Tip of the Day
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Five percent to 10 percent of young women have a hormonal disorder called polycystic ovarian syndrome. Women with PCOS often have insulin resistance (the body does not use insulin well), resulting in too much insulin in the body. Excess insulin has been related to an increase in production of androgen, a male hormone made in fat cells, ovaries and adrenal glands.
Research has shown changing eating habits and getting more exercise helps to manage PCOS. Moderate weight loss (10 percent of total body weight) can help normalize menstrual cycles, regulate blood sugar and increase a woman’s chances of conceiving a baby. Eating more whole-grain foods, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese or yogurt can help lower your blood sugar, improve your body’s use of insulin and normalize hormone levels.
The best eating plan for women with PCOS includes:
- Regular meals or snacks every three to four hours. Don’t skip meals
- High-fiber carbohydrates to keep blood sugar levels normal and hunger pangs away. Eat whole grains, fruits and vegetables
- More healthy fats, like olive and canola oils, walnuts, almonds and avocadoes
- Protein like lean meats, fish, poultry and low-fat dairy in all meals and snacks
- Low or no-calorie beverages. Avoid high-calorie, sugar-laden and alcoholic choices
For more information on leading a eating with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, consult a registered dietitian in your area and visit www.EatRight.org/WomensHealth.
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Reviewed November 2012