Ten Tips to Kickstart Your PCOS Diet
Posted by Dr. Lorne Brown
Lifestyle changes which include weight loss, insulin control and TCM treatment with herbs and acupuncture have proven to be effective in the treatment of PCOS. Just follow these ten tips to kickstart your pcos diet.
1. Eat low Glycemic Index (GI) carbohydrates such as vegetables and whole grains. It is very important for women with PCOS to completely avoid refined carbohydrates including sugar, white flour, whole wheat flour and products made from them (i.e.- pasta, breads, desserts, pop, and candy).
2. Keep your blood sugar stable with a daily schedule of meals and snacks every three to five hours that includes some protein and good fats (for example some nuts/nut butter, seeds/seed butter, hardboiled egg, hummus dip). Protein foods take up to 5 hours to digest while carbohydrate foods digest within 30 minutes.
3. Eat at least five servings a day of vegetables including two of leafy greens.
4. Have a daily serving of legumes like black beans or lentils.
5. Enjoy grass or pasture fed meat up to three times a week.
6. Eat at least three daily servings of fruits like berries –which have a lower glycemic impact each fruit as part of a meal or with a protein.
7. Limit or eliminate milk and dairy as these can aggravate internal dampness. If you do have dairy have only non-homogenized full fat milk
8. Pay careful attention to portion sizes in order to moderate glucose load and minimize insulin resistance
9. Add one or two Tbsp of cinnamon on cereal each morning to help decrease insulin resistance.
10. Include prebiotic and probiotic foods which promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract. Prebiotics are found in whole grains, onions, bananas, garlic, honey, leeks, artichokes and some fortified foods. Probiotic foods are found in fermented foods (sauerkraut, live culture yogurt, kim chi, miso).
In addition get your heart rate up with at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise every day. Studies have shown that exercise can reverse diabetes and improve insulin sensitivity as well as help with weight control.
Just losing five to ten percent of your body weight, if you are overweight, can restore your menstrual periods and reduce distressing symptoms like facial hair and acne. However it is important not to exercise too hard. Over exercise depletes your yin and can raise your testosterone levels. This is not the time to start you marathon training. Balance is the key!
Chlorophyll: reduces symptoms of hypoglycemia without raising blood glucose level.
B vitamins, magnesium, alpha linoleic acid and conjugated linoleic acid: improve insulin resistance.
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) – Regulates blood sugar and is a strong anti-oxidant.
Saw Palmetto – blocks the production of DHT (dihydrtestosterone).
Bitter Melon and fenugreek – Regulate blood glucose.
In addition to dietary therapy, exercise and life style changes, your practitioner may prescribe acupuncture and herbal formulas. Some promising studies have shown Chinese herbs to be more effective than Western medicine in stimulating ovulation.
After a couple months of treatment you should begin to notice signs of ovulation like increased mid-month vaginal discharge and elevated Basal Body Temperature (BBT). You may notice, if you have very long cycles, that ovulation comes earlier in the cycle indicating healthier egg production. As well your skin should clear up and your excess hair should diminish.