PCOS, the polycystic ovarian disease or syndrome is a hormonal disorder affecting women especially of the reproductive age. PCOS is characterized by –
- Multiple cysts in the ovaries
- Menstrual irregularities
- Increased male hormones -the androgens
The usual symptoms associated with PCOS include increases hair growth especially on the face, acne, male pattern baldness, weight gain, darkening or darkened patches on the skin. PCOS also increases the risk of other lifestyle disorders like diabetes, hypertension, and heart problems to name a few. But the most harmful or pressing issue is that PCOS leads to infertility i.e. inability to get pregnant.
PCOS AND WEIGHT LOSS
Women with PCOS are generally obese or overweight. This can be attributed to the hormonal imbalance. It is also seen that women who are obese or over weight are often detected to suffer from PCOS. In recent years with rise in cases of juvenile obesity, young girls with delayed menses, amenorrhea and other menstrual irregularities is quite common.
Obesity and PCOs are connected in some way. If you are suffering from PCOS then your Doctor must have advised you to lose weight. Losing weight really helps as many a research highlights the positive results seen on PCOS symptoms. A 5 % loss in total body weight has shown to improve symptoms of PCOS like regularizes the menstrual cycle, decrease insulin resistance and also improves the chances of fertility.
WEIGHT LOSS DIET FOR PCOS
The numbers of cases of PCOS reported around the world and in India are on a rise. Diet therapy and nutritional management are essential to treatment of PCOS. Based on our eating habits and culture, a PCOS diet plan aimed to promote weight loss and reduce the symptoms should include-
- FIBER RICH FOODS
Fiber from whole grain cereal, nuts, dried fruits, vegetables and certain fruits is a crucial component to be included in your PCOS diet plan for weight loss. Fiber promotes satiety and helps lose weight. Fiber-rich foods are also low in glycemic index hence helps improve insulin action.
- COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES
We Indians are cereal eating population. Cereals pre-dominate our diet. Wheat, Jowar, Bajra , Ragi, semolina etc are some cereals eaten all around the country. These cereals are complex carbohydrates like vegetables and certain fruits adding the essential fiber to our diet, providing optimum energy and at the same time are low in glycemic index. However, their quantity in your PCOS diet plan for weight loss should be kept on the lower side to promote fat burning and decrease insulin resistance.
Indian diet lacks in proteins. This stands true for both people who eat non-vegetarian as also who don’t. Proteins are important in your PCOS diet plan as it helps make up calories you cut down from carbohydrates. They too promote satiety and aid in weight loss by making you feel fuller and increasing metabolism. Some good sources of proteins to include in your diet are eggs, fish, chicken, pulses, legumes, soya, milk and milk products.
You need fat especially the essential fatty acids like omega 3 as they promote weight loss and improve hormonal imbalance. Omega 3 fatty acids are especially important as they reduce inflammation. Women with PCOS are found to have increased inflammation.
- ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS
Women with PCOS are found to have increased inflammation. Thus your PCOS diet plan for weight loss should include foods that reduce inflammation like – tomatoes, kale, spinach, almonds and walnuts, turmeric, ginger and garlic etc.
In addition to the above there are certain foods that are better avoided in your PCOS diet plan.
- REFINED CARBOHYDRATES
Refined carbohydrates as they are high in glycemic index promote weight gain and also increase inflammation. Refined carbohydrates in form of white bread and muffins, cakes and cookies should be strictly avoided.
If you are on a PCOS diet for weight loss then sugar should be totally avoided. Sugar give you zero nutrition and all the calories you need to avoided when on a weight loss diet. All your sugary drinks and snacks should be removed from your diet. Read food labels and ingredients to look for source of sugar and other added sugar. Even artificial sugar or sugar substitutes should be avoided as they increase insulin resistance.
Weight loss is important but quick weight loss by following restrictive fad diets and weight loss capsules can further complicate the matter by increasing the rebound weight gain and increases hormonal imbalance making it difficult to lose weight thereafter. Thus following a proper healthy weight loss diet plan for PCOS prepared by a nutritionist is important and recommended.