Here's my take on what I think is the best diet when you have PCOS. This is from my own research nd personal experience of 20+ years with PCOS, and a brief summary of the approach I take in my work as a Dietitian working with women who have PCOS, are trying to lose weight with PCOS or who are trying to get pregnant / improve theire fertility.
Get my new E-book packed with 35 pages of information I give my clients plus 111 actual meal and snack ideas for PCOS. Details at the end of this post.
In general, a healthy diet for PCOS will be based on these broad guidelines:
- Eat a wide variety of nutritious foods with most meals based on vegetables, moderate amounts of whole grains and good serves of lean protein (I prefer fish, legumes, tofu and other soy protein and sometimes have lean meats and eggs). A wide variety of foods will give you a wide variety of different nutrients and help you to enjoy the social side of eating,and feel less deprived. Very strict diets are not very enjoyable.
- Very low carbohydrate diets are not recommended. Choose mostly low glycemic index carbohydrates and just a small serve each meal. Pay attention to the overall carbohydrate serve size so you are not over-consuming carbohydrates. Low glycemic index carbohydrate foods include legumes (dried peas, dried or canned beans and lentils), pasta, wholegrain breads, low GI breakfast cereals, basmati and doongara rice, noodles, sweet potato and some fruits and vegetables. More protein, vegetables and healthy fats and less carbohydrates is a good rule. You can get lots of meal ideas for these types of meals in my new E-book below.
- Avoid foods high in saturated fat and trans fat because these aren't good for heart health and women with PCOS already have a higher heart disease risk. These can be replaced by ‘healthy fats’ particularly Omega 3 fats and monounsaturated fat. The types of fats to avoid include fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, butter, coconut and palm oil and most deep fried takeaways and commercial baked products such as biscuits and pastries. Sources of healthy fats nuts and nut oils, avocado, olive oil, canola oil and margarines based on olive and canola oil.
- Choose lean protein foods which are low in saturated fat. This includes fish at least two times a week (pay attention to certain types of fish while you are trying to conceive, pregnant or breastfeeding, see note below). Examples of lean protein foods include fresh or canned fish, chicken with the skin removed, pork with the fat removed, lean red meat (without fat marbled through the meat) with visible fat removed, eggs, nuts and legumes. Limit fatty meats including sausages and delicatessen meats such as salami and devon.
- Balance your overall food intake with physical activity to maintain a healthy weight. You can achieve this by making sure the portions of food are not too large, and that most of your foods have a low energy density (high fat foods tend to have a high energy density). It’s also important to be active on most days of the week and your GP can advise on the amount and type of exercise that is right for you. Always check with your GP before you begin a new exercise program.
- Eat at least 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables each day. While low glycaemic ones are desirable, eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is most important. Fruit and vegetables are a good source of fibre, antioxidants, folate and vitamin A and C. A serve of fruit is a medium piece of fruit or 2 smaller fruits such as apricots. A serve of vegetables is 1/2 cup cooked vegetables or 1 cup salad vegetables.
- Make sure you are consuming enough foods high in calcium. Recent research has shown that food high in calcium may help with weight loss and be beneficial for high blood pressure and reducing your risk of heart disease. Aim to have 2-3 serves of dairy foods each day. A serve is 1 cup of low fat milk (or calcium fortified soy milk); or 200g low fat yoghurt (or soy yoghurt) or 40g low fat (<16% fat) cheese.
- Make sure you are consuming enough foods high in iron. This is an important recommendation for all women of child bearing age, not just women with PCOS. High iron foods include lean beef and lamb, iron fortified breakfast cereals, pork, chicken and fish. Some plant foods also contain iron, but this is less well absorbed than iron from meat.
- A note about consuming fish while you are trying to conceive or are breatfeeding: Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (the organisation that monitors the safety of our food supply in Australia or New Zealand) has some recommendations about avoiding some fish because of the potential for it to contain Mercury. You can read this information by following this link about mercury in fish during pregnancy.
Want More Detailed Information accurate inforation and actual food tips and meal ideas (over 100 ideas for meals)?
Get Claire's Brand New Comprehensive E-Book "What to eat When You Have PCOS" Introductory price just $17.00
** Instant Download **- which means you will have the E-book to start working on RIGHT AWAY, after a simple secure payment and download.
As many of you know, I am currently on leave and won't be returning to one on one counselling until mid 2014. I continue to get many many requests for appointments, so I wanted to share as much as I could with you about what to eat for PCOS and how I personally manage my own PCOS symptoms.
- 35 pages packed with the information I give my clients and use myself!
- Perfect for weight loss, getting your health back on track or starting off on a PCOS friendly eating plan.
- Advice on where to get the best help and most reputable health advice for other aspects of PCOS health.
- Heaps and heaps of practical everyday food advice you can start putting into action RIGHT NOW!
- Over 111 choices for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks including links to lots of my favorite PCOS friendly recipes.
Lots of women I have worked with have changed their health so much for the better by putting this information into practice. You can too for just $17.00, but only for one week.
Click HERE to purchase and immediately download My "What to Eat When You Have PCOS" E-Book right now.
There is no one size fits all best diet for women who have been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), but there are general diet / healthy eating guidelines for PCOS to guide you and help you lose weight and improve symptoms.
Claire Daly is an Accredited Practising Dietitian / Accredited Nutritionist in Melbourne Australia, She has particular interest in working with women who have PCOS (Claire has PCOS herself), fertility problems or who are wanting to achieve a healthy weight and good health prior to and during pregnancy. For more information visit www.eatwell.com.au
Like to use this blog post in your own newsletter or publication? Just email Claire to let her know which article you would like to use and how I would like you to acknowledge the source of the article, then you are on your way.