By: Karly Lynn Certified Holistic Nutritionist TM
Lately, the topic of PCOS has been coming up in conversation quite a bit. I know from working at the clinic that many women are faced with this hormonal condition. I wanted to gather some information to share with women that was factual and concise as to what they should be eating and why exercise is vitally important in controlling PCOS symptoms. Here is what I discovered.
PCOS or Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome is one of the most prevalent and frequent female endocrine disorders to date. It can affect 5-10% of the female population within reproductive age.
The main symptoms of PCOS are anovulation (no ovulation) resulting from irregular menstruation, ovulation related infertility and polycystic ovaries. Another common symptom is higher than normal amounts of androgenic hormone (male hormone) that may lead to increased hair growth on the face, chronic inflammation within the body, acne, insulin resistance and may lead to obesity and type 2 Diabetes.
The severity of the above symptoms is often varied with each particular case. Some women have one or more of the symptoms, while others have little to no symptoms at all. One of the most positive aspects of PCOS is that much like type 2 Diabetes, PCOS can be stabilized and controlled by a combination of diet and exercise. PCOS has no known cause, but some researchers believe it can be genetic in nature or caused by pollutants found in the environment.
So what happens when you are diagnosed with PCOS? How do you go from this overwhelming diagnosis to a happy and healthy body and lifestyle? First talk to your doctor about what kind of resources are out there for you to utilize, such as a Nutritionist or Dietitian who can explain the right food, lifestyle and exercise choices for you. If you have talked to your doctor and they were not helpful in suggesting a Nutritionist or Dietitian, you are in luck. I happen to be a Certified Holistic Nutritionist TM and can give you the proper nutrition and lifestyle changes to help with your PCOS battle.
Where to start? Take a really hard and honest look at what you are eating, when you are eating and how much you are eating. Many of our food struggles are directly correlated with how we are feeling within our day to day lives. Think about when you are extremely tired and stressed out. Are you going to be making the wisest food choices as compared to when you are feeling refreshed and not stressed?
I recommend writing down what you eat. Be very honest and record everything you are eating in a food log or journal. It can be pretty astounding to see what you eat on a daily basis when you have it written down in front of you. From there you can assess what good food choices you are making and the food choices that should be changed or altered.
I recommend to my clients to start from scratch. When we are talking about PCOS food matters! Clean out your pantry and cupboards of any food choices that are “bad” or any “cheat food” that may tempt you from not eating cleanly.
What are the food choices you should be eating with PCOS?
- Complex Carbohydrates
Try eating complex carbohydrates as opposed to refined carbs .
- High Fiber Foods
Fiber helps to prevent the risk of increased weight gain, heart disease and diabetes.
- Protein Sources
Organic, lean, pesticide and herbicide free meats are encouraged as they do not have as much saturated fat and adverse growth hormones as meats that are commercially purchased from the grocery store.
- Healthy Fats
Moderate amounts of unsaturated fatty acids Omega 3, 6 and 9 oils are encouraged as they are free from any chemical additives or preservatives which can cause free radical damage or cellular inflammation within the body.
- Portion Size
Portion size is another issue I think a lot of people run into trouble with. How do you know how much meat or carbs or vegetables you should be eating at once?
Increasing Activity Levels
Not only is diet important, but physical activity plays a pivotal role in helping to control PCOS symptoms.
Increasing activity levels could include anything that you like to do that’s physical, it doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym running and pumping iron. I think the hardest part about physical activity is finding and keeping the motivation to get off the couch, put your runner’s on and actually move your body to get your heart rate up.
Make sure the exercise you are doing is moderate to vigorous in intensity, as this allows your breath to become more intense and your heart to beat faster.
The combination of dietary tweaks and increased physical activity can have a beneficial impact on your day to day life. If you choose to follow the above tips and tricks you should see increased energy levels, mood improvements and increased physical and mental strength. Sometimes it can be hard to take that first step into the world of health and wellness, but once you get there you will wonder what ever took you so long?
If you would like more information about supplementation or help with a PCOS specific nutrition plan, please feel free to contact me, I can help.
All the best on your journey!
Karly Lynn C.H.N.