Dietary advice for polycystic ovary syndrome

Reproductive Immunology PCOD and PCOS

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PCOS is an endocrine and metabolic disorder that affects women of reproductive age with at least one out of ten women affected by the condition. It is characterized by irregular menstrual cycles, excess androgen production, and the formation of ovarian cysts. Adopting a well-balanced and targeted diet, along with medical interventions, can play a significant role in managing the symptoms of PCOS. Studies have proven that diet plays a crucial role in controlling the clinical appearance of the syndrome. This blog explores dietary recommendations that can help individuals with PCOS lead healthier and more comfortable life. 

Insulin resistance and PCOS 

In women with PCOS, there is an increased amount of insulin, a hormone that facilitates the entry of glucose(sugar) into cells, supplying the energy required to sustain the body. They face the problem of insulin resistance, a condition in which the body does not respond to insulin. Improper insulin functioning leads to elevated glucose levels in the bloodstream, which can accumulate within the body. As a result, women with PCOS are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other health conditions. Insulin resistance can be improved by:  

  • Losing weight if overweight. Reducing around 5 to 10 percent of total body weight has been shown to improve insulin resistance and other symptoms of PCOS.  
  • Exercising regularly. 
  • Following a regular meal pattern and a balanced diet. 
  • Reducing the intake of carbohydrates. 

Nutrition goals for improving PCOS 

An eating plan rich in fiber and reduced consumption of sugary foods can be effective in addressing insulin resistance. The following foods may help in meeting nutritional objectives and reducing PCOS symptoms:  

  • A diet rich in fruits, vegetables (cruciferous vegetables), whole grains, low-fat dairy, and beans must be included. 
  • Eating protein-containing foods such as lean meats, poultry, and eggs, tofu with meals and snacks to add fullness and help manage blood sugar levels.  
  • It is recommendable to select foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, and albacore tuna), seeds (flax seeds, chia seeds), oils (canola, olive, peanut), and nuts (walnuts, almonds).  

  • It is recommended to choose whole grains like whole wheat products, oatmeal, and brown rice instead of refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, rice, and sugar. 

 Promoting healthy weight loss 

Apart from maintaining a nutritional diet, an individual should also remain physically active to tackle the symptoms of PCOS and maintain a healthy weight. Some of the tips to maintain a healthy weight are listed below:  

  • Regular exercise is mandatory for women with PCOS. Starting with mild exercise and increasing it to moderate is recommendable. At least 30 minutes of physical activity per day such as walking, hiking, fitness classes, participating in sports, or gardening is essential. 
  • Cutting about 300-500 calories (about 40 minutes of running) from the day by eating less and burning calories through exercise may help to lose about one pound per week.  
  • It is essential to avoid mindless eating and listen to your body’s signals to decide when to eat and be satisfied.  
  • Drinking at least 8 glasses of water daily.  
  • To limit extra calories an individual can choose calorie-free beverages.  
  • It is always recommended to keep a consistent eating plan and aim to eat at least 3 meals around the same time every day, as skipping meals leads to munching later.  
  • Monitor your portion sizes by using measuring cups or following the serving size on the food label.  
  • To keep track of the diet plan goals, try to keep a food journal to monitor the food choices.   
  • Carbohydrate-rich foods like grains, fruits, milk, yogurt, sweets, and starchy vegetables have a notable impact on blood sugar levels. Thoughtful carbohydrate choices can help in decreasing the blood sugar level.  
  • Eat balanced meals including carbohydrates, protein, and fat as it is essential for overall nutrition and blood sugar control.  


Managing PCOS requires consistency and patience, and small changes over time can make a significant impact on symptoms and overall quality of life in women with PCOS. Maintaining a balanced diet, optimal blood sugar levels, and engaging in regular exercise can help in hormone regulation in women with PCOS, ultimately improving the quality of life and minimizing the impact of this complex condition.