Healthy diet for polycystic ovary syndrome

Healthy diet for polycystic ovary syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

One of the most common conditions that is diagnosed in women against the background of violations of the hormonal regulation of the reproductive cycle.

About 7% of all women of childbearing age have PCOS. And, of course, it would be very important for us to know what non-drug methods of influence can improve the health of a woman suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome.

In this article, you will learn about the best, healthiest, and most effective diet for PCOS.

What is PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)?

PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) is a condition characterized by an imbalance of male sex hormones (or androgens), which in a woman’s body are produced in small doses in the ovaries.

The term “polycystic ovaries” describes a condition in which the female ovaries are represented by multiple fluid follicles – cysts. However, the formation of cysts is not always a prerequisite for establishing a diagnosis of PCOS.

Unfortunately, to date, the causes of PCOS formation remain not fully understood, and treatment methods are not sufficiently effective. Scientists believe that against the background of a genetic predisposition, various disorders can lead to the formation of PCOS, including the contribution of malnutrition.

Brief description: PCOS is a clinical syndrome associated with an imbalance of male sex hormones in a woman’s body, most likely due to a genetic predisposition and provoked by malnutrition.

Symptoms of PCOS

Excessive production of androgens (male sex hormones) in a woman’s body is responsible for most of the symptoms of PCOS.

Most women with PCOS experience the following symptoms:

  • Irregular menstrual cycle, or lack of menstruation;
  • Excessive growth of hair on the body or on the face, provoked by an increased level of androgens in the body;
  • Cysts of one or both ovaries;
  • Uncontrolled weight gain;
  • Infertility;
  • sleep apnea;
  • Impaired insulin tolerance and all metabolic problems associated with this condition;
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PCOS and diet

The key point in treatment is to reduce insulin resistance and lose excess weight.

  • The most effective diet for PCOS is one that promotes weight loss and reduces the production of the hormone insulin.
  • So, PCOS, coupled with weight gain, leads to insulin resistance (a violation of the susceptibility of cell receptors to insulin). That is why PCOS significantly increases the chances of developing type 2 diabetes or other metabolic diseases.
  • To all this, an increased level of insulin in the blood contributes to an imbalance in the production and utilization of sex hormones.

Any diet that promotes weight loss while lowering levels of the hormone insulin in the blood can lead to the best results in the fight against PCOS.

Here are a few; Suitable dietary options for PCOS:

  • Diet low in carbohydrates
  • A low-carbohydrate diet suggests that carbohydrates make up no more than 30% of the food consumed.

By comparison, we typically consume 60% or more carbs, which is 300 grams of carbs per day.

By lowering our daily carbohydrate intake, we begin to consume more protein in order to stay full throughout the day, while we reduce our daily caloric intake of food.

So a low carb diet works great for weight loss and we don’t have to count calories.

A low-carbohydrate diet is also very helpful in treating insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. When switching to a diet low in carbohydrates, you should consult with an endocrinologist or gynecologist-endocrinologist .

An appetite-reducing diet may be one of the most effective paths to health for patients with PCOS, as they have impaired levels of the “hunger hormone” – ghrelin.

  • ketogenic diet

The ketogenic diet is a diet that is low in carbs but high in fat (an alternative to a high protein diet).

The systematic maintenance of such a diet contributes to the production of ketones, which are the main energy providers for the body instead of carbohydrates. This is what lowers the level of insulin in the blood and promotes weight loss.

In a small study of 5 women with PCOS, a ketogenic diet resulted in 12% weight loss in 24 weeks. The scientists also observed significant changes in the level of male hormones and a decrease in the level of insulin in the body of the female subjects.

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It sounds promising, but sticking to such a diet for a long time is extremely difficult.

Brief description of the most appropriate diets for PCOS:

A diet for PCOS should promote weight loss and lower insulin production in the blood. A low carb diet is the best solution, while a ketogenic diet is a more difficult alternative.

PCOS and dairy products

Here are a few more points in the nutrition of patients with PCOS that need to be clarified:

  • Should You Eat Dairy With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

Some empirical studies have linked dairy consumption to an increased risk of PCOS, especially low-fat dairy products.

Conversely, high-fat dairy products help reduce the risk of infertility, which has a positive effect on PCOS patients.

Summary: Several studies have linked the consumption of low-fat dairy products to an increased risk of PCOS. However, to date, concrete evidence of this has not been received enough.

  • Eat more folic acid salts (folates) and folic acid

Folates (salts of flic acid) and folic acid are components of vitamin B9. Vitamin B9 is effective in lowering blood levels of homocysteine. High levels of this amino acid in the body can be a risk factor for heart disease and heart attacks.

Unfortunately, PCOS patients often have high levels of homocysteine ​​in their blood (hyperhomocysteinemia) and therefore have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

The most effective method of lowering homocysteine ​​is to consume folate or folic acid. Folate is found in natural foods, while folic acid is an artificially synthesized substance used in dietary supplements that some people cannot metabolize well.

Foods high in folate (per 100g):

  • Beans and lentils (~50% RDA)
  • Raw spinach (49% RDA)
  • Asparagus (37% RDA)
  • Romano salad (34% RDA)
  • Broccoli (27% RDA)
  • Avocado (20% RDA)
  • Orange/Mango (~10% RDA)

Brief description: Patients with PCOS tend to have elevated blood levels of homocysteine, which, in turn, is fraught with heart disease. Folate intake is the most effective way to avoid this.

  • Reduce consumption of processed foods and sweetened foods
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Without a doubt, unhealthy food only harms patients with PCOS. We mean sweets, muesli bars, milk chocolate, potato chips, ice cream, packaged fruit juices, soft drinks and similar products.

These foods are high in calories, contain excess sugar, which raises the level of the hormone insulin in the blood and disables other hormones.

Daily use of these products leads not only to weight gain, but also is the cornerstone in problems with ovulation and infertility.

Summary: Cooked foods high in sugar should be avoided, especially if you have PCOS.

Sample weekly menu for women with PCOS

Menu with reduced carbohydrate content (30-50%) and based on the recommendations above:


  • Breakfast: Eggs and spinach.
  • Lunch: Salad with tuna seasoned with olive oil, a handful of nuts.
  • Dinner: Ground beef + lentils and normal fat Greek yogurt.


  • Breakfast: A small portion of oatmeal.
  • Lunch: What you ate for dinner on Monday.
  • Dinner: Chicken fried with broccoli and asparagus.


  • Breakfast: Greek yogurt with berries.
  • Lunch: What we ate for dinner on Tuesday.
  • Dinner: Potatoes baked with cheese, cauliflower and broccoli.


  • Breakfast: Eggs and spinach.
  • Lunch: What we ate for dinner on Wednesday + 1 orange.
  • Dinner: Salmon with broccoli and asparagus in a creamy sauce.


  • Breakfast: oatmeal.
  • Lunch: Salad with tuna seasoned with olive oil, a handful of nuts.
  • Dinner: Steak with roasted vegetables.


  • Breakfast: Greek yogurt with berries.
  • Lunch: Chicken salad with avocado and olive oil + 1 apple.
  • Dinner: You can have dinner in the cafe.


  • Breakfast: Sausages with egg and avocado.
  • Lunch: Cucumbers and carrots with curd cheese, a handful of nuts.
  • Dinner: Chicken with lentils, cashew nuts and green salad.

Make it a habit to drink enough water and cut down on useless snacking.

Good nutrition for PCOS is just the beginning…

As you can see, nutrition is an important component in the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome.

Treatment also includes reducing daily stress, increasing physical activity levels, and getting good restful sleep.

All these factors have a huge impact on our hormones, and PCOS is a hormonal problem.

Be sure to discuss any changes to your diet with your doctor, especially if you are taking metformin and decide to switch to a low-carbohydrate diet to stabilize the hormone insulin in your blood.

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