Do you have PCOS? If so, your diet can make a significant impact on how the rest of your body “behaves.” In addition to all the other tell-tale signs of PCOS, like thinning hair, excessive hair on the face, arms, and trunk, moles and skin tags, many women with PCOS also have an “apple” shape with a heavier mid-section – and it’s nearly impossible for them to get this off.
In most cases, excess weight – and the sugar cravings that are partially responsible for it – result from insulin resistance.
Have PCOS? Eat as if You’re Diabetic
This resistance to insulin causes blood sugar levels to spike and plummet. When it spikes, it taxes the pancreas with its demand for insulin, and when it plummets it sends you into low-blood sugar mode (the cause for those intense sugar cravings you are unable to resist).
This haywire, biochemical process is also the reason why women with PCOS have a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes, as well as type 2 diabetes later in their lives. Rollercoaster blood sugar levels are also the reason why Metformin, a common diabetes medication, is considered a fertility treatment for certain PCOS patients.
Thus, the right diet, paired with regular exercise can have a tremendous impact on your body’s insulin- and reproductive hormone levels. This, in turn, positively impacts your chance of conception.
Start with an anti-inflammatory diet
It’s not always easy to make cold-turkey changes so we recommend using baby-steps that lead to sustainable lifestyle choices. The first step is to start moving yourself into an anti-inflammatory diet. Inflammation is also a side-effect of PCOS, so the more we can do to reduce overall inflammation, the better it is for your reproductive system.
In general, anti-inflammatory diets focus on whole foods, lots of veggies and fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins – while minimizing processed foods and empty carbs. Opting for pesticide-, herbicide- and hormone-free foods is also a good idea.
Pair it with regular, moderate exercise
You don’t have to go crazy here. Even brisk walks with the dog, a bicycle ride on a nice day, a mild hike with a friend – anytime your heart rate is up, your blood sugar levels start to drop. Start easy and with activities you enjoy and can see yourself continuing in the long-run. If you want to add an exercise or gym membership to that, great, but prioritize consistency.
Reduce your Carbs
You should always check with your physician before starting any serious diet. However, women with PCOS who struggle with insulin resistance seem to respond well to low-carb diets like the Atkins or South Beach Diets.
Medicine.net’s, Type 2 Diabetes Plan…, is a good place to start when it comes to learning what foods you should eat and which foods you should avoid when trying to lower/balance your blood sugar levels. The American Diabetes Association’s, What Can I Eat if I Have Diabetes, is another great resource.
Does your PCOS diagnosis have you wondering what it means for your fertility future? Contact us here at Fertility Center of Dallas. We’ve helped hundreds of women just like you enjoy healthier lives, healthy pregnancies and beautiful, healthy babies.