Nutritionist-Approved PCOS Diet Tips

Regulate hormones, manage weight, and improve overall well-being with a PCOS-focused diet.

By URLife Team
02 Jul 2023

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a multifaceted endocrine disorder that impacts countless individuals across the globe. It is a condition that often requires diverse approach for effective management. While medications can play a crucial role in treating specific symptoms of PCOS, lifestyle changes are equally important in promoting long-term health and well-being.


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PCOS is characterised by hormonal imbalances, insulin resistance, and the formation of small cysts on the ovaries. Common symptoms include irregular menstrual cycles, excessive hair growth, acne, weight gain, and fertility issues. Additionally, women with PCOS have a higher risk of developing conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and depression.

While medications prescribed by doctors can help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with PCOS, they are often most effective when combined with lifestyle modifications. Making positive changes in areas such as diet, exercise, stress management, and sleep can have a profound impact on managing the symptoms and improving overall health.


Related story: 5 Common Myths About PCOS-Debunked


Diet Tips To Manage PCOS

Emphasise Low Glycemic Index (GI) Foods

Since insulin resistance is commonly associated with PCOS, consuming foods with a low glycemic index can help regulate blood sugar levels. Opt for complex carbohydrates like whole grains, legumes, and non-starchy vegetables. These foods release glucose slowly into the bloodstream, preventing sudden spikes in insulin levels.


Prioritise Lean Proteins

Including lean proteins in your diet is vital for managing PCOS. They help maintain stable blood sugar levels, promote satiety, and support muscle growth. Choose lean sources like chicken, turkey, fish, tofu, legumes, and Greek yogurt. These options are rich in essential nutrients and provide a steady release of energy.


Incorporate Healthy Fats

Contrary to popular belief, not all fats are bad for PCOS. Focus on incorporating sources of healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish like salmon. These fats provide anti-inflammatory benefits, support hormone production, and aid in nutrient absorption.


Increase Fibre Intake

A high-fibre diet is beneficial for PCOS as it helps regulate blood sugar levels, aids in weight management, and promotes healthy digestion. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes in your meals to boost your fibre intake.


Stay Hydrated

Adequate hydration is crucial for overall health and hormone balance. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to support proper metabolism, digestion, and toxin elimination.


Manage Portion Sizes

Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for PCOS management. Be mindful of portion sizes and practice portion control to avoid overeating. Consider using smaller plates and bowls to help manage your portions effectively.


Eating Meals at a Regular Time

Establishing regular meal times and avoiding long gaps between meals can help stabilize blood sugar levels. Aim for three balanced meals and two small, healthy snacks throughout the day to maintain steady energy levels.


Physical Activity

Combining a healthy diet with regular physical activity can further improve PCOS symptoms. Engaging in aerobic exercises, strength training, and activities like yoga or Pilates can aid in weight management, reduce insulin resistance, and alleviate stress.


Related story: How To Manage PCOS With Diet And Exercise


Foods to Avoid 

Refined Carbohydrates

Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, pastries, and sugary cereals, can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. This, in turn, triggers insulin production, which can disrupt hormonal balance and exacerbate PCOS symptoms. Replace refined carbohydrates with whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and whole wheat bread, which provide essential nutrients and have a lower impact on blood sugar levels.


Sugary Foods and Beverages

Consuming excessive amounts of sugar can lead to weight gain and insulin resistance, both of which are common in women with PCOS. Avoid sugary foods and drinks like sodas, fruit juices, candy, and desserts. Instead, opt for naturally sweet options like fresh fruits, which provide fibre, vitamins, and minerals while satisfying your sweet tooth.


High Glycemic Index Foods

Foods with a high glycemic index (GI) cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels. Avoid or limit the intake of white potatoes, white rice, and processed snacks as they can trigger hormonal imbalances. Opt for low GI alternatives such as sweet potatoes, quinoa, and legumes, which provide sustained energy and promote stable blood sugar levels.


Saturated and Trans Fats

Saturated and trans fats found in fatty meats, fried foods, processed snacks, and commercially baked goods can promote inflammation and insulin resistance. Choose healthier fats like those found in avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. These fats support hormone production and have anti-inflammatory properties.


Dairy Products

Some women with PCOS find that dairy products worsen their symptoms. Dairy contains hormones that may disrupt hormonal balance. If you suspect dairy aggravates your PCOS symptoms, try eliminating it from your diet for a few weeks and observe any changes. Opt for dairy alternatives like almond milk, coconut milk, or soy milk, which are widely available and often fortified with essential nutrients.


Caffeine And Alcohol

Both caffeine and alcohol can interfere with hormone production and metabolism. Excessive caffeine intake can disrupt sleep patterns and increase cortisol levels, while alcohol can affect liver function and contribute to hormonal imbalances. Limit your consumption of coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages. Instead, opt for herbal teas or infusions for a caffeine-free alternative, and drink alcohol in moderation or consider avoiding it altogether.


Related story: 15-Minutes PCOS Exercise You Can Do Anywhere


Recipe: Sprouts Tikki for PCOS-Friendly Diet


Ingredients list

  • 2 cups cooked sprouts (such as mung beans or mixed sprouts)
  • 2 green chilies, finely chopped
  • Ginger and garlic, to taste (finely grated or minced)
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup millet flour
  • 1 cup chopped coriander
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder (optional, adjust to your spice preference)
  • Cooking oil (preferably olive oil or coconut oil) for shallow frying




Step 1 :

In a mixing bowl, add the cooked sprouts and mash them using a fork or a potato masher until they form a coarse mixture.

Step 2 :

Add the finely chopped green chilies, ginger, and garlic to the mashed sprouts. Mix well to combine.

Step 3 :

In a small bowl, make a paste by combining the millet flour and water. Ensure there are no lumps in the mixture.

Step 4 :

Add the millet flour paste to the sprouts mixture. Mix thoroughly until well combined. The mixture should be slightly sticky but manageable.

Step 5 :

Now, add the chopped coriander, salt, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, and red chilli powder (if using). Mix everything together until evenly incorporated.

Step 6 :

Divide the mixture into small portions and shape them into round or flattened tikkis/patties.

Step 7 :

Heat a non-stick pan or griddle over medium heat. Add a small amount of oil and spread it evenly across the surface.

Step 8 :

Carefully place the tikkis on the heated pan. Cook each side for about 4-5 minutes or until golden brown, flipping them gently to ensure even cooking.

Step 9 :

Once the tikkis are cooked and crispy, transfer them to a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.

Step 10 :

Serve the sprouts tikkis hot with a side of mint chutney or yoghurt dip.


Need all your wellness solutions in one place? A whole new world awaits just a click away.


While there's no one-size-fits-all approach to managing PCOS through diet, avoiding certain foods can be beneficial in minimising symptoms and promoting hormonal balance. By reducing your intake of refined carbohydrates, sugary foods, high GI foods, saturated and trans fats, dairy, caffeine, and alcohol, you can support your body's natural processes and improve your overall well-being.

Regular health checks are essential for everyone, but they are particularly important for individuals who are at risk of or already have PCOS. Taking regular health checks can help detect PCOS at an early stage when it is easier to manage and treat. With the UR.Life HRA, we help you to invest in your well-being through seamless interventions and targeted medical treatments. Our holistic wellness approach caters to all aspects of your well-being. We ensure that you can bring your whole self to work.

With our medical professionals by your side, routine health check-ups will never be an issue. Advanced laboratory technologies back UR.Life’s Occupational Health Centers (OHC), and with highly qualified experts/technicians, we’re committed to delivering trusted and quality recommendations, modifications and advice to you.





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