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PCOS: Diet & Type of Exercises

Did you know 1 in every 5 women are affected by PCOS, caused by overproduction of hormones called androgens. This overproduction of androgens creates multiple cysts in ovaries causing irregular periods or no periods at all. Acne, baldness or hirsutism are some common symptoms of PCOS. Moreover, around 50% of women with this disorder are obese or overweight. So, if you’ve observed any of these patterns, this post is for you! From understanding what’s causing it to treating the deficiencies, we’ve got everything covered for you. Stay tuned!

What Causes PCOS?

Doctors are yet to find the real cause that leads to PCOS. They believe that excess production of male hormones can cause PCOS, as they prevent ovaries from making eggs normally and escalates the production of androgen. Insulin resistance and genes are two other factors that can triggers PCOS. Studies suggest, PCOS is hereditary.1 Over 50% of women with PCOS showed positive signs of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a situation, where existing insulin is not put to work effectively by body cells, thus increasing the requirement for more insulin. Extra insulin produced by pancreas trigger ovaries to produce male hormones, which results in hormone deficiency.

The Interrelation of Diet & PCOS:

Treating PCOS generally starts with diet changes. The primary goal to treat PCOS is to reduce or control the production of excess insulin. This can be achieved through weight loss, as losing extra pounds proved beneficial in lowering insulin levels and improving cholesterol thus reducing the risk of diabetes.
Even though there are many diet routines that can help you lose weight, some diets have an added advantage over others.

Foods to Add to Your Diet When Dealing With PCOS:

High in Proteins:

Less absorbent foods prove beneficial when dealing with PCOS. Protein rich food (more than 40% protein & 30% fat) tends to be filling & makes you eat less, therefore losing more weight.
Foods High in Protein: Eggs, Cottage Cheese, Tofu, Nuts or nut butter, Beans.

Low in GI:

Carbohydrates are essentially of two types – the one with fiber & the complex one. Women with PCOS must consume the one with Fiber which has low Glycemic Index. This keeps insulin level in the body controlled. Low GI foods, when eaten in moderation are healthy and keeps you full for longer durations, slows down absorption, thus keeping insulin levels low.
Low GI Foods: Boiled Sweet potatoes, Fresh fruits, High-Fiber cereals, whole grains.

DASH Diet:

DASH diet might be best for the women with PCOS. Even though it is designed for hypertension, DASH diet showed noticeable improvement in insulin resistance. This diet is rich in whole grains, fruits and low in saturated fats, refined grains and sweets. The best thing about DASH diet is it’s easy! All you need to do is to cut salty, sweet and high- saturated food from your diet.

Foods to eat: poultry, fish, fruits, whole grains, low-fat foods and fresh vegetables are preferred to control insulin levels.

Foods to Limit, if possible Avoid:

Refined carbs digest easily and favors the production of insulin. So, it’s better to avoid them along with sugary snacks, drinks and other processed foods.
To Avoid:
Red meat, White bread, pastries, potatoes, muffins and others that come with high GI.

Practice Lifestyle Changes:

Regular physical activity is essential for everyone, there’s no question about it. For women with PCOS daily exercise is mandatory. Sometimes, your body needs an extra push to overcome bodily imbalances. Like food, exercising in the right way has its perks over other types of physical activity. So, it’s important to stretch your body more to curb the negative effects of PCOS. Here’re some fun exercises you should do if you’ve PCOS.

Brisk Walking:

Walking is the best exercise to start with your workout routine. Powerup your striding with alternative walking. Walk in medium pace for 5 minutes & shift for fast paced strides for next 3 minutes. Sweat your body. Don’t stick to flat surfaces. Switch from flat surfaces to hilly terrains and vice versa time to time.

Get Wet:

Exercises like pool aerobics, swimming are great for PCOS. Pool activity is gentle on joints and puts entire body to work. Set distance and speed goals or try paddle boarding as this tightens whole body. Water sports are always great to stay fit.

Body Pumping:

PCOS triggers weight issues. Use this as your advantage and try pumping up your body by lifting weights periodically. Sign yourself up with a trainer for beginner weightlifting routine. This aids in building strength and also balances your BMI.

Finally, Do It Right:

Modification of diet brings multitudinous changes to your body. Manage your PCOS symptoms by adding low GI and anti-inflammatory diets. Talk to your Gynecologist about modifications of fat, carbs and protein intakes. Alongside, stretch your body more to reduce weight. If you’re bored with regular push-ups, challenge your body by learning a new sport!



This content, including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. Onthebuzz does not claim responsibility for this information.

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