PCOS & Diet: What to Eat and What to Avoid

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is the result of hormonal imbalances and metabolic issues. It is one of the most frequent endocrine illnesses in women. It affects one out of every ten women. 

The common symptoms of PCOS, according to gyecologist in Rawalpindi,  include acne, irregular periods, male pattern baldness, and hirsutism. PCOS can lead to other major health issues like depression, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and increased endometrial cancer risk.

PCOS has no cure. However, making some lifestyle changes and dietary modifications can help alleviate the condition.

Let’s discuss how PCOS and diet are linked.

Effect of Diet on PCOS Symptoms

Weight control and insulin resistance are two of the most important ways that nutrition impacts PCOS.

According to study, if a PCOS patient loses weight, their symptoms will improve. Because diet plays such a large role in weight management, paying attention to what you eat and modifying it as needed may help with PCOS symptoms.

Many women with PCOS suffer from insulin resistance (unable to use insulin the body produces). As a result, their ovaries secrete high levels of androgen such as testosterone, a male hormone. Moreover, insulin resistance makes the weight loss journey difficult. That’s why people with PCOS find it harder to lose weight.

Insulin resistance, and hence weight loss, can be worsened by a diet high in refined carbohydrates.

What to Eat With PCOS

Pay attention to these foods, if you are diagnosed with PCOS.

HIgh Fiber Foods

Leafy greens, which are abundant in dietary fibers, are an excellent food choice for people with PCOS. They’re nutrient rich and low in calories. It makes them great  for both weight loss and nourishment.

By slowing digestion and lowering the impact of sugar on the blood, high fibre diets can aid in the fight against insulin resistance. Also, they are rich in vitamin B. Most of the women with PCOS show a deficiency in vitamin B. Vitamin B deficiency is linked with PCOS symptoms. Therefore, leafy greens intake can improve vitamin B levels. 

Some examples of high fiber foods are:

  • Broccoli
  • Red leaf lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Almonds
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Cauliflower

Fatty Acids

You must be wondering about reading fatty acids as a food to eat. But fat is not an enemy!

There are a variety of good fats that you can include in your diet. Essential fatty acids that are important for hormone balance and weight management, are present in healthy fats. Furthermore, women with PCOS have two major concerns, fertility and conception. Here, fatty acids play an important role in both of these processes.

Some examples of healthy fat foods are:

  • Avocado
  • Fish
  • Flax seeds

These foods help in:

  • Hormone regulation
  • Regulates menstrual cycle
  • Increasing blood circulation to the uterus
  • Reducing prolactin (hormone that suppresses ovulation) sensitivity


Women with PCOS have a fourfold increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Wholegrains are abundant in fibre, which can help you manage your insulin levels.

They release sugar into the bloodstream at a slower but more consistent rate. It makes PCOS women bodies less likely to increase the blood sugar levels linked with type 2 diabetes.

Here are some examples of wholegrains:

  • Oats
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Wholegrain rice

What to Avoid With PCOS

Now, let’s dig into the details of foods you need to avoid if diagnosed with PCOS.

Processed Diet

Processed foods have a high glycemic index, GI. High GI involves high insulin production and diabetes development. As women with PCOS tend to be at high risk of diabetes development. To avoid processed foods is a must. 

These food include:

  • Biscuits
  • Cakes
  • Sugary cereals
  • Bread, and white rice


Dairy products such as cow’s milk have high levels of Insulin Growth Factor 1 (ICG-1). IGF-1 has the same structure and role as insulin. In women with PCOS, IGF-1 is present in high levels. Intake of cow’s milk products further raises their levels in the body. That’s why PCOS women should avoid including dairy in their diet.

Bad Fats

Health or bad fats can cause an increase in oestrogen production, which can worsen PCOS symptoms. Also, they may lead to weight gain, another factor complicating PCOS. So, you should avoid following foods containing saturated fats.

  • Cream
  • Cheese
  • Fatty red meats
  • Fried foods such as burgers and fries


Eating a PCOS-friendly diet can help you feel better and lessen some of the PCOS symptoms. It’s worth noting that there are also several things you should limit or avoid on a PCOS diet.

Allow time for the adjustments to take effect when you begin your PCOS diet. Make adjustments to your eating habits as you become more aware of how it makes you feel.

Consult a doctor if your symptoms continue.

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