What is PCOS? Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS is a common hormonal disorder occurring in 8-20% of women of reproductive age, some of them are not even diagnosed as they are not aware of the symptoms. As the name indicates many cysts mean "polycystic". Owing to hormonal imbalance, this condition triggers cysts in the ovaries. PCOS women might have prolonged menstrual cycles or irregular menstrual cycles. Women create more than average levels of androgens that can cause excessive body and facial hair growth or hair loss. The ovaries produce tiny follicles (fluid-filled sacs) and fail to release eggs on a regular basis. Women with PCOS might have difficulty during pregnancy. The frustrating part of this disorder is that the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but any member of the family (mother or sister) can have it as one of the reasons. The main reason can be harmful lifestyle factors like unhealthy food consumption or obesity. It can also be triggered if the body releases too much insulin, which can damage the ovaries and their ability to ovulate.
DIET DO'S & DON'TS OF PCOS
Ø Intake of Fruits in PCOS: You might have heard that women suffering from PCOS cannot include fruits as a part of their PCOS diet, but that’s not true. Fruits with a low glycemic index can be included in the diet which does not lead to a spike in blood sugar levels. Fruits such as cherries, apples, pear, strawberries, blueberries can be included in the PCOS diet.
Ø Eat your veggies: Eating your veggies is a part of a balanced diet but if you are diagnosed with PCOS it is even more important to include veggies in your diet. Vegetables provide antioxidants and fiber and are a low source of carbohydrates. Include nonstarchy vegetables in your diet such as carrots, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.
Try to make our plate more appetizing by adding herbs and garnishing’s on your veggies such as flavored olive oil or flavored herbs and spices. Different cooking methods can be used such as grilling, sauteing vegetables to make them more appealing. One can pair these fruits and vegetables along with a good source of protein such as hummus or peanut butter. Carrot sticks, apples, or broccoli can be eaten with hummus or Peanut butter to enhance its taste.
Ø Intake of Carbohydrates: You do not need to cut off carbohydrates totally, as carbohydrates provide fuel to the body and are a major source of energy, low sugar carbohydrates should be included to maintain insulin levels. Include low carbohydrate food such as whole grains, whole wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice. Avoid high sugar carbohydrates such as refined flour (Maida), white bread, white rice, etc. It can cause an imbalance in insulin levels.
Ø Avoiding Fatty food: Women suffering from PCOS think that the consumption of fatty food can make them fatter, but that’s not the case. Fats are important to balance insulin levels and provide fuel to the body, Include healthy fats such as omega-3 rich fats such as olive oil, nuts which can be beneficial for women suffering from PCOS. It also reduces the risk of heart diseases and supports healthy pregnancy.
ØAdequate intake of Protein: As women suffering from PCOS, eat fewer carbohydrates, therefore, consumption of adequate protein-rich food is beneficial as if you don’t consume the proper amount of proteins you will end up craving carbohydrates and sweets which further causes inflammation and insulin resistance.
Start your day with a protein-rich breakfast such as boiled eggs or an omelet with veggies. You can consume roasted Channa or makhanas as your evening snack to include protein in your diet.
Ø Skipping of Meals: A mistake If you are trying to shed some weight, skipping meals is not a good way to do so. Our body requires energy to work on a regular basis and if you skip your meals your blood sugar levels can fall. So, instead of skipping the meal try to consume a moderate amount of food every 2-3 hours. Include whole grains, nuts, veggies as they will make you feel full for a longer period. Ø Mindless Eating: If you find yourself mindlessly eating while feeling bored, stressed, emotional or while watching a movie, stop yourself. Eating when you are not hungry leads to weight gain. Try to consume proper meals whenever having your breakfast, lunch, or dinner as if you feel full your body won’t allow you to consume food at odd timings of the day.
SOME COMMON SYMPTOMS OF PCOS ARE: · Weight Gain · Heavy bleeding during menstruation · Hair loss · Excess hair growth on the body · Skin darkening
Women with this condition have a higher risk of heart disease, a metabolic syndrome that can cause stroke and damage to the heart, kidney, and brain. In certain cases, PCOS is often associated with depression and anxiety. Sleep apnea, a condition that leads to a frequent delay in breathing throughout the night that interrupts sleep and raises the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, may be another complication of PCOS. Endometrial cancer also called uterine cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the lining of the uterus. This lining is called the endometrium. Irregular bleeding or menstrual cycle leads to thickening of endometrium lining and an increase in estrogen level compared to progesterone increases the chances of endometrial cancer in women having PCOS. Adopting healthy lifestyle changes like Physical activity or moderate exercise activities such as brisk walking, yoga can help in lowering the risk of PCOS. A low-calorie balanced diet also helps in maintaining a healthy body weight and will reduce obesity and hence reduce the chances of lifestyle diseases.