PCOS is the most common endocrine disorders affecting women of reproductive age. It results in increased androgens (male hormones) and irregular menstrual cycles and is the main cause of female ovulatory infertility. Patients with PCOS have increased risk of type 2 diabetes due to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.
Changes in diet and lifestyle have been shown to reduce the risk for disease and improve symptoms among women with this condition.
Given below are some nutrition and lifestyle tips to improve the symptoms of PCOS:
- Choose whole grains—they provide more fiber than processed grains—which can lower insulin resistance.Whole grain sources include wholewheat, bulgur, amaranth, barley, buckwheat, oats, brown and wild rice, quinoa and corn.
- Eat a colourful variety of fresh fruits and vegetables every day to get a wide range of protective nutrients. For example, accessorize salad greens with tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, red onions and bell peppers.
- Consume dark leafy greens like mustard greens and spinach.These foods are rich sources of iron, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
- Limit sugar-sweetened beverages and foods like desserts. A high sugar content in the diet increases insulin resistance.
- Engage in moderate intensity aerobic activity and strength training on most days of the week for weight loss and maintenance.
- If overweight, weight loss of 5 to 10% of total body weight has been shown to improve insulin resistance and other symptoms of PCOS.