PCOS and Fertility: The Role of Lifestyle and Diet
Here at S'moo we know that changing your diet and lifestyle isn't always easy but did you know that by doing so you may be able to manage your weight and reduce insulin resistance, and help alleviate other common PCOS symptoms! Not to mention, that any fertility specialist will tell you how much of a role food can play into your hormone health. S'moo Babes know from experience that alongside S'moo this can be a game changer.
You're probably wondering where to start when searching for the right foods or diet to manage your PCOS. Don't worry, S'moo is here to help. In this blog we'll dive into PCOS and the best foods you can eat to help your PCOS and fertility.
What Is the Perfect Diet for PCOS?
Everyone is unique and needs different vitamins and minerals to help balance their body. A great place to start is using your personal Symptoms of PCOS to determine what diet is best for you. Ideally, if you are struggling with PCOS symptoms, your eating habits should target: insulin resistance, blood sugar regulation, and weight management (if necessary).
Give Preference to Whole Foods, Not Processed Ones
Have you heard how bad processed foods are for your body? If not, listen up! Processed foods often contain refined ingredients and artificial substances, with little nutritional value. They tend to have added chemical flavoring agents, colors, and sweeteners to extend their shelf life. These additives prevent your body from getting the nutrients it really needs.
For example, whole grain provides more fiber and protein than refined (processed) grains. In people with PCOS, high-fiber foods reduce blood sugar spikes, which trigger more insulin release. You may already know that people with insulin sensitivity may have difficulty losing weight if their blood insulin levels are high.
Whole grains can be a healthy food source in the following ways:
- Whole oats
- Whole grain rye
- Whole wheat
- Whole-grain bread
- Whole-wheat pasta
Having whole grains instead of processed ones allows your body to process the nutrients and also makes it less likely for you to overeat as whole grains don't have the added chemicals and sugars that make these foods addicting.
Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods
PCOS is associated with higher inflammation levels in women. There is evidence that insulin resistance is a contributing factor, but weight gain could also be involved.
Women with PCOS have been shown to benefit from anti-inflammatory diets when it comes to improving their metabolism and reproduction. It is possible to reduce inflammation by eating certain foods, such as berries, avocado, green tea, salmon, tuna, broccoli, grapes, tomatoes, olive oil, leafy greens, and mushrooms.
Examples of Anti-Inflammatory Diet and PCOS Fertility Diet Foods:
- Nuts (such as Almonds and Walnuts)
- Quinoa, Brown Rice, and Wild Rice (Whole grains)
- Berries (like Strawberries, Blueberries, and Blackberries)
- Olive Oil & Coconut Oil
- Red Grapes
- Beans and Lentils
- Broccoli & Cauliflower
- Cold Water Fish (Tuna and Salmon)
- Matcha, or Green tea
- Chia seeds and Flax seeds
- Lemons and Oranges (Citrus fruits)
- Spices such as Pepper, Turmeric, Ginger, and Cinnamon
- Dark Chocolate
- Sweeteners made from natural sources (such as dates and maple syrup)
- Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Beets, and Beetroot (Root Starches)
Fat's aren't always bad, in fact a healthy diet should include fats. PCOS vitamins are fat-soluble, so fats help facilitate their absorption. People with PCOS can also benefit from healthy fats by preventing or minimizing blood sugar spikes. The consumption of healthy fats is especially important for PCOS patients who may suffer from heart disease. You should look for:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Walnut oil
- Avocado oil
- Flaxseed oil
Reduce the Amount of Added Sugar
It's hard not to love the taste of sugar but sugar increases inflammation so try to limit it if you can. Here at S'moo we believe that everyone needs to find the right balance for them. However for your PCOS diet find ways to cut back or find sugar that can be enjoyed in moderation such as dark chocolate. Avoid baked goods (unless made at home with clean ingredients), candy, packed snacks, and other processed treats.
Don't forget to also watch out for caffeine. Caffeine may worsen your symptoms, which might make you may want to avoid caffeinated beverages. Another drink to be mindful of is alcohol, not only does it cause you to gain weight quickly, for women with PCOS it can also increase levels of depression. Cutting back on sugary drinks will overall benefit your body. Soda should be avoided and any artificially sweetened fruit juices. The best way to stay hydrated on a PCOS diet is to drink water, but coconut water and green tea are also healthy options.
Recap: Foods to Eat with PCOS
Just keep in mind that the foods you eat have a significant impact on PCOS, according to research. PCOS is not currently treated with a standard diet.
Symptoms of PCOS may be managed with the following diets for PCOS fertility:
A low glycemic index (GI) diet: Foods with a low GI digest more slowly in the body, resulting in a lower insulin response than foods with a high GI, such as carbohydrates. There are many unprocessed foods in a low GI diet, such as whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, fruits and starchy vegetables.
An anti-inflammatory diet: Fruits, vegetable oils, and fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce symptoms associated with inflammation, such as fatigue.
The DASH diet: Often, doctors recommend the DASH diet as a way to reduce the risk of heart disease. PCOS symptoms may also be managed with it. There are plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, poultry, and dairy products in a DASH diet. Sugar and saturated fat are discouraged in the diet.
The following foods can also be included in a healthy PCOS diet:
- Unprocessed, natural foods
- Foods high in fiber
- Sardines, mackerel, salmon, and tuna all contain high levels of fat
- Cherries, red grapes, blueberries, and blackberries are all dark red fruits
- Cauliflower and broccoli
- Legumes, beans, and lentils
- Avocados, coconuts, and olive oil are healthy fats
- Pistachios, almonds, walnuts, and pine nuts
- Moderate consumption of dark chocolate
- Cinnamon and turmeric are spices
Foods to avoid
The PCOS diet generally discourages people from eating foods that are widely seen as unhealthy. A few of these are:
- Pastries and white bread made from refined carbohydrates.
- Fast food, such as fried foods.
- Energy drinks and sodas contain sugar.
- Typically consisting of hot dogs, sausages, or luncheon meats.
- Lard, shortening, and margarine are solid fats.
- Pork, steak, and hamburgers are excessive sources of red meat.
Other lifestyle changes
PCOS can also be managed through lifestyle changes. A PCOS diet combined with physical activity can result in the following benefits:
- Weight Loss
- Improved insulin sensitivity
- Male hormone levels are reduced, and hair grows in a male pattern
- More regular periods
- Lower cholesterol levels
Behavioral strategies can also help women manage PCOS symptoms by assisting them with weight loss goals. The following practices are included:
- The social support network
- Self-monitoring techniques
- Taking care of your mental health
- A person can also manage PCOS by getting enough sleep, avoiding over-commitment, and relaxing when needed.
While there is no cure for PCOS, PCOS friendly foods and regular exercise can reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. You are not alone, here at S'moo we are here to support you and your fellow PCOS Cysters on your journey to living your best life.
Don't forget that you can manage your PCOS by maintaining a healthy weight, eating balanced fats and lean proteins, and consuming moderate amounts of low-GI carbohydrates as well as taking PCOS based supplements like S'moo Ovary Good which was designed by a fellow PCOS Cyster to help balance your body.
*The content in this article is provided for informational purposes only. This is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any health conditions. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice or consultation. Talk to your doctor before making changes to your healthcare regimen.