PCOS Diet: Foods To Eat and Eliminate
PCOS Diet: Foods To Eat and Eliminate
So you have PCOS and are wondering what foods you should eat or eliminate, right? This article breaks down a PCOS focused diet for you. PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a condition that presents ovarian pain at the time of ovulation due to ovarian cysts. It includes irregular menstrual cycles, heavy bleeding, potential for ovarian cyst ruptures as well. When we talk about PCOS and how to naturally heal from it, it is important to first understand what it is, how it manifests in your body, its causes and the various symptoms associated with it. There is a fantastic article all about PCOS Symptoms and Causes that can help you gain more insight into the condition.
As you will remember after reading about PCOS here, one of the main root causes of this condition is insulin resistance. Insulin resistance happens when insulin can no longer grab hold of glucose effectively in the blood stream to properly regulate blood sugar. This happens from poor dietary choices with a diet high in refined sugar, simple carbohydrates, processed foods, low fiber and low general nutrition; as well as high stress levels. The good news is insulin resistance can be reversed by adhering to a proper PCOS-centered diet. It is best to work with a licensed practitioner to ensure all your health needs are properly met. You can book your free 15-minute phone consultation with one of our practitioners here.
From the point of insulin resistance, we see our female clients have increased androgen levels (male sex hormones) and further hormonal imbalances such as elevated estrogen levels and lowered progesterone levels. PCOS can be further rooted in adrenal fatigue as chronically elevated cortisol levels also suppress insulin sensitivity.
When it comes to using food as a healing mechanism, you must focus on restoring insulin sensitivity and improving adrenal function.
Insulin Resistance + PCOS
You’re probably curious about the link between the hormone insulin and PCOS. With poor diet choices (highly processed foods, high refined sugar/ high glycemic-index foods, low fiber etc), your body will eventually become resistant to insulin. The pancreas will continue to produce more and more insulin with the intention of properly helping stabilize blood sugar levels. With this chronic influx of insulin in the bloodstream, insulin naturally stimulates the increase of androgens in the blood (male hormones). This is why many women with PCOS may have more facial hair or body hair. While andogens increase, a protein called sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) becomes suppressed. SHBG is meant to keep the sex-hormones properly balanced in the blood.
Insulin stimulates the ovaries to produce now predominantly male hormones in addition to higher insulin levels and glucose levels. This is when we commonly see women with more facial hair or arm/back hair, thinning head hair in addition to having an “apple-shape” physique. While eating the right foods and eliminating the triggers for those with PCOS is an excellent start, continue the healing process by ensuring your digestion is functioning optimally. We have a great article on the blog going over 5 ways you can improve your digestion (easily!).
Foods To Eat
Here is a modified list of foods to include in your diet on a regular basis if you suffer from PCOS. This list is meant to improve adrenal function, restore insulin sensitivity and ultimately start making you feel better and heal from PCOS. If you suffer from PCOS, we invite you to book a free 15-minute phone consultation and talk with one of our practitioners about your health and how to successfully reverse PCOS.
(Side note: We like this cookbook because it has quick and easy meals to make while keeping you on track. It has lots of variety and contains anti-inflammatory foods to help support those with PCOS).
- Brassica family vegetables. Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts and kale to name a few. These contain powerful compounds to support the liver and help re-balance estrogen and progesterone levels.
- Wild-caught salmon. Not only is salmon a great example of a food source rich in Omega-3s, but it is also a complete protein. Complete proteins are important to improve hunger signals from the brain to the stomach. This help improve blood sugar regulation and insulin sensitivity.
- Ground flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts. Foods high in Omega-3s are imperative to decrease inflammation, help to re-balance the female sex hormones and improve brain health (endocrine hormones are influenced from the brain: the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland). These foods are also high in fiber which is important for restoring insulin sensitivity.
- Anti-inflammatory foods. Such as turmeric, olive oil, leafy greens.
Foods to Eliminate
This list contains a few important foods (or food categories) to eliminate while following a PCOS protocol from your practitioner. Don’t forget to check out our ‘Top Picks’ that have our favorite, most recommended health books and cookbooks for you.
- Caffeine. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and activates the adrenal glands. Eliminating caffeine as a trigger for dysglycemia (poor blood sugar balance) is a great first step. Removal of caffeine will also help improve overall adrenal function.
- Refined sugar. This is a major culprit for the cause of insulin resistance. By eliminating refined sugar, including foods that have a high glycemic index, you can begin to improve insulin sensitivity. This is the first step for helping decrease androgens and improving the role of SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin).
- Inflammatory foods. Foods such as sugar, red meat and processed foods.
Ready to heal your PCOS? We are here for you. CE Wellness has helped many women reverse symptoms associated with PCOS and allow them to live the life they deserve – that’s right, free from PCOS pain. We kindly invite you to book a free 15-minute phone consultation to discuss your health history and health needs more.