A condition that stems from the formation of small cysts on the outer portions of enlarged ovaries is PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). PCOS occurs due to hormonal disorders in women, and dealing with the symptoms of this condition of ‘hormones going out of balance’ can be truly frustrating. Check the list of PCOS diet mistakes which should be avoided.
From acne invasion to irregular menstrual cycles, from insulin resistance to no periods at all, uncontrolled polycystic ovary syndrome can trigger some complications to the health of women. However, being selective about what you eat can help to control the severity of PCOS symptoms. Sure, you know you need to eat a healthy diet to improve your symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), but sometimes what you think is healthy may actually be sabotaging your good efforts.
12 Common PCOS Diet Mistakes
Here are common diet mistakes women with PCOS tend to make and how to fix them. Let’s find out the best practices regarding diet that can help to combat polycystic ovary syndrome.
1. Eating Too Much Fruit at Once
It’s a myth that women with PCOS should not eat fruit. Fruit provides important nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants that can actually lower insulin levels.
A big mistake I see women with PCOS make though is eating too much fruit at once. For example, they make a smoothie which includes several pieces or cups of fruit, thinking that fruits are healthy. This can be problematic as a fruit is a carbohydrate food source. Like other carbs, it is best to be spread out evenly throughout the day, such as one piece of fruit in a smoothie or with a snack, instead of all at once which will spike insulin and glucose levels. Coming to the second point of PCOS diet mistakes.
2. Refraining ‘Fattening’ Foods
If you try to stay away from high-fat foods, you may be making a big mistake that can backfire on your good eating habits.
The problem with this is that foods with fat in them don’t raise glucose and insulin levels as protein and carbohydrate foods do. If anything, fats help to stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels.
Foods that are rich in omega-3 fats are particularly beneficial to women with PCOS. As they can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, fight inflammation, and support a healthy pregnancy.
Government guidelines recommend Americans eat up to 30 percent of their total daily calories with fats and encourage the replacement of refined carbohydrates with healthy omega-3 fats.
3. Skipping Meals
If you’re trying to shed pounds, skipping meals is not the way to do it. Our bodies are designed to use food for energy. Going too long without food causes blood sugar levels to dip. If you experience “hangry” (becoming increasingly irritable or angry caused by lack of food), you know what I’m talking about. Usually, more food (calories) will need to be eaten to bring up that low blood sugar, which will only raise insulin levels more.
Instead of skipping meals, consume moderate amounts of whole grains, protein, and healthy fats at regular mealtimes.
4. Missing Out on Protein
Sometimes women with PCOS don’t eat enough protein. If you struggle to get in enough protein in your diet, try to focus on your protein meals, instead of carbohydrate foods.
5. Not Eating Enough (or any) Vegetables
There’s a reason why we are told to eat our veggies: vegetables provide antioxidants and fiber that can help PCOS and they are also low in carbohydrates.
If you are skimping on vegetables, eat the same ones, or don’t eat much of any, challenge yourself to add more. Aim for half of your plate to be non-starchy vegetables like carrots, spinach, green beans, and squash. Make vegetables more appetizing by using fresh herbs and spices, or flavored olive oil. Using different cooking methods (raw, roasted, sautéed) can also make eating your veggies that much more enjoyable.
6. You Only Drink Water
Water indeed plays a vital role in good health. Nowadays studies have confirmed that other beverages can count as fluid too, do provide some added benefits to women with PCOS that water doesn’t.
Green tea is loaded with antioxidants and has been shown to reduce insulin resistance and testosterone in women with PCOS. When added to an antioxidant-rich diet, green tea helped women significantly reduce their body fat as well as improve metabolic markers associated with PCOS.
Resveratrol, another antioxidant that’s found in red wine, was shown to lower testosterone and insulin levels in women with PCOS.
7. Eating Late at Night
If it’s after dinner and you’re feeling some hunger pains, it’s your body’s way of communicating to you that it needs energy.
If you find yourself mindless snacking while watching TV or doing other activities, put a stop to it. Try watching TV in a room further away from the kitchen, brushing your teeth, or having a cup of hot tea instead.
8. Add more lean protein
Food items such as chicken, tofu, and fish represent excellent sources of lean animal protein. Though these sources lack fiber, they are rich in protein that helps in making one feel full for extended periods of time while stabilizing blood sugar levels. A lean protein-rich diet is essential to reduce the effects of high levels of the male sex hormone androgen, which is responsible for the unpleasant side-effects of PCOS.
9. Opt for a fiber-rich diet
Patients with PCOS should opt for a diet rich in fiber. A high-fiber diet not only helps to eliminate the risks of a sudden increase in the blood sugar levels but also slows the digestion process. These factors often help the body to fight insulin resistance. Fresh vegetables and green vegetables help to lower the effect of sugar levels in the blood.
10. Don’t forget anti-inflammatory Foods
Opting for anti-inflammatory food is a must to drive the ideal PCOS diet. As inflammation is considered a part of the underlying mechanism of polycystic ovary syndrome, patients must consume foods that come with inflammation relieving properties. These foods include spinach, almonds, sardines, and turmeric. The regular consumption of these food items helps to restore the normal rhythms and processes inside the body.
11. Avoid refined carbohydrates
Pastries, waffles, rich cakes, and white bread abound in refined sugars. Patients of PCOS must avoid sources of refined carbohydrates. These carbohydrates are chiefly responsible for influencing insulin resistance. They sometimes cause irritation. Thus, health-conscious citizens and patients of PCOS must stay away from muffins, pastries, and white bread.
12. Exclude sugary drinks and foods
The excessive consumption of sugar is one of the causes of insulin resistance. This condition can influence and aggravate PCOS symptoms. Therefore, when planning your PCOS diet, make it a point to exclude sugary drinks and deep fried snacks at all costs.
There is no instant cure for polycystic ovary syndrome. However, selecting the right nutrition or diet one might be able to manage the problems due to PCOS and have a healthy and happy life. Avoid these PCOS diet mistakes in order to fight this disease.