Women’s nutrition: Managing PCOS through diet

When it comes to women’s nutrition, there are many factors that contribute to good health, happiness and well-being. Nutrition is a key factor in the wellness journey and diet can have an affect on many aspects of a woman’s life.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects nearly one in 10 women in the UK. The condition is one that prevents the ovaries from functioning properly.

Symptoms can be mild, though some women will experience more than one. Symptoms include irregular periods, acne, thinning hair, hirsutism (excess body hair on face, forearms, legs and abdomen) and weight-gain. There are also long-term risks associated with PCOS.

Over time, PCOS can increase the risks of developing a health problem later in life. Women living with PCOS are at an increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes, sleep apnoea, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, mood swings and depression.

Polycystic ovary syndrome is also a common cause for female infertility.

How nutrition can help

While there is no known cure for PCOS, there are a number of treatments available that can effectively control symptoms. It is thought that following a balanced diet can also help reduce the risk of developing symptoms, including unwanted weight-gain, diabetes and control blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Finding the right diet for you is a highly individual and complex process, but this is where a nutrition professional can help. They can work with you to understand symptoms and manage the journey.

Women living with PCOS are often resistant to the effects of insulin and so have more insulin in their blood. Because of this, generally, a PCOS diet will include foods with a low glycaemic index (GI).

Meat and protein

For women with PCOS, it is important to consume good quality, lean meats. Eating a source of protein and fats, such as houmous, nuts, eggs, fish, poultry and beans and pulses along with a side of starchy foods can help to keep insulin levels low.

Healthy fats

An essential part of maintaining a balanced diet and managing PCOS symptoms is to eat a good source of unsaturated ‘healthy’ fats a couple of times a week. The essential fatty acids (EFAs) help maintain the cell wall, which absorbs the essential nutrients our body needs. Healthy fats also help to manage weight and keep hormones balanced.

Fruit

Fruit provides the body with essential vitamins, minerals and is rich in fibre. While many are reluctant to add fruits to their diet due to the sugar content, when eaten in moderation, it is a great alternative to unhealthy foods. Low GI fruits include cherries, apricots, prunes and plums.


Nutritionist Resource supports your wellness journey by connecting you with expert advice and qualified nutritionists in your area. Unlike other directories, members are encouraged to expand on their unique service, so you can make the right decision for you.