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What foods to avoid in women with PCOS?

With so much advice pouring in from different people, it can become confusing to understand what will actually help you manage your PCOS. Women with PCOS who have a diet that is rich in starch, sugar and saturated fats may experience an increase in their symptoms. Refined and processed food can also make the insulin resistance in PCOS worse. 

So, it is important to avoid certain foods and focus on a diet that is more balanced and has a good proportion of nutritional elements. 

These are the list of foods to avoid with PCOS:

  1. Vegetables with a high starch content:

High carb vegetables such as potato, sweet potato, carrot, sweetcorn can be combined with low glycemic foods such as spinach, onion, tomatoes, cabbage, peas to avoid any bad effects. Complete elimination is not necessary. Since high GI vegetables can spike insulin levels, it is best to limit or avoid these from your diet. This can lead to an imbalance in your hormones and cause your symptoms to worsen.

  1. Canned or processed fruit concentrates or juices:

They may seem the easier way of having fruits but juices and concentrates that are processed and sold in cans or tetra packs are filled with sugar and preservatives. Not only preservatives, fruit juices also lack the fibre portion that you get in whole fruits – and fibre is important to maintain blood sugar levels. Whole and fresh fruits should be consumed in a balanced quantity because they contain more nutrients and whole fibres that are more beneficial to us.

  1. Vegetable oils:

PCOS is described as chronic low-grade inflammation, so it is best to avoid foods that aggravate inflammation. Vegetable oils particularly have high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids which can not only worsen PCOS symptoms but also affect your overall health. Mustard, groundnut, sesame and coconut oils which are traditionally used for cooking Indian cuisine are all good as they contain a healthy balance of mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids. 

  1. Sugary foods:

High sugar content foods such as cake, pastry, doughnuts not only spike your insulin levels that also increase the level of inflammation. Although you don’t need to completely cut out sugar, practice portion control and switch to healthier alternatives. 

  1. Fried foods:

Those pakodas and samosas in the evening may seem perfect with your evening cup of tea but they are full of saturated fats. These foods are best to avoid since they can cause an imbalance in your hormones and affect your weight management too.

  1. Caffeine and alcohol:

Women with PCOS should be aware of their caffeine intake since it can lead to a disturbance in their hormone levels and lead to mood swings. On the other hand, alcohol, especially cocktails that have sugary syrups can cause an increase in blood sugar levels. 

  1. Processed foods:

Foods such as white bread, white pasta or instant foods, do not contain the nutrients that they promise because they are filled with preservatives and sugars to make them tasty. Not only do they lack nutrient value and fibre, they also spike blood sugar levels which can worsen insulin resistance in women with PCOS. 

  1. Foods rich in cholesterol and sodium:

Consumption of foods such as red meat and preserved meats should be completely avoided since they are high in cholesterol and unhealthy fats. Such foods also contain a lot of salt to preserve them, which can become a risk factor to high blood pressure and a lot of serious heart conditions. So, they do not contribute a lot of value to your diet and instead complicate your symptoms.

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