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A Complete Guide to PCOS Diet: What to Eat and Avoid

PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a medical condition every one out of 10 women goes through due to the disorder of an endocrine system. Another very common term associated with PCOS called PCOD. PCOD or Polycystic ovarian Disease is a problem caused by a hormonal imbalance inside a woman’s body. Both PCOS and PCOD are related and it is believed that hormonal imbalance and genetics play the most crucial role behind these ovarian conditions.

PCOS Food To Eat and Avoid

As the female hormone estrogen is produced lesser than required, sometimes the whole metabolic system encounters problems. PCOS is commonly seen in women with obesity problems and the symptoms include painful and irregular menstrual cycle, hirsutism or excessive hairiness, acne, etc. While there are several traditional treatments including prescribed drugs and hormonal birth control, nutritionists and medical experts put more emphasis on PCOS treatment diet.

PCOS Diet As A Cure

The main two areas where diet helps with the treatment of PCOS are weight management and insulin production. Women who are facing PCOS produce high insulin than the normal level. They also have insulin resistance in their body.  When you are insulin resistant, your body can not use insulin to turn the glucose into energy.


Therefore, when you produce a high level of insulin in your body, your body can pump out the extra insulin in order to maintain the blood sugar level. During this time, the excess insulin can cause your ovaries to produce more male hormones like testosterone and increases the risk of PCOS. So, it’s high time you should shift to a PCOS diet plan to control the problems related to PCOS.

Here’s a complete PCOS treatment diet with a list of what to eat and what to avoid if you have PCOS. Have a look!

Foods to Eat with PCOS

Along with the primary symptoms, PCOS also causes low-grade inflammation, especially in the gut lining. Although there is no standard diet for PCOS till date, the following foods can help you get relief from the problems that arise from PCOS.

1. Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Anti-inflammatory food

Elevated inflammation can raise the insulin level in your body and lead to more complications related to PCOS. Anti-inflammatory foods are actually full of antioxidants and are the best foods for PCOS for relieving problems like extreme fatigue.

Anti-inflammatory foods include: Citrus fruits, whole grains, unsaturated fats including nuts, olive oil, avocado, and leafy vegetables like spinach, artichokes etc.

2. High-Fiber Foods

high fiber foods

Foods with high fiber content fight insulin resistance by improving the health of the digestive system. It slows down the digestive process and automatically impacts glucose levels in your blood.

High fiber foods include: Flaxseeds, chia seeds, whole grains like quinoa, oats, brown rice or blacks beans, chickpeas, lentils etc.

3. Loads of Lean Protein

Lean protein

If you like red meat or cured meat, it’s high time you add lean protein as a part of your non-vegetarian food options for PCOS. They provide the necessary components to build the base of bones, blood, skin and muscles. In this way, they play a crucial role in the synthesis of necessary hormones by controlling metabolism and digestion.

Lean proteins include: Oily fish like salmon, cod, plant proteins like tofu, beans or simply skinless chicken or turkey.

4. Low GI Diet


GI or Glycemic Index is a value that counts the different blood sugar level caused by consuming different foods. A low GI diet is basically eliminating the high GI foods that can increase blood sugar level and swapping them with low GI foods. Women suffering from PCOS generally have hyperinsulinemia or high insulin circulation in their body. The foods with low glycemic index take more time to digest in your body and it reduces the production of insulin.

Low GI foods includes most of the whole grains, legumes, starchy vegetables, nuts and seeds, and all other low-carbohydrate foods.

5. DASH Diet


The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or DASH diet was originally formulated to reduce the risk of heart diseases or specifically to reduce the problem of hypertension. But the DASH diet contains the best foods for PCOS because of the exclusion of foods with a high content of unhealthy fats and processed sugar. It decreases fat mass, promotes weight loss, controls BMI and increases the level of antioxidant and SHBG (Sex hormone-binding globulin). It can be one of the main important diets to follow for obese women suffering from PCOS in weight management.

DASH diet includes: Fresh fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy products and whole grains.

6. Organic Whole Soy

Organic Soy

One of the major problems faced by women with PCOS is the problems related to infertility in long run.  According to new researches, the isoflavones in organic and unprocessed whole soy can work wonders to improve the fertility in PCOS women.

Foods to Avoid with PCOS

There are some ingredients and foods which you should avoid in PCOS. They increase the problem related to blood sugar, inflammation weight gain and they can take the condition to a critical level.

1. Refined Carbohydrates

Refined Carbohydrates

In most of the case, as the PCOS women have a higher level of insulin in their body, processed and refined carbohydrate can lead to excessive weight loss. Automatically, PCOS symptoms like acne, hairiness will be more prominent as the androgen level falls down. So, women with PCOS should always exclude refined carbs in their PCOS diet plan.

Avoid: White rice, white bread, regular pasta etc.

2. Saturated Fats

Saturated Fats

Processed and cured meats have a high level of saturated and trans fats which are always prohibited in any healthy diet plan. These fats not only reduce the chances of weight loss but also create inflammation in the gut. Fast foods, fried foods and processed foods should be one among the few foods you should strictly avoid in the PCOS diet.

Saturated Food to Avoid in PCOS: Fried fast foods like French fries, doughnuts, burgers, instant noodles etc.

3. Sugary Foods and Beverages

Sugary foods

There is nothing better than having a glass of fresh juices and smoothies regularly with your meal. But, the pre-bottle sweet beverages are an absolute no in the PCOS treatment diet. Bottled soda, cold-pressed juices can spike your blood sugar level instantly and the symptoms of PCOS will rise with it. At the same time, you have to say goodbye to your sweet tooth to heal the symptoms of PCOS.

Sugary Food To Avoid: Any sugary processed foods like cakes, cookies, ice creams, brownies, drinks containing refined sugar etc.

4. Alcohol


PCOS comes with many additional health problems and fatty liver is one among them. Having a glass of red wine once in a while won’t harm a balanced diet. But frequent consumption of alcohol can increase the level of toxins in the liver and gut and it is considered one of the most harmful foods to avoid with PCOS.

5. Dairy Intake


For some women, dairy intake can even worsen the symptoms of PCOS. Although natural dairy products are essential as the source of calcium and vitamin D, artificial dairy products can increase the potential risks of PCOS. Try to avoid processed cheese, yogurt with sugar toppings or ice cream.

Right foods can bring a lot of changes to maintain a healthy life and overcome the existed medical conditions. But lifestyle changes are also important to heal your body from the symptoms of PCOS. Exercise and daily physical movements are extremely helpful in improving insulin metabolism and managing weight loss.

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