The Perfect PCOS Breakfast: Why Your Diet Matters

Manage symptoms of PCOS, from fatigue to mood swings and insulin sensitivity, with these wholesome, balanced breakfast choices—whether a bean salad or a quinoa bowl

By D Tejaswi
21 Jun 2021

What is PCOS
PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome, is a condition where ovaries produce abnormal amounts of male sex hormones, androgens–affecting hormone levels in women. Some of the common signs of PCOS include increase in levels of testosterone, acne on face, excess hair on face and body, irregular menstrual cycles, insulin resistance, weight management issues and thinning of hair on the scalp. “The symptoms of PCOS vary from a person to person, therefore many a times cases of PCOS go undiagnosed,” says Dr Sarika Gupta, Consultant Gynaecologic Oncology and Robotic Gynaecology, Apollo Indraprastha Hospital, New Delhi.



How your diet can help manage PCOS
A study published in Fertility and Sterility says that a diet rich in low carbohydrates and monounsaturated fats such as nuts, avocado, sunflower oil, olive oil, sesame oil are beneficial. Further, following a meal plan that is low in unhealthy fats, salt and sugar improves androgen profile and insulin sensitivity in women with PCOS. “The diagnosis and management of PCOS is important as the levels of estrogen and progesterone in the blood define other aspects of women’s health including weight, mood, and energy levels,” says Dr Gupta.


Why you must not skip breakfast
Regular consumption of a healthy, high calorie breakfast reduces the risk of insulin resistance, finds a study titled Association between Frequency of Breakfast Consumption and Insulin Resistance. In women with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), hyperinsulinaemia (the amount of insulin in your blood is higher than the normal) stimulates ovarian androgen production, finds a study ‘Effects of caloric intake timing on insulin resistance’. A high caloric intake at breakfast with reduced caloric intake at dinner results in improved insulin sensitivity and hyperandrogenism thereby improving ovulation rate.
So, what’s the ideal breakfast for PCOS? “Focus on a breakfast that includes whole grains, healthy fats like nuts, seeds and nutty butter. Include fibrous fruits with legumes and pulses. Journal of Health Science finds that foods rich in green leaves and fibre improves insulin sensitivity and lowers cholesterol. “Ensure that the dairy products you consume are low in fat,” because high-fat dairy products may affect ovulation leading to infertility, says Dr Priyanka Rohatgi, PhD (Nutrition), Chief Clinical Dietician, Apollo Hospitals, Bengaluru.


Ideal breakfast for PCOS

  1. Quinoa wholesome paneer salad with toast and fresh soup
  2. Soya chunks and veggie cutlets with hung curd and chutney
  3. Bean salad
  4. Stir tossed broccoli with tofu and buttermilk
  5. Steamed broken wheat vegetarian upma with egg whites and cut fruit

Plan and prepare your own healthy breakfast keeping in mind the food to eat and avoid.

PCOS: What to eat

  • High-fiber foods (Barley, Rye, wholegrain bread, breakfast cereals)
  • Dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach
  • Beans and pulses such as kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils (red, green, yellow)
  • Nuts and seeds such as walnuts, flax seeds, sunflower seeds

PCOS: What to avoid

  • Refined carbs such as white bread, white pasta, white sugar
  • Sugary beverages such as soda, sweetened energy drinks or processed fruit juices
  • Fried foods such as french fries, chicken sticks and others


Follow Us On Instagram