recommended. Omega-3-fatty acid helps in reducing testosterone levels and thus regulate menstrual cycles. Fish oil capsules can be beneficial for those who do not consume fish. The omega-3 fatty acid has been proven to be beneficial in reducing menstrual irregularity and also improving insulin resistance.
Inositols: These are naturally produced in the body but can be taken externally from sources like fruits, beans, grains, and nuts. Insulin resistance is not only evident in normal PCOD women, but it can also be witnessed in Lean PCOD women too. A lot of studies have shown that inositols help reduce insulin resistance and thus reduce testosterone levels and other hormone levels, which in turn improve skin conditions like acne or abnormal hair growth. In lean PCOD women, they also help regulate the menstrual cycles and improve fertility.
Vitamin D: Recent studies have shown that 3 out of 5 women are deficient in vitamin D that are facing PCOD problem. Vitamin D plays a vital role in glucose metabolism, fertility, and inflammation. Although Vitamin D is present in our daily diet also but to cover the deficiency after consulting your dermatologist, one can opt for vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D is also known to decrease testosterone levels and hence improves menstrual irregularity.
Which food items should be avoided in the diet?
Food items that are high in refined carbohydrates like white bread, muffins, and pasta, as they can cause inflammation and hence accelerate insulin resistance. Thus they should be avoided or limited up to a great extent.
1. Highly processed food, including sugary desserts, white potatoes, or food items made of white flour, should be avoided.
2. Processed food like pasta, noodles, semolina, durum wheat flour are the ones with high carbohydrates and low fiber. This should be reduced or removed from the diet.
3. One can opt for pasta made from lentil or beans an alternate to this.
4. Sugary drinks and snacks. Sugar is a carbohydrate that is a must avoid in the diet. Read food labels properly as sugar can be present in various names, like – sucrose, high fructose, dextrose. Also, sugary and carbonated drinks like soda and juices should be avoided.
5. Avoid inflammatory food items like processed meat or red meat. Nothing can be better than reducing inflammation-causing food like margarine, fries, etc.
Except for the dietary changes, a slight change in lifestyle for good can be really beneficial for PCOD women. A proactive lifestyle proves to be a boon to PCOD, just like it does to many other disorders. This includes daily physical activity and exercise. It helps in reducing insulin resistance and benefits more if coupled with limited intake of refined carbohydrates. Studies have shown that 150 minutes of exercise in a week is perfect for improving the condition in terms of weight loss and improved fertility. Stress reduction activities that help to calm the mind like meditation and yoga are proven to reduce the effects of PCOD. There are certain yoga poses that are more beneficial for PCOD patient.
For Lean cysters resistance exercise is a good option. This helps in reducing androgen levels and improves menstrual irregularity without affecting the weight. It is advisable to get regular checkups for glucose and insulin levels and maintain a healthy weight. Certain yoga poses also claim to help in PCOD patients.
More often than not, PCOD is diagnosed when the patient visits a dermatologist for a concerning skin issue. If you are dealing with any of the aforementioned skin issues, do visit your dermatologist.
Keep Healthy Keep Glowing!