Sometimes, as women, when something doesn’t feel right we tend to just power through. And hey, I’m all about strength, but so often in the midst of powering through, we’re missing blatant signs that something is wrong. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is something that very often goes undiagnosed because we are quick to play it off as something else that we will just work through. But 5-10% of women of childbearing age have symptoms of PCOS. Those symptoms include irregular menstruation, increased hair growth, ovarian cysts, acne, dandruff, unexplained weight gain (especially in the middle), thinning hair, darkening patches of skin, skin tags, pelvic region pain, depression or anxiety, sleep apnea and infertility.
There are a few theories on where PCOS comes from, including it being a genetic disorder but I would not have a career if food and health were not related. PCOS is caused by imbalanced hormones and what you eat highly affects that. 80% of PCOS sufferers are obese (often with an apple-shaped body) and weight loss is a huge factor in relieving these symptoms. To combat PCOS, I highly recommend the following changes:
- Cut out or limit sugar, refined grains and processed foods. High insulin levels are a huge factor in PCOS and will keep you from losing weight. Choose whole-grain carbohydrates with a low glycemic index like brown rice or quinoa and just throw those refined sugars & processed foods out.
- While you’re near the garbage, toss that dairy! Dairy leaves us bloated and with PCOS the goal is to choose foods that decrease inflammation. Fill your diet with fresh natural foods, such as vegetables, fruits and lean proteins and healthy fats. Blueberries, cherries, cranberries, papaya, strawberries, broccoli, eggplant, cabbage, peppers, radishes, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and cilantro are all great natural anti-inflammation foods.
- If you’re going to eat meat and/or dairy, you must go organic. Conventionally raised animal products make contain estrogenic hormones used as growth promoters that will upset your hormone balance.
- Go gluten-free. Eliminating gluten will not only help reduce inflammation but it’s also a great way to encourage weight loss, increase energy, and promote a healthy digestion process- all things that will relieve PCOS symptoms.
- Hit the gym. Exercise is so, so important when it comes to PCOS. It will promote weight loss, deflect diabetes and increase energy. Work up a sweat for at least 30 minutes a day for efficient results.
Take care of yourself today!