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Hormone Balancing Foods For PCOS: What To Eat And Avoid

Are there such things as hormone balancing foods for PCOS? Despite the prevalence of PCOS, affecting one out of every ten women; this hormonal illness is mostly misunderstood and misdiagnosed, causing many women to suffer in ignorance. 

According to studies, PCOS is one of the most frequent conditions in women of reproductive age with an estimated frequency of 8-13 per cent. Whether you’ve recently been diagnosed with PCOS or have been suffering from it for years, there are a lot of options for managing and reducing symptoms.

What Is PCOS?

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PCOS, known as polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal condition that affects many women of reproductive age. This is when a woman’s ovaries produce an overabundance of the male hormone testosterone and a lack of the female hormone estrogen. Not only are the symptoms difficult to manage, but people with PCOS suffer from heart disease and diabetes, as well as finding it more difficult to conceive. The ovary of a woman diagnosed with PCOS produces a large number of follicles and fail to release an egg on a regular basis.

Although the cause of PCOS is not defined, there are some symptoms to always look out for. Most importantly, early treatment and diagnosis are important. These along with proper hormonal balancing diets can help manage the situation.

PCOS Signs And Symptoms

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Although PCOS can develop later in life, these signs and symptoms usually appear around the time of puberty’s first menstrual period. When you have at least two of these symptoms, you should be concerned.

  • Excessive hair growth (hirsutism) – generally on the face, chest, back, or buttocks 
  • Problem getting pregnant 
  • Fatigue
  • Acne
  • Mood swings
  • Pelvic pain 
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Headaches
  • Weight gain
  • Irregular periods
  • Sleep issues
  • Polycystic ovaries
  • Excess androgen

PCOS has also been linked to a higher chance of acquiring health issues later in life, such as type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. Menstrual cycles that are infrequent, irregular or protracted are the most common symptom. For example, you may have 5 periods per year or extremely heavy flows. It’s worth mentioning that signs and symptoms are more severe in those who are overweight.

Although the causes of the polycystic ovarian syndrome are not known, certain factors such as genes, inflammation and insulin resistance are associated with it.

  • Insulin resistance: Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that aids the body’s utilization of sugar from food for energy. When cells are unable to use insulin, the body’s demand for it rises. To compensate, the pancrease produces high amount of insulin. Extra insulin stimulates the production of masculine hormones by the ovaries.
  • Genes: PCOS is commonly associated with genes.
  • Inflammation: Inflammation levels in women are frequently elevated. Inflammation can also be exacerbated by being overweight. Excessive inflammation has been associated with increased androgen levels.

What Are Hormone Balancing Foods For PCOS?

Diet is an important aspect of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. To improve your symptoms and maintain or reach a healthy weight, include more of these expert-recommended food groups while avoiding others in your diet. When it comes to food and diet, there is rarely a “one size fits all” approach for hormonal disorders, and appropriate testing can assist decide which diet is most suited to your individual hormone levels

Always consult a hormone specialist for a diagnosis and advice before making any changes to your food or lifestyle to manage PCOS symptoms. Weight control and insulin production and resistance are two of the most important ways that nutrition impacts PCOS. It’s no news that some foods and beverages can give you energy while others can prevent you from living your best life. Others aid in the preparation of the body for sleep. Certain foods and herbs can help you feel less stressed, improve your mood, and support your digestion.

How Does Diet Affect PCOS?

While nutrition alone may not be the answer, often if a PCOS patient loses weight, their symptoms improve. This is because diet and nutrition play such a large role in weight management, therefore, paying attention to what you eat and modifying it as needed could help alleviate symptoms. Many women find that a low-carb, high-protein & high healthy fat diet is highly successful in helping them lose weight.

If you’re a PCOS patient, making dietary and lifestyle changes can help manage your symptoms and minimize your chances of developing other health problems. A few things to keep in mind:

  • Insulin levels are frequently reported to be higher than normal.
  • Blood sugar levels can rise if you don’t create enough insulin. 
  • If you have insulin resistance, your body may try hard to maintain your blood sugar levels normal by pumping put a lot of insulin.  
  • Insulin levels that are too high may cause your ovaries to create more androgens.
  • Insulin resistance makes it difficult to reduce weight, which is why patients frequently have this problem.

However, it’s not only about weight; the foods you eat can have a direct impact on your hormone production, so eating particular nutrients might help reduce hormonal issues. When considering hormone balancing foods, think about every area of your diet, from breakfast to supper. This is to ensure you’re eating a balanced diet with plenty of variety, which can make healthy eating much easier to stick to.

Examples Of Hormone Balancing Foods For PCOS

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When it comes to managing PCOS, there are certain hormonal balancing foods to include in your diet and some to avoid at all costs.

High-fibre Foods And Fruits

High fibre foods help slow digestion and lower the effect of sugar on the blood which also assists to prevent insulin resistance and helps restore ovulation. Examples of high-fibre foods include broccoli, cauliflower, beans, lentils, almonds, sweet potatoes and pumpkin.

Leafy Greens

Green leafy vegetables are an excellent choice no matter what diet you’re on. They’re nutrient-dense and low in calories, so they’re great for both weight loss and nourishment. Green leafy vegetables, such as kale or spinach, have high quantities of Vitamin B, which is especially helpful. This vitamin has been connected to a number of symptoms like insulin resistance, difficulty getting pregnant, weight gain, excess hair and irregular periods.

Healthy Fats

From avocados to small oily fish, there are a plethora of good fats to include in your diet and these are crucial for eating. Essential fatty acids which are important for cell wall integrity are found in healthy fats. Not only that, but they’re essential for hormone balance and weight management.

Fertility and conception are two major concerns for women, and fatty acids play an important role in both of these processes. Omega 3, a fatty acid found in fish and flax seeds, is a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid.

Healthy fats help to:

  • Regulate Hormones
  • Reduce your body’s sensitivity to prolactin
  • Increase blood flow to the uterus
  • Increase egg white cervical mucus
  • Help regulate your menstrual cycle

Antioxidants

From berries to nuts, to green leafy vegetables and high quality dark chocolate, these foods are your friends. A good hormone balancing food for PCOS is antioxidants. Women have been found to have a greater level of oxidative stress, which can be mitigated by increasing their antioxidant intake. When picking these meals, it’s vital to consider their glycemic index (GI), as some fruits might produce an increase in blood sugar levels, which can have repercussions for related diabetes.

Wholegrains

PCOS patients are four times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and whole grains are strong in fibre, which can help control insulin levels. Slow-release carbs are found in high-fibre foods such as root vegetables, beans, nuts, low sugar fruits, and wholegrain black, red or wild rice. 

This means they release sugar into the bloodstream at a slower, more consistent rate, making them less likely to produce the blood sugar increases linked with type 2 diabetes.

Foods To Avoid

While it’s necessary to mention foods to eat, it’s also important to list foods worth avoiding or reducing intake if you’re a PCOS patient.

Processed Foods

The Glycaemic Index (GI) of processed foods is higher, which is linked to insulin production and diabetes. As previously stated, women with PCOS are more predisposed to diabetes, thus avoiding high GI meals, which are likely to cause a surge in blood glucose, is critical. Processed foods like biscuits, cakes, and ready-to-eat meals are included, as well as carbs like white potatoes, white bread, and white rice.

Unhealthy Fats

If there are healthy fats, then there are unhealthy fats too. We’ve already established that ‘good fats’ can help with PCOS control, while ‘bad fats’ have the reverse effect. 

Dairy items, such as milk or cheese, and non-organic processed red meats, as well as processed or fried foods, include saturated or hydrogenated fats. These bad fats can increase estrogen production, which can exacerbate PCOS symptoms, as well as lead to weight gain, which can exacerbate symptoms even more.

On a PCOS diet, you should avoid sugary drinks like soda and juice, as well as inflammatory foods like fries, margarine, crisps and processed meats.

While these foods are a big “no” for those diagnosed with PCOS, it’s best you speak to a nutritionist. They can recommend an eating plan that is right for you.

What To Do Next

“What’s next?” you might be wondering. You’ve gathered all of this information on hormone balancing foods for PCOS, but what should you do with it now? 

Before you do anything else, you should consult with a nutritionist about your alternatives. Many women with PCOS are told they need to change their diet, which is where this information comes in. However, you may also be given other options to go along with these food changes.

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