PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a condition caused by an imbalance of hormones in the body. This syndrome can adversely affect fertility in women and may contribute to a variety of other health complications. A healthy diet can play an essential role in balancing hormones and in managing PCOS symptoms.
This guide is designed to provide an overview of foods that have been shown to have a positive effect on hormone levels and to offer a comprehensive PDF with recipes and tips to include in your diet.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormone imbalance that affects approximately 10 percent of women of childbearing age.
It occurs when the body produces too much androgen, a male hormone, leading to a variety of symptoms including irregular or absent menstrual cycles, difficulty getting pregnant, excessive hair growth on the face and body, thinning hair on the scalp, cysts on the ovaries, acne and weight gain.
While there is no known cure for PCOS, many women have found success in balancing their hormones through dietary modifications.
By eating certain foods and avoiding others with certain ingredients and compounds that can increase hormonal fluctuations, it’s possible to restore balance in your system. Dairy products are rich in calcium which helps regulate hormones as well as reduce inflammation which may help with some PCOS symptoms.
Whole grains provide antioxidant protection that may reduce inflammation while providing your body with essential nutrients like B vitamins which support healthy hormone production. Eating plenty of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables can help regulate insulin levels which helps balance the amount of testosterone produced in PCOS patients.
Additionally adding beneficial fats such as omega-3 fatty acids can increase the production of anti-inflammatory proteins to help reduce symptoms associated with PCOS and offer cardiovascular protection.
With a few small diet changes, women can see big improvements in their symptoms but it’s important to remember every person’s body reacts differently so what works for one may not work for all.
Symptoms of PCOS
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition caused by an imbalance of hormones. The primary symptom of PCOS is the presence of cysts on the ovaries, which occurs when hormones that control ovulation and menstruation become imbalanced.
Additional common symptoms include irregular menstrual cycles, excessive body hair growth (hirsutism), acne, and weight gain. Unfortunately, these symptoms can be debilitating and can affect fertility if not addressed.
It is possible to reduce the severity of PCOS through diet modifications and lifestyle improvements that focus on hormone-balancing foods for PCOS. Eating certain types of food as part of a healthy diet can help restore balance to your hormone levels by providing essential nutrients for reproductive health.
Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, and inositol are just a few examples of nutrient-rich hormone-balancing foods for PCOS that you should consider adding to your diet.
Foods to Balance Hormones
Hormone-balancing foods can be beneficial for those suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Foods that provide adequate levels of key nutrients and that help regulate hormones are important for managing PCOS.
This article will discuss which foods are best for hormone balancing and how to put them into your diet. Additionally, we will provide a comprehensive PDF guide with more information on the foods that you should be eating to support hormone balance.
High Fiber Foods
foods high in fiber, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains are beneficial for general health and particularly when it comes to balancing hormones. These foods can help slow digestion and feed healthy gut bacteria that produce beneficial hormones like serotonin.
In addition to fiber content, these types of foods are good sources of other beneficial micronutrients like vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals which may also help with hormone balance.
High-fiber foods include:
-Fresh fruits like apples, oranges, and bananas
-Vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale
-Legumes such as lentils, black beans, or chickpeas
-Whole grains like oats, quinoa, or barley
-Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, or pecans
-Seeds such as chia seeds or sunflower seeds.
Healthy fats are essential to those suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) as they help to balance hormones. Healthy fats provide the body with essential fatty acids and help to reduce inflammation, promote healthy hormone levels, and reduce cravings.
Examples of healthy fats include:
-Nuts and nut butter (such as almond butter)
-Seeds (such as flaxseed)
-Coconuts and coconut milk or oil
-Organic, grass-fed foods that are naturally high in fat such as beef, butter, eggs, full fat milk, yogurt, cheese, and poultry
-Cold water fish such as wild salmon and sardines
-Plant oils such as avocado oil, flax seed oil, or walnut oil
To ensure balanced hormone levels it’s important to eat healthy fats in moderation without overindulging. Keep portion sizes of these items small — 1 tablespoon per meal is all your body needs.
Cruciferous vegetables are an essential part of a PCOS diet because they contain numerous nutrients and compounds that aid in balancing hormones. Cruciferous vegetables are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals such as Vitamins A, C, K, folate, fiber magnesium, and potassium which provide several health benefits.
These power-packed veggies not only help in weight management but also help to promote healthy hormone balance and reduce inflammation associated with PCOS. Cruciferous vegetables include:
In order to get the maximum benefit from cruciferous veggies, it is recommended to consume them either raw or lightly steamed as it helps keep their nutrient content intact. All these amazing veggies are highly versatile; they can be enjoyed as salads with healthful dressings or incorporated into your favorite meals like stir fries and soups for a powerhouse hormone-balancing punch!
Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring plant compounds found in many fruits, vegetables, and grains. They have a similar structure to the human hormone estrogen, but not the same effects. While human estrogens can cause undesirable side effects when out of balance, phytoestrogens can actually help balance your hormones.
Additionally, they contain fiber and healthy fats that are beneficial to gut health and reduce inflammation. Some foods that are high in phytoestrogens include:
It’s important to talk with your healthcare provider before adding a new food or supplement to your diet; for people with PCOS, anything that affects hormones may also affect blood sugar levels. Keep this in mind when introducing any new dietary habits.
An important mineral for balancing hormones, iron is especially essential for women—it helps nourish our blood, which carries oxygen and nutrient-dense hormones throughout our body. Iron is also crucial for renewing cells and ensuring a healthy immune system. Iron deficiency is one of the main characteristics of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and should be taken seriously.
Adding iron-rich foods to your diet can be a great step towards balancing hormones, particularly if your PCOS diagnosis includes signs of anemia or low iron levels. Some sources are lean beef and chicken, eggs, seafood such as shrimp and canned tuna, turkey, soybeans, lentils and quinoa, cashews, and almonds seeds with pumpkin seeds being the highest iron content among them.
Green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and kale are great sources of both iron and magnesium so adding these regularly to your diet is always a great idea. Leafy greens are also high in antioxidants which help boost immunity by reducing free radicals in the body that cause harm to our cells! Other sources include peppers, spinach, and dried fruits like figs or raisins – all having around two to three milligrams of iron per cup.
PCOS-Friendly Meal Plan
Having PCOS can make it hard to be in control of your diet. Many women experience cravings, bloating, and weight gain due to the hormone imbalances that accompany PCOS. But, there are certain foods that can help to balance your hormones and provide the necessary nutrients needed to sustain a healthy PCOS lifestyle. This guide will give you a complete PCOS-friendly meal plan to follow.
Sample Meal Plan
Sample meal plans for those with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) should include multiple meals with adequate servings of protein, healthy carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Eating meals regularly throughout the day as well as minimizing sugar and refined carbohydrates can help to regulate the hormones.
Consuming antioxidants from colorful fruits and vegetables helps to reduce inflammation and boost fertility. Here is a sample balanced meal plan for a PCOS patient:
Breakfast: Egg White Omelette with Mushrooms and Tomatoes, served with Avocado Toast
Snack: Hummus Dip and Fresh Cut Veggies
Lunch: Salmon Burger on Whole Wheat Bun, Side of Sweet Potato Wedges
Snack: Nonfat Greek Yogurt topped with Berries
Dinner: Grilled Chicken Breasts over Sautéed Vegetables
Dessert/Snack: Apple Slices drizzled with Honey
Having a balanced diet that is tailored to your individual needs and metabolism can help to manage PCOS symptoms. There are many recipes available online, specifically designed to balance hormones and provide relief from the symptoms of PCOS while also being nutritious and delicious.
Start your day with recipes featuring complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, legumes, oatmeal, or quinoa for optimum fuel throughout the day. Adding some healthy fats like a spoonful of almond butter or flaked coconut is an easy way to make breakfast more satisfying.
For lunch, include fresh vegetables including spinach, broccoli, or kale for fiber-rich energy. Pack a salad with salad greens and oil-free dressing for an easy meal that you can prepare in advance. Snack on crunchy vegetables like cucumber slices or celery sticks with hummus for a protein-packed snack replacement for chips or sweets.
Dinner may include grilled meats such as salmon, chicken, or turkey breast with steamed vegetables such as squash, sweet potatoes, or green beans tossed in a fresh lemon vinaigrette dressing for added flavor.
Combine this dish with brown rice for a complete healthy meal that’s easy to prepare and customize according to individual dietary preferences and needs. If trying new recipes isn’t your thing jumpstart your hormone-balancing journey by following the 21-day PCOS Recipes Kit.
Eating nutrient-dense foods that are rich in essential vitamins and minerals is a great way to support hormone balance in women with PCOS. A balanced diet filled with healthy, whole foods, low-glycemic carbs, and omega-3 fatty acids helps to regulate insulin, reduce inflammation, and improve PCOS symptoms.
In this guide, we discussed the health benefits of various hormone-balancing foods for women with PCOS and also provided a PDF for you to refer to for meal ideas.
Benefits of a PCOS-Friendly Diet
Eating foods that are beneficial for those with PCOS can have many positive health effects and help to balance hormones. These foods provide the body with essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to support overall health.
Consuming a balanced diet full of nutritious PCOS-friendly foods can help regulate hormones, reduce inflammation, boost immune system functioning, lower blood sugar levels, and decrease risks of developing serious medical complications such as Type 2 Diabetes.
Additionally, indulging in a healthy and varied diet can help reduce symptoms like acne, unwanted hair growth, and weight gain. To summarize the benefits of a PCOS-friendly diet:
-Helps regulate hormones
-Boosts immune system functioning
-Lowers blood sugar levels
-Decreases risk for serious medical conditions
-Reduces acne & unwanted hair growth
-Helps to promote sustainable weight loss
PCOS-Friendly Foods PDF
At the end of this guide, you can find a comprehensive PCOS-friendly food list PDF you can download and print for easy reference. This PDF contains a selection of foods that may help keep your hormones balanced and could potentially assist in managing unwanted symptoms associated with PCOS.
Remember, the best way to prevent your hormones from getting out of balance is to prioritize nutritious, unprocessed whole foods while limiting processed junk foods high in saturated fats and added sugars.
Consider adding nutrient-rich plant-based options such as legumes, oats, quinoa, fruit, and vegetables (always try to get organic produce if possible) as well as lean proteins such as wild-caught fish or grassroots chicken or turkey. Fats are still essential for optimal health, so ensure to include resources from good fat sources like nuts butter chia seeds, and olive oil.
It’s also important not to forget about probiotic-rich fermented goodness such as Greek yogurt and sauerkraut in order to keep a healthy gut microbiome. Lastly, don’t forget to add plenty of hydrating fluids including water infused with frequent fruits plus noncaffeinated herbal teas like chamomile or nettle tea will also do the trick.
By following these suggestions regarding the types of food that may help balance PCOS hormones while avoiding those linked with hormone imbalance, you’ll be well on your way towards feeling better overall – inside and out!
Women with PCOS have options when it comes to managing their symptoms. Dietary changes and certain lifestyle modifications can help decrease the severity of some of the symptoms associated with PCOS. Healthy diet choices, physical activity, and stress management are essential components of living well while managing this condition.
Making lots of small adjustments to your diet over time can have a huge impact on your hormones. Focus on whole, real food ingredients and choose plant-based sources of protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates whenever possible. Eating balanced meals with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits can be a great way to nourish your body while helping manage the effects of PCOS.
Although supplements and medications may be necessary for some women with PCOS, remember that having a perspective on the importance of nutrition is key to living a life free from hormone imbalances associated with PCOS. Make sure to take time for self-care – whether that means going for a relaxing walk each day or getting regular acupuncture treatments; all are important elements to overall wellness!