I’m seeing more and more clients in my office with PCOS. Ever heard of PCOS? I bet you have and you likely know someone who has it.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common endocrine disorders, affecting 9% to 18% of reproductive age women. Women with PCOS struggle with irregular periods, excess body weight, insulin resistance, acne, high blood pressure and infertility.
What’s clear is that women with PCOS face lifelong health risks that extend beyond their reproductive years. Lifestyle management is the primary treatment approach to preventing or ameliorating these risks.
While working alongside clients with PCOS, I have seen improvements in PCOS symptoms. While meal planning, there are key components that should be considered.
Keys to meal planning for PCOS:
Low glycemic load meals
Insulin resistance is commonly present with PCOS. To combat this, we have to focus on low glycemic index diet. The glycemic index is a scale that ranks a carbs ability to raise blood sugar on a scale of 0-100. Low GI foods normalize blood sugars, balance insulin levels and also balance our cravings (insulin is an appetite stimulate).
How do you follow a low glycemic index diet? Choose high fibre carbs and always pair those carbs with protein or fat. Low GI foods include berries, apples, spinach, beans, quinoa and oats.
Load up on cruciferous veggies
Cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, brussel sprouts and cabbage contain high amounts of indole-3-carbinol and calcium D-glucarate, which are both helpful in balancing hormones and aiding in the liver detoxification processes.
Always include anti-inflammatory ingredients
Compared with women without PCOS, women with the condition have higher levels of insulin and inflammatory markers. A recent study investigated the use of an anti-inflammatory diet in women with PCOS. This diet included a high amount of fibre, with an emphasis on foods such as fish, legume and green tea. Chicken, red meat and added sugars were limited. The researchers found a significant reduction in cholesterol, blood pressure, fasting glucose and c-reactive protein. The women also regained menstrual cyclicity.
Eat a nutrient-rich and well-planned diet, but fill in gaps with key supplements
Inositol has been well student in women with PCOS. It has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, as well as egg quality and ovulation. Inositol is a pseudovitamin, found in fruits, beans, cereals and buckwheat and act as ‘secondary messengers’ that regular activities of hormones, including follicle-stimulating hormones, thyroid-stimulating hormone and insulin.
b) Vitamin D
Studies on PCOS show an inverse relationship between vitamin D and metabolic and hormonal disorders. Vitamin D receptors have been located on oocytes, immature ova or egg cells involved in reproduction. Vitamin D supplementation has been shown to improve fertility in women with PCOS by increasing the number of mature follicies and improving mensteral regulation.
Now, let me show you how to take these dietary components to managing PCOS and build a few days worth of meals out of it!
Breakfast: Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos
Lunch: Cauliflower Veggies Fried Rice
Dinner: Parchment Salmon Hearts
Snack: Pumpkin Paleo Granola
Breakfast: Green Protein Pancakes
Lunch: Broccoli Lentil Quinoa Casserole
Dinner: Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Snack: Sweet Potato Kale Fritters
Breakfast: Raspberry Overnight Oats
Lunch: Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
Dinner: Spaghetti Squash Pasta
Snack: Banana Walnut Oat Muffins