We must be mindful of what we eat. It is the basic essence of a healthy lifestyle.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (commonly known as PCOS) is one of the most common hormonal disorders,
affecting an estimated one in every five women in India. One of the main underlying causes of PCOS is
insulin resistance. A diverse diet, which is based on local & seasonal foods and is culturally compliant, can help to reverse insulin resistance and thus keep a check on PCOS as well.
It is necessary to recognize the importance of local food. The food that is easily available and is also much practical to include in the everyday diet routine, is completely overlooked most of the time during dietary changes. We are forgetting our cultural food habits and running towards a westernized trend. The food you consume must be local and fresh. Drop the fuss over expensive avocados and embrace the desi super foods.
Niti Dhulla, a professional nutritionist and classical yoga instructor, has helped many women in their PCOS reversal
journeys. She has listed down a bunch of super foods that’ll help you fight insulin resistance.
5 Super Foods for PCOS Reversal
Raisins are loaded with fiber and when they are soaked in water, they act as natural laxatives. Thus, they help prevent constipation. They are packed with other essential nutrients like iron, selenium, zinc and magnesium. There are excellent antioxidants in raisins, which are a boon for skin health and help to keep the skin clear and glowing. Besides that, it works at regulating blood sugar levels and blood pressure. It has phytoestrogens, which
helps to improve reproductive hormone profile of those who are battling PCOS. So, dear girls and women out there, make sure that you start your day with raisins, and do not forget to soak them overnight!
Flaxseeds are one of the best sources of alpha linolenic acid (Omega-3). Thus, it acts as an excellent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant food. It contains soluble fiber (approximately 40%) which is food for friendly gut bacteria. It helps to manage blood sugar levels better and keeps away digestive issues. They are a good source of thiamine, copper, molybdenum, magnesium and phosphorus. They contain phytoestrogens, which mimic the female reproductive hormone estrogen. Thus, it works for improving the hormonal profile of PCOS patients. It is best to lightly roast the flaxseeds before consumption.
Traditionally, coconut has been used to attain clear skin and strong hair. It is a fabulous source of manganese and copper. Besides, it is good for bone health and helps in formation of red blood cells, as it contains good amounts of magnesium, iron and phosphorus. It is a great source of MCTs, which is beneficial in fat loss. The special proteins of coconut meat work at regulating blood sugar levels and improve insulin resistance. Some shredded coconut topping on your morning poha or coconut chutney or just the coconut meat as a mid-morning meal are excellent ways to incorporate coconut in your diet.
Ghee has been bad-mouthed in the past few years and labelled as ‘Fattening’. Now, here’s the catch, ghee can lower glycemic index of a food and which leads to slow spike in blood sugar levels. Thus, it helps to regulate blood sugar levels. Insulin resistance leads to PCOS and obesity that can be easily managed by eating low GI meals. It is loaded with vitamin A, D, E and K. It helps with enlarged pores on the skin. Ghee is a potent anti-oxidant. It helps to understand satiety signals better and thus prevents individuals from over-eating. It helps to decrease levels of bad cholesterol in the body. Due to a special fat called SCFA, ghee helps to maintain a healthy gut and promotes fat burning. If you are someone, who has attempted multiple fad diets (soups, salads, keto, intermittent and the likes) but unable to lose fat, ghee is that one friend you need to rely on.
It is a well-known fact that ragi is one of the best vegetarian source of Iron and Calcium. Painful cramps during periods are a familiarity for those who have PCOS. One reason why you could be getting cramps is inadequate intake of calcium. Ragi help to enrich us with not just calcium but also magnesium. In addition, magnesium helps lower insulin resistance. It is rich in antioxidants and fiber as well. It helps maintain good digestive health. So, what are you waiting for? Include ragi into your diet!
While we talk about foods that help with PCOS, it is important to understand that there are “terms and conditions applied”. This means that even as we include these foods in our diet, we cannot forget to change our lifestyle. Be it sleep, exercise, or being more physically active. There are no short cuts. While the above foods might help you accelerate your reversal journey, they cannot compensate for the necessary changes in one’s routine.
Article by our PCOS Expert
– Dt. Niti Dhulla (Nutritionist and Dietitian, Gold Medalist in Foods, Nutrition and Dietetics, PCOS Expert, Certified Yoga Instructor)