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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Diet

Updated on February 14, 2016

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a condition in which a woman’s hormones are out of balance.Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome have small cysts on their ovariries,hence it’s called polycystic ovarian syndrome.These cysts are not harmful but if left untreated their longterm effects can lead to serious health conditions.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is largely a metabolic condition commonly linked with insulin resistance.There's also a tendency to over-activity or over-production of androgens, with erratic ovulation. Treating Insulin resistance and glucose intolerance helps with management of polycystic ovarian syndrome.Most women, suffering from Pcos can benefit from losing weight. Often reducing just ten pounds decreases some of the unwanted symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome.Treating insulin resistance and reducing weight by following an effective low fat diet is the safest and most effective way to control Polycystic Ovarian syndrome.Symptoms of PCOS can be:

  • failure to menstruate
  • failure to ovulate
  • acne
  • hirsutism
  • Obesity

women with PCOS might have one, any or all of these symptoms.Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome has seven times the risk of heart attack and cardiovascular diseases as compared to healthy women.When these women reach the age of 40,almost 40 % will have developed type 2 diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance.So,it's very important that you bring lifestyle changes early on if you are suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.


Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Diet

Studies have shown that dietary changes play an important role in controlling polycystic ovarian syndrome. Women with PCOS may need to adopt a strict eating pattern similar to that of the hypoglycemic diet. So, What you really should consider if you are suffering from poly cystic ovarian syndrome is:

  • The type of carbohydrate that you eat
  • The type of fats
  • Regularity of meals
  • Including enough fiber in your diet
  • Proper intake of magnesium and chromium micronutrients
  • Including Phytoestrogens

If you are overweight, then besides maintaining a healthy diet,it's also important that you reduce the amount of caloric intake.But don’t restrict calories so much, that you are unable to stick to your diet.A less restricted diet, that is sustainable ,and that you can stick to is the best option.

To reduce weight effectively and to keep it off,you need to reduce the amount of carbohydrates and fats.But you don’t have to be very strict on yourself.Just reduce the amount of refined carbohydrates.Other carbohydrates like those in apples,whole bread,pears are good for health and you should eat them.

Carbohydrates that are not refined have low GI and are much better options for overweight people and those desiring good health.They are digested slowly ,blood sugar spikes does not happen,instead more satiation and reduction in appetite occurs over longer periods.You can further increase these beneficial effects by sprinkling a spoonful of vinegar or lemon juice on your food.

GI or glycemic index is the measure of blood sugar raising potential of a food. For women suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome,foods whose GI is less than 55 are ideal .Because such foods often contain amylose a type of starch, that’s digested very slowly, thus preventing blood sugar abnormalities and obesity.

Besides foods with low GI,for women,phyto-estrogens are especially important because they have a beneficial effect on menstrual cycle.They reduce the risk of estrogen responsive cancers and also decrease the severity and frequency of menopausal symptoms.Studies have shown that Asian women are at lower risk for developing breast cancer than western women because they eat traditional diet and thus excrete more estrogens.

In women suffering from polycystic Ovarian syndrome,Phyto-oestrogens along with fiber decrease the blood sugar abnormalities and make the androgens less available biologically thus also reducing the severity of symptoms caused by excess of androgens.

Ruth Trickey,Australian Naturopath writes,

‘’Cutting down fat intake, especially of saturated fats, is essential to reduce kilo joules. Monounsaturated fats and foods containing omega-3 EFAs are important substitutes. Increasing foods high in chromium such as whole grains, brewer’s yeast, high fiber cereals and black pepper is useful, as well as increasing foods that are a rich source of magnesium. Weight loss should be achieved by reducing the type and volume of carbohydrates, and a ratio of one serve of carbohydrate to one serve of protein is a suitable way to achieve this. For simplicity, one serve of either carbohydrate or protein can be equated to the size of the palm of the individual’s hand.’’

The most effective and safer management of polycystic ovarian syndrome is dietary change. Eating foods with low GI and rich in nutrients is desirable.You should strictly adhere to diet for at least a month and then relax the routine slightly,so that it's more sustainable and easier to stick to.


Foods with Low GI index that are good for Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome


  • Pumpernickel
  • Sourdough rye
  • Basmati Rice
  • All beans and lentils
  • Rice bran
  • Soy milk
  • Low fat milk
  • Low fat yogurt
  • Apples,pears,strawberry
  • Apricot,watermelon,peach
  • plum,blueberries,cantaloupe
  • Grapefruit, oranges, lemons and limes
  • Fish(esp Salmon) High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids(Stay away from the breaded and deep fat fried variety)
  • Tomatoes
  • wholegrain breads and cereals
  • Pearled barley
  • Doongara
  • Semolina
  • Bulgur wheat
  • Porridge
  • Unsweetened muesli
  • Most pasta and noodles( except corn pasta and rice noodles)
  • Tofu and tempeh
  • All vegetables except potatoes (limited amounts of sweet potato or yam can be used as an alternative)
  • Nuts(walnuts and flax seeds, also contain omega-3 fatty acids)

Poly cystic ovarian syndrome diet:Breakfast
Poly cystic ovarian syndrome diet:Breakfast | Source


• Fruit with yogurt, ground seeds and almonds.

• Homemade muesli: oats, triticale, rice flakes, rolled barley, rice bran, coconut, seeds, and crushed almonds or cashews. Add soya milk and fresh fruit and, low-fat yogurt or milk as desired.

• Whole grain bread toast with nut butters ,egg or hommus

• Cooked cereal: e.g. rice , oats or buckwheat, with a selection of seeds.

Morning, afternoon or supper snack

• Small container of low-fat yogurt.

• Mixed nuts and seeds.

• Soya milk with nuts and seeds .

• Tuna,Avocado and balsamic vinegar dressing.

• Whole grain dry biscuits with nut butters or hommus.

Energy drink: Blend together:, 1⁄2 cup low fat yogurt, 1⁄2 cup fresh fruit, and seeds with almonds, and/or lecithin and wheatgerm.

Poly cystic ovarian syndrom diet:Lunch
Poly cystic ovarian syndrom diet:Lunch | Source


  • Vegetable soup with cheese,yogurt or a combination of beans and grains.
  • Mixed vegetable salad with protein—either cheese, fish, hommus,meat or other appropriately combined vegetable proteins.Add a cup of green tea
  • Salad sandwich with protein as above.
  • One of the dinner choices below.


• Bean and grain dish: e.g.stir-fry vegetables with rice and tofu, , tortilla and beans, dhal with vegetables and rice, buckwheat noodles with vegetables and tempeh, vegetable soup with barley and red kidney beans.

• Grain and nut meal: e.g. steamed vegetables with rice and peanut sauce,pasta and pesto sauce (wheat and pine nuts),stir-fry vegetables with cashew nuts.

• Meat or fish with plenty of vegetables.

• Beans and seeds: many of the Middle Eastern vegetarian meals are based on this principle, e.g. felafel and hommus.

Meal sizes should be reduced so that the overall food intake does not increase above normal: three normal-size meals should be replaced with six snack size meals.

Poly cystic ovarian syndrom diet:dinner
Poly cystic ovarian syndrom diet:dinner | Source

Some general guidelines

  • Eat small amounts of protein regularly at meals and with snacks.
  • Avoid sweetened drinks
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid cigarettes. Smoking causes various health hazards .Cigarettes are loaded with chemicals that carcinogens.Studies have shown that Women who smoke have higher androgen levels than women who don’t and this may contribute to poly cystic ovarian syndrome symptoms.
  • Eat small, frequent meals spread throughout the day.
  • Eat only whole grain foods. Avoid white flour and refined cereals.Fiber is essential for good health and it helps in losing weight fast.It’s no longer considered indigestible or unbeneficial part of food.Fiber Lowers the risk and severity of diabetes,gallstone,poly cystic ovarian syndrome and cardiovascular diseases.A high fiber diet lowers the risk rate of breast and colon cancer.
  • Always eat breakfast.
  • Avoid juices whether fresh or processed.Instead of drinking juices try to eat whole fruit with fiber
  • Drinking water is vital for good health.You should drink at least two liters of plain water every day and this amount of water should increases in hot weather or when exercising.A dry mouth is an indication that dehydration has already started.When you start drinking over two liters of water every day you will feel that you feel hungry less often,are energetic for longer periods and feel satisfied more.Drink water at least half an hour before meal and an hour after.
  • Avoid all sugar,dried fruit and honey.
  • Do not count The amount of water in fluid such as tea,coffe or alcohol as a means of hydration.Actually these drinks are dehydrating.Fruit juices whether fresh or processed are high in sugar and should be avoided.Don’t think that fresh juice is organic and fresh so it will not spike your sugar level and make you fat.
  • Drinking green tea is good for health and you should include it in your diet.It reduces the risk of developing esophagus, stomach, large intestine and liver cancer.But don't use it as an alternative to plain water.It should be an addition to the amount of fluids that you take not a replacement of plain water.
  • Avoid all chocolate and cola drinks.
  • Instead of vigorous, stressful physical activity,exercise lightly and regularly.


Some additional measures to take if you are a health enthusiast:

Animal protein is complete so meals containing eggs,fish or meat or milk products provide first class protein but when you are taking your protein from plant sources ,you should combine different plant food products to get the same quality of protein as animal protein.

Ginger, cardamom, cumin and coriander are very good for these herbs should be taken with food.warming spices speed up sluggish metabolism and reduce nausea,belching and can boil ginger in water to make a nutritious herbal tea or brew in ordinary black tea to help with digestion.

• Avoid excessive consumption of heated oils: When oil is heated it causes oxidation of oil or free radical formation. consuming such oil increases the risk of developing cancer.

• Rediscover alternatives to cooking with oils: Food can be cooked with a little water or dry fried in a nonstick pan.Instead of roasting fish and vegetable in oil they can be baked.

• Add oils after cooking and before serving: Food with a small amount oil taste better and feels more satisfying.Instead of cooking food in oil add oil after can make a dressing or sauces of olive oil, linseed, safflower and canola and add before serving.This will make you feel more satisfied and full when eating foods baked or steamed or poached.

• Make your own spreads: Good and more healthy alternatives to butter and margarine can be made from tahini avocado, yogurt, nut butters ,chickpeas vegetable-based dips.

• Store oils carefully: Omega-3 and omega-6 oils must be treated carefully so that there nutrient value is not lost.These Oils can be easily damaged.To get the maximum nutrient value from these you oils you should buy them in small quantities as unrefined oils,hand pressed and in dark or opaque bottles so that they are not affected by heat light or oxygen.These oils should not be used in cooking instead stored in refrigerator and used as salad dressings or added to food before serving.

By following a low GI food diet ,exercise and abstinence from drugs and alcohol,you will be giving a new life to your body and it will thank you for it.


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