A Nutritionist's Tips On Eating Healthy For PCOS
What you eat can play a major role in managing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Nutritionist Nidhi Singh, founder of PCOS Club India, talks to URLife about how diet affects the PCOS lifestyle.
Nidhi Singh is the founder and director of PCOS Club India, a PCOS-specific wellness platform. Despite the prevalence of PCOS in India ranging up to 22.5 per cent, according to a 2019 review published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research, there are still many myths and misconceptions about the condition. Urged by her own lived experience with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Singh pursued a course on nutrition and other courses on PCOS guidelines from Monash University, Australia, to offer support to others. This is Part II, following Part I, of her interview with URLife.
What role does nutrition play in managing PCOS?
Nutrition plays a significant role in managing PCOS. Research says that anywhere from 65 to 70 per cent of individuals with PCOS are insulin resistant.
Source: Article published in Fertility and Sterility
Food has a direct impact on your blood glucose levels. With blood sugar management, we can make our bodies more insulin-sensitive, which eventually helps alleviate and reverse several symptoms of PCOS.
Incorporating whole foods, nutrient-dense foods such as whole grains, millets, green leafy vegetables, anti-inflammatory foods, healthy fats, and so on, can be really beneficial in helping women manage blood sugar levels and keep weight in check. Individuals with PCOS should avoid processed and packaged food items, sugar-laden drinks and snacks, refined carbohydrates, and fried and fast food items.
Related Story: How To Manage PCOS With Diet And Exercise
Could you tell us about food swaps and PCOS management?
Food swaps can be a great way to include more nutrients in your diet and not miss out on your favourite food items. Choosing healthier alternatives can help alleviate symptoms that are triggered by certain food items and avoid inflammation, blood glucose spikes and fatigue.
Source: Study published in Maedica
For instance, replacing regular tacos with whole-grain, high-protein tacos or replacing white rice with quinoa. Instead of normal wheat rotis, one can opt for ragi or jowar rotis, or emmer wheat or millets—these are complex carbs that are great for your metabolic health. Chips can be replaced with nuts, seeds, and fruits. Individuals can add more veggies (as opposed to carbs) to their plates because of their sedentary lifestyle. This will help them get their required dose of nutrients and stay full for longer periods.