PCOD Diet & A Healthy approach for PCOD

The polycystic ovarian disorder is a condition developed by an imbalance of hormones It is a hormonal disorder in women that causes enlarged ovaries with cysts.

Almost one-third of women around the globe suffer from PCOD. PCOD is not really considered to be a disease because, with the right PCOD diet and regular exercise, PCOD can be managed.

A healthy and holistic diet for PCOD and some lifestyle changes are required to combat the medical concerns associated with this disease.

Causes of PCOD

Even though the exact cause of PCOD is not known, but there are a few factors which play a significant role:

  • Excess insulin- Excess insulin in the body can increase the production of androgen who leads to difficulty in ovulation.
  • Heredity- Some research reports suggest that genes may be linked with PCOD.
  • Low-grade inflammation- It has been reported that women with PCOD have low-grade inflammation stimulating polycystic ovaries to produce androgen.
  • Type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance.

How to deal with PCOD?

PCOD has become quite common these days and it also affects the metabolism of the body. Nutritionists suggest patients suffering from Polycystic ovarian disorder to follow a particular and strict diet to cure PCOD.

Patients with PCOD should increase their intake of antibiotics, prebiotics, probiotics, and should include spices like cinnamon, methi dana, and ginger in their diet.

PCOD diet also includes consumption of complex carbohydrates, low glycemic index foods, and micronutrients like selenium, magnesium, and chromium.

Many health experts believe that dairy-based products can increase the level of insulin in the body which can aggravate the condition and problems of PCOD. Hence it is not recommended to consume certain milk products in the PCOD diet. Full cream milk should be avoided if following the PCOD diet.

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Diet to follow for PCOD

Patients suffering from PCOD are insulin resistant and hence they should not include deep-fried foods in their diet. Simple carbohydrates sugar, Jaggery, and honey are also not included in the PCOD diet.

Women with PCOD have insulin resistance and therefore they are advised to follow a diet that of a diabetic. Hence, Diet for patients with PCOD diet should be rich in fibre and with no or limited carbohydrates and processed foods.

The patients opting for PCOD diet must keep a check on their water intake. Water consumption is very important in the PCOD diet as PCOD leads to constipation and retention of water in the body. Skipping bad eating habits is a must for implementing the PCOD diet in daily life.

You have to be very strict with the diet for PCOD. You should avoid eating red meat, processed meats like sausages, hot dogs, and luncheon meats to follow the PCOD diet. You can instead include lean meat like fish if following the diet for PCOD. Steaks, pork, and hamburgers are also not a part of the PCOD diet.

If you are following the PCOD diet, you should give saturated fats a miss as these items can increase your cholesterol. Sugar-based food and drinks should be limited or excluded from the PCOD diet. Baked items are full of saturated fats so they must be avoided and not included in the PCOD diet.

Saturated fats are found naturally in various food dairy-based which are mostly dairy-based or animal fats. You should make it a habit to check for labels for the presence of such fats before buying any food item.

For the PCOD diet, one should Include green and leafy vegetables like lettuce and broccoli and fruits rich in antioxidants for example berries, plums, orange, Apple, watermelon, pears, papaya, peaches.

You should also include in your PCOD diet dried beans, legumes, and lentils. The diet for PCOD should be rich in fibres and low in carbs and processed foods. Protein foods such as beans, hummus, nuts, peanut butter, tofu, fish are to be included in the PCOD diet.

Glycemic index and it’s role in PCOD diet

The Glycemic index is a very important term and is used to describe how food affects blood sugar. Higher the Food raises blood sugar, the higher the glycemic index. Carbs with high fibre have a lower glycemic index than sugary or refined carbs.

Foods with the low glycemic index which are made of whole wheat, wheat flour, whole grains, brown rice, poha are preferred in the PCOD diet.  Refined carbohydrates, white bread, biscuits, soda are a big no-no.

Any form of sugar, jaggery, honey, and refined cereals like maida, sooji, white rice, white rice poha is to be avoided. It is also a good idea to read product labels before buying groceries.

PCOD patients should completely avoid trans fats, high sodium, and fatty foods. Replacing such foods with low glycemic index items helps to maintain the nutrition value and aids weight loss.

Foods that have a high GI result in a quick rise of blood sugar levels. Generally, high GI foods have been processed to remove fibre and other nutrients so that they may be tasty but they are high in calories while lacking in nutrients.

Green leafy vegetables have the foremost nutrients per calorie than the other foods. They are rich in iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium, as well as vitamin K, C, E, and many of the B vitamins and is hence highly recommended in the PCOD diet.

PCOD patients should also work towards losing weight. PCOD diet encourages small and frequent meals for patients suffering from PCOD. Another important ingredient in the PCOD diet is flax seeds and sesame but not in excess.

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Health experts say…

  • There are PCOD Diet plans provided by the nutritionists which contain detailed diet plans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to be followed.
  • Nutritionists recommend fruits as an ideal breakfast for the PCOD diet. Another option is a multigrain bread with some tomatoes and cucumbers. Patients suffering from PCOD should choose bran chapati over the regular one. Other healthy food items to be included in the PCOD diet are oatmeal, barley, oats, muesli, quinoa, whole wheat, bran flakes, whole wheat porridge, multigrain bread, and brown barley.
  • Pulses like green moong, chana dal, yellow moong, and whole pulses are highly recommended by the nutritional experts for the patients following the PCOD diet.  Dairy products like skimmed or toned milk, soy milk, tofu, yoghurt and paneer, are good to manage the risks of PCOD.
  • It is suggested by health experts to start the day with a glass of water. You can add 2 grated gooseberries, a few peppermint leaves, and a pinch of cinnamon powder to the water for added benefits. This can be followed by the consumption of peeled almonds which are previously soaked. In between, you can go for a walk. Post that you can have egg, vegetables or sprouts, broccoli, pomegranate, bell peppers, mushroom, or vegetable juice. Lunch should be light and must include chapati, curd/ (no salt), and cucumber.
  • Dinner must be consumed by 8 pm and you should have warm water after your meals.

The right diet can go a long way in helping you fight PCOD. Hence, certain dietary modifications can make a big difference. PCOD can be managed by keeping a few points in mind.

Dietary changes required to follow PCOD diet-

  • Gradually increasing the intake of high fibre carbohydrates
  • Emphasizing on lean protein foods that keep you fuller for longer
  • Including monounsaturated and omega 3 fatty acid foods
  • Including different fruits and vegetables
  • Drinking at least 2 litres of water daily and regular exercise.

Choosing the right food option is also very important as it helps significantly in keeping the risk at bay. Incorporating a few modifications and the right choice of food in the PCOD diet can be of great help:

  • Opting for fresh fruits or frozen/canned fruits without added sugar instead of sweetened juice, canned fruit in heavy syrup.
  • Choosing non-starchy fresh vegetables or frozen/ canned vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, carrots instead of starchy vegetables like corn, potatoes, peas.

Foods to avoid in PCOD Diet

Examples of processed foods and sugary beverages that should be avoided in the PCOD diet are:

  • cakes, candies, cookies, sweets, sweetened cereals
  • yoghurts with added sugar, Ice creams with excess sugar
  • Soda, bottled smoothies, cold-pressed juices, canned cocktails, etc.
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Best exercises to cure PCOD

There is no doubt that regular physical exercise is important for women with PCOD. It really becomes difficult with PCOD to manage weight and many women often wonder if they’re really losing inches then why not weight? There are a few exercises that go a long way in dealing with PCOD.

  • Cardio – This form of exercise can help in reducing insulin resistance, boosting fertility, and stabilizing mood. 30 minutes of moderate exercise like brisk walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming help fight PCOD issues.
  • Strength training – Strength training is good for insulin resistance, increasing metabolic rate, and improving body composition. Various forms of strength training are exercises like squats, push-ups, triceps dips. These exercises increase the metabolic rate by building muscle mass.
  • High-Intensity Interval training –  This type of training is good for increasing cardiovascular fitness and achieving a healthy BMI. This is achieved by alternating short periods of high-intensity work out with low-intensity recovery. This also helps with weight loss.
  • Core Strength – Core strength is important for general well being, injury prevention and preparing your body for pregnancy. Bridge and planks are the best examples of this type of exercise.

Point to Remember

A healthy diet and lifestyle is the key to fight PCOD. Following the PCOD diet and regular exercise should be your priority and you will see yourself closer to your goal.

Additional resource:

Smit Kumar

Health & Wellness Coach: Smit Kumar believes in the philosophy of successful nutrition hunting mindset for the healthy body, mind and spirit. https://thenutritionhunt.com

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