What Is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal imbalance that strikes women of childbearing age. Ovaries are normally released each month but for those with PCOS, that doesn’t happen regularly. This leads to cyst-like formation on the ovaries. This condition has the following symptoms (and more): irregular periods, difficulty to conceive, weight problems, easy fatigue, scalp hair loss (alopecia), excess hair growth on the body and face (hirsutism). Lifestyle and dietary changes need to be made in order to effectively manage this condition.
PCOS Among Celebrities
Many Pinays suffer from PCOS and there are various Philippine support groups specifically for those who have this medical condition. In the film industry, a number of celebs like Kristine Hermosa has this condition. Dina Bonnevie, her mother-in-law revealed that Kristina may have difficulty giving her a grandson because of that. She is married to Dina’s son (from a former relationship with Vic Sotto), Oyo Boy. A number of Hollywood celebrities have been open about their battle with PCOS. Jillian Michaels was criticized at one time for expressing a negative view towards becoming pregnant but she got to clear her statements when she revealed she was suffering from endometriosis and PCOS and was apprehensive about special medications and treatments her case would require if she became pregnant. Emma Thompson, Jools Oliver, and Rebecca Atkinson also suffer from PCOS. Victoria Beckham is very candid about her experiences with PCOS and would talk about a special diet she needed to observe due to this condition.
PCOS Diet Plan
For effective management of PCOS, a low-calorie diet is most advised and must be combined with regular exercise to help keep weight within normal levels. Medications are also needed many times to help correct or alleviate the symptoms PCOS sufferers experience.
As to diet programs, we need more studies to confirm whether one type of diet plan is more advantageous over the other. Plainly speaking though, eating the right foods is very crucial as an undisciplined diet may worsen insulin resistance and obesity. One should always remember to eat healthy.
Diet to Manage Infertility
One study recommends replacing animal protein sources with plant sources in order to reduce ovulatory infertility. It is also better to avoid transfats. Choose lean portions of meat and go skinless on your chicken. Abstain from red meat if you can. For meat purchases, choose non-GMO and grass-fed sources. Have more fish in your dishes. Go low-fat with your dairy. A number of nutritionists discourage soy consumption which may lead to infertility.
Diet to Manage Insulin Levels
Breakfast is always important for managing insulin levels so never skip it. Plan 3 smaller meals with snacks in between. This helps stabilize glucose levels since the body does not need to process and absorb much in one meal. Replace processed grains with low-GI foods. Avoid white bread and white rice. Instead, buy high- fiber bread like wholegrain bread or rye. Have oats, barley, and wheat as options. Use brown or black rice with your meals. Other low-GI foods are broccoli, kale, beans, apples, and grapefruit. Avoid mashed potatoes, muffins, and rice cakes. Skip your favorite Pinoy delicacies like champorado, biko, and kalamay. Noodles may be hard to give up but try to abstain as much as possible. Limit your intake of pansit, baked macaroni dishes, and macaroni salad.
Diet to Manage Weight
Skip fastfood meals. Plan your own meals. Go for steamed and baked meals you can reheat in the microwave. Take them with you to school or work. Have lentils more often. Make sure you have a variety of green leaves and veggies with each meal like tomatoes, capsicum, spinach, asparagus, and more. Have fruits in season, plain or with a drop of natural yoghurt. Choose nuts for snacks. Use pure butter instead of margarine. Avoid processed foods like frozen or canned sausages and meat. Skip sugary and salty snacks and desserts. Clear your stockroom of those bags of chips and try baking your own.
Skip panaderia products for snacks. In the Philippines, bread is consumed all day long and bakeries have a lot of bread varieties. If you have PCOS, you can’t eat bread all day long; that will only worsen your condition and continuously add pounds to your weight. Cut back on bread consumption and especially avoid it as a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack because it will only make you crave for more than 1 piece. For now, say goodbye to sugary ensaymadas, Spanish bread, londres, and the like.
PCOS Meal Plans
For a quick yet nutritious breakfast, try a Berry Smoothie- Blend the following until smooth and foamy: ½c blackberries, ½c blueberries, ½ c strawberries, ½c yoghurt, ½c low-fat milk, ¼tsp vanilla bean extract, ½c ice.
For your main veggie meals:
- Try Tofu Bean Salad- Mix these in a bowl: ½ pack of firm tofu (cubed), ½ can of kidney beans, ½ can of chick peas (make sure to rinse and drain), ½ can of olives, ¼c of chopped parsley, 1tbs olive oil, ½tbs of lemon juice, 1 serving of almonds. Chill then consume half now and half later.
- Another veggie dish you may try is lumpiang sariwa with peanut sauce.
For your main meaty meals, try Stir-fried Chicken- Lightly fry 1 skinless and shredded chicken breast in ½tsp of olive oil. Set aside. Sautee the following: half of a small onion (chopped), half of 1 small clove of garlic (minced), and half of a small bell pepper (chopped), for about 3 minutes then add 1/3 c broccoli, and half of a small carrot (thinly sliced). Put the chicken back into the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Top over cooked brown rice.
For a quick snack try a serving of trail mixed nuts and fruit seeds, nut butters + wholegrain bread, protein bars, baked potato chips, baked sweet potato chips, or siomai.
For drinks, you have a number of healthy choices. Water always tops the list so never substitute water for anything else. Have lemon water or grape water if you like added flavoring. Just squeeze some drops into your personal jug. Coconut water is healthy for you, it promotes detoxification and helps stabilize insulin levels. Avoid carbonated drinks and sugary drinks like artificial fruit juices. Always go for juiced fruits sweetened with honey or stevia. Try cranberry or grapefruit juice. Go sugar-free with your coffee if you can and use low-fat creamer. Have green tea, this helps detoxify the body and clear you of acne. Have it hot or iced for variety. Occasionally, try red wine.