PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
--Ideal Diet to Fight It
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Last updated March 22, 2017 (originally published April 26, 2010)


By Katrina Devine, Contributing Columnist and Susan
Callahan, Health Editor



Did you know that polycystic ovary syndrome can be helped
by diet and exercise? If you have been diagnosed then you
join, according to the Department of Health and Human
Services, an estimated 5 million women in the United States.


Polycystic ovary syndrome is more common than you think.
A study lead by Rodrigo A. Lobo MD at Columbia University
College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York in 1999 noted
that the syndrome is present in 5-7% of women of
reproductive age. However, the study does point out that
there is no definitive definition of the syndrome.



Which women are most at risk for PCOS? What causes
PCOS? While no one knows the exact cause, polycystic ovary
syndrome is believed to be either caused by or worsened by
insulin impairment. The Department of Health and Human
Services says that Polycystic Ovary Syndrome suffers tend to
have many cysts in the ovaries, a large amount of ‘male’
hormones and irregular periods. The hormones can cause
excessive hair growth on the face and other parts of the
body. The syndrome is normally diagnosed via blood tests
and scans. (Read more about the
causes and remedies for
hair on your face).


There are many dangers to women with the syndrome such
as miscarriage, infertility and a risk of depression. Also as the
Columbia University study points out ,women who have
polycystic ovary syndrome are twice as likely to suffer from
ovarian cancer later in life.



So how can diet help? Women who suffer from Polycystic
Ovary Syndrome process food in a different way making
what they eat very important. 44% of sufferers are obese.
Also there are a significant number of women who suffer
from diabetes and hyper-tension along side Polycystic Ovary
Syndrome. (Columbia University College of Physicians, 1999)


Losing Weight Helps PCOS

The Department of Health and Human Services points out
that even a 10% loss in body weight can return periods back
to normal in those who are obese.



Julie Redfern, R.D., L.D.N of Brigham and Women's Hospital
explains that it is difficult for some women to lose weight
because of the increased
"male" hormones that lead to
increased appetite. She maintains that just a 5% weight loss
can see an improvement in the condition as a whole.
Therefore, diet and exercise go a long way in helping heal
the condition and certainly lessens its side affects.



So what should you be eating to help if you have polycystic
ovary syndrome? Here are 5 types of foods you should
include or avoid.





























1.
Get Rid of Refined Sugars and Treat Insulin Resistance

This is the top recommendation from the Department of
Health and Human Services. This means staying away from
processed foods loaded with sugars. Women with Polycystic
Ovary Syndrome’s bodies deal with insulin differently so
when too much sugar is consumed it creates an imbalance.
By eating less refined sugars your hormones will normalize.

[Update:

PCOS and insulin resistance are closely connected syndromes.

As many as 25 to 30 percent of women with PCOS have
impaired glucose tolerance by the age of 30, and 8 percent
of women with PCOS develop Type 2 diabetes each year,
according to a
2003 report from Dr. Marylin R. Richardson of
the University of Kansas Medical Center
.]



Foods to avoid: Instant White Rice, Maple Syrup, White
Bread, Refined breakfast cereals.



Once you’ve eliminated these its time to concentrate on the
foods you should eat to decrease your risk fo polycystic
ovary syndrome.



2.
Start living the Low G.I. Lifestyle

As above, Julie Redfern, R.D., L.D.N of Brigham and
Women's Hospital, also recommends avoiding these spikes in
sugar intake. The ‘Glycemic Index’ measures the amount of
sugar in a food. A low G.I diet helps to keep the balance of
insulin at a healthy level.


Foods to include: Onions, Chilies, Cherries, Hummus,
Soya/Linseed bread, red lentils.



3.
Lean Meats

Julie Redfern, R.D., L.D.N of Brigham and Women's Hospital
also recommends consuming lean proteins. For those of us
who eat meat the easiest way to consume these proteins is
in meat. Lean protein helps to keep the body’s hormones in
balance.


Foods to include: fish, shellfish, skinless chicken, turkey,
pork.


4.
Other Lean Proteins

If you are a vegetarian or are looking for something a little
different then there are other options.



Foods to include: egg whites, beans (especially soy and their
products), nuts and nut butters.


5.
Heart-healthy Fats

These are particularly useful in losing weight which should
be your main goal if you’re an overweight sufferer of
polycystic ovary syndrome. As a report from Brigham and
Women's Hospital notes, heart healthy fats such as canola
oil, olive oil and oils from nuts and fish can be easily
processed  within your body and don’t interfere with your
sugar levels.

Foods to include: liquid oils from olives, canola, soybeans,
corn, flaxseed, sunflower, and peanuts. Also nuts, seeds and
fish.


6.
Get More Fiber

A 2005 study at the School of Molecular and Microbial
Biosciences, University of Sydney looked at the benefits of
high fiber in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome They
found that a high fiber diet was beneficial especially as it
helped with a different lifestyle choice resulting in all over
better health.


Foods to include: 100-percent whole-grain breads, brown
rice, oats, barley, couscous, or the grain quinoa. Dried
beans, and fruits, such as berries.

Update:

7.
Spearmint Tea Helps Reduce Hairiness in Women with
PCOS

Drinking spearmint tea has been found to be effective in
lowering free testosterone and androgen levels in women
suffering from PCOS who have hirsutism (excess hair).

Several studies from Turkey have reached this conclusion. A
2010 study from the Department of Diabetes and
Endocrinology of  Eastbourne District General Hospital in the
UK also observed that spearmint tea has "antiadrogenic"
properties but cautioned that more studies are needed
before the effectiveness of spearmint tea in reducing PCOS
related hairiness can be proven.

8.
Get Your Sun Rays to Manage PCOS

Several studies have drawn a link between Vitamin D levels
and changes in the metabolism of women suffering from
PCOS. One study, conducted in 2013 at the Medical Centre
Alkmaar in the Netherlands observed that a number of
diseases --including insulin resistance and super-high lipid
levels --are far more common in women with PCOS.
Moreover, women who get sufficient Vitamin D suffer less
from these conditions.

You should aim for between 20 and 30 minutes of direct
sunlight a day, if you are fair-skinned, and an hour if your
are dark-skinned, to maintain healthy Vitamin D levels. Not
enough sun in your area? Try Vitamin D-3 supplements.

















































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