PCOS Diet Guidelines
Gluten disrupts your already imbalanced hormone system
Gluten containing products are often refined with a high glycemic load and will probably cause a spike in your insulin levels
Gluten intolerance causes chronic inflammation and could be contributing to your insulin resistance.
Read the Wheat Belly
2. Balance your daily protein with equal amount carbohydrates – follow a Paleo Diet
This will help to eliminate the insulin yo-yo. When you eat equal amounts of proteins and carbohydrates this helps to keep your insulin at a balanced level, thus increasing your fertility.
Make sure the proteins you are eating are complete and organic. Organic meats and dairy contain essential fatty acids and will not contribute to any hormonal imbalances.
Use this cook book – Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach To Health And A Whole-foods Lifestyle by Diane Sanfilippo
3. Eat foods low on the glycemic index and glycemic load list
Blood glucose rises and then falls when you eat a meal containing carbs. How high it rises and how long it remains high depends on the kind of carbs (glycemic index GI) and the amount you ate (glycemic load GL). Low glycemic index foods are carbohydrates that break down slowly in the body, and don’t cause such a dramatic spike and then drop in insulin levels. The glycemic load takes into consideration the amount of the glycemic index food you consumed and how that affects your blood sugar. The glycemic load combines both the quality and quantity of carbohydrate into one ‘number’. It’s the best way to predict blood glucose values of different types and amounts of food.
The serving size of the amount of carbohydrates consumed really matter here. Be sure to eat no more than 100g of low glycemic index carbohydrates a day if you have insulin resistant PCOS and are overweight. Increase the amount of low glycemic index carbohydrates consumed a day to over 100g if you are thinner or underweight.
Some examples of low glycemic index foods are:
- Kale, broccoli, asparagus
- Beans and lentils
- Unprocessed foods
- Grapefruit and apples
- Walnuts and almonds
Processed carbohydrates that break down quickly are likely to make the insulin levels jump dramatically.
Avoid foods that have a high glycemic index such as sugary and starchy foods: pancakes, syrups, sugar, white potatoes, jams, scones, white bread products, pasta.
4. Eat a diet high in fiber
Fiber helps in two ways with PCOS. The first way they help is by slowing down the digestion of sugars in the body, so there is no spike in insulin. The second way they help is by promoting healthy estrogen metabolism which aids in the reduction of elevated levels of androgens.
Great sources of fiber are: broccoli, celery, apples, whole grains, and dark leafy greens.
5. Eat 5 meals a day
By eating more often, the body will not go into fasting mode. When you look at the way most Americans eat, it is usually three big meals a day. With such a large gap of time between meals the body goes into fasting mode which causes the metabolism to become imbalanced.
The five meals a day should consist of three regular meals and two healthy snacks or 5 small meals. The first snack should be eaten in the mid-morning before lunch and the second snack to be eaten less than an hour before bed. Between eating 5 meals a day and eating a serving of protein (3-4 ounces), low GI/GL carbohydrate (1/4-1/2 cup or serving size), vegetables (1/2 cup to 1 cup) each meal.
Here is what the 5 meals a day could look like:
- Breakfast (right away, when you wake up): 2 eggs scrambled in 1 tsp. coconut oil with spinach and 1/2 cup of black beans
- Snack: Smoothie with unsweetened coconut or almond milk, peaches, 1/4 tsp. of ground cinnamon, hemp protein powder and spirulina
- Lunch: Organic Turkey lettuce wrap with celery sticks and hummus on the side
- Dinner: Organic chicken with steamed broccoli and half a cup of baked yam
- Snack (less than an hour before bed): organic unsweetened yogurt with half a serving of low glycemic index fruit (blueberries, raspberries, papaya) and 1/2 tsp. chia seeds
Alternately, you could have your last snack between lunch and dinner, eating your dinner right before bed. Find out what works best with your lifestyle.
6. Exercise 30 min. 5 days a week
Exercise helps PCOS by improving your insulin sensitivity, increasing your metabolism and helping to shed any excess weight. Both aerobic and resistance exercises are good. Researchers found that participants of resistance exercises showed better improvement in insulin sensitivity than with aerobic exercise alone.
You could walk and lift weights or take a Pilates class and run on the treadmill. Discover what you enjoy doing and do this 5 days a week for at least thirty minutes.
7. Eat Organic
You will be eating a high protein diet, so it is essential that any animal proteins (meats and dairy) you are eating are organic. In commercial meats there are large amounts of added hormones (estrogens) that make the animals grow bigger, faster, and produce more milk. With PCOS there is usually a progesterone deficiency and adding more estrogens can make it even worse.
Studies have shown that organic foodscontain more vitamins, minerals and healthier proteins.
8. Quit Coffee
Caffeine increases estrogenlevels. A study from Fertility and Sterility shows that drinking just two cups of coffee a day boosts levels of estradiol, a natural estrogen. Women who drink 4-5 cups of coffee a day produce 70% more estrogen in the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle (when the body is trying to produce a viable follicle for ovulation, which is already and issue in women with PCOS.)