PCOS, one of the leading causes of infertility in women, is manageable through a healthy lifestyle. At CNY Fertility Center, we believe in the power of good nutrition and diet in helping to improve your fertility.
PCOS affects about 5-10% of females in the United States. It is characterized by numerous cysts, which develop on the ovaries and affect female reproductive function. Symptoms include irregular menses, hirsutism (hair on the face), acne, obesity and infertility. The symptoms of PCOS vary from person to person and not all women with PCOS will suffer any major symptoms.
PCOS is closely related to a problem with the blood sugar regulating hormone, called insulin. PCOS is often associated with high levels of insulin, a condition sometimes referred to as insulin resistance. When you become insulin resistant, your body cannot metabolize fats and sugars as well as it should, which leads to weight gain and a propensity towards diabetes. In addition, insulin causes your ovaries to produce more androgens, which is a major contributing factor to the development of your cysts.
The diet for PCOS is therefore aimed at keeping insulin secretion low and keeping the weight down. The best diet is one that is lower in carbohydrates and includes more of the so-called low glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates and less of the high GI ones. High GI foods include white, brown and wholewheat breads, most breakfast cereals, potatoes, most processed foods, biscuits, cakes, pastries and sugary foods while low GI foods include sourdough rye breads, seeded brown and wholewheat breads, Low GI cereals that are labeled as such, wholewheat pasta, brown rice, barley, legumes and most fruits and vegetables.
The basic rules of the Low GI weight loss diet for PCOS are as follows:
- Eat small, but regular meals and snacks and avid skipping meals, especially breakfast
- Cut back on your carbohydrate intake in general.
- Avoid or limit the high GI starches and replace them with the low GI starches, fruits and vegetables.
- Make vegetables the basis if most of your meals.
- Include lean protein at each meal. Eggs, low fat dairy, skinless poultry, lean meat, fish, soya products and legumes are good sources of protein. Protein helps further stabilize blood sugar and curb the appetite and is also important for the production of necessary reproductive hormones.
- Ensure that you eat some essential fatty acid each day, which are necessary for hormone production and to help boost fertility. Good sources include fatty fish, like salmon, trout, mackerel and sardines; raw vegetables oils, like olive, flax, avocado, sesame and walnut; as well as raw nuts and seeds, olives and avocado pears.
- Or regular physical activity, which means at least 30 minutes per day. Cardiovascular activity is best for improving insulin sensitivity.
We have practitioners available at all of our CNY Healing Arts Centers to assist you with diet and nutrition. Please call the center nearest you today. Click here for contact information.
We also have several nutrition related workshops this month. Please visit our website calendar for details.