The Best PCOS Diet Plan: Indian Foods to the Rescue

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Dr. Pakhi Sharma, MBBSGeneral Physician, 6+ Years
Published On : 17-Sep-2022Read Time : 6 minutes
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If you love food but have PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), you may be wondering which food is good or bad for your condition and what sacrifices of your favourite foods are needed. Do not be disappointed, we provide you with a detailed PCOS diet plan of Indian foods that will help you manage your weight as well as other symptoms of PCOS.

Contents:
  • What is PCOS?
  • What is the Role of Diet in PCOS?
  • PCOS Diet Chart
  • Indian PCOS Diet
  • Indian PCOS Diet: Know What Foods to Avoid
  • Don’t Have Time To Read?
  • FAQs

What is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects women of childbearing age. In this condition, your body produces more than the normal amount of male hormones (androgens) such as testosterone

This creates an imbalance between the male and female hormones in your body and leads to lack of ovulation, irregular or heavy menstrual cycles, unwanted facial hair, anxiety, weight gain, and eventually, infertility. You can reduce the risk of long-term complications associated with this condition such as Type 2 Diabetes and endometrial cancer by diagnosing and treating PCOS at the earliest.

What is the Role of the Diet in PCOS?

The balance of your hormones depends on the food you eat and if you follow a suitable diet, you can easily manage the symptoms of PCOS.

The food you consume acts as the main energy source for your body and is broken down into glucose (sugar) molecules and transported by insulin into your cells, which are then converted into energy required by the body. 

The exact cause of PCOS is unknown. However, insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia are considered contributory factors to PCOS. In insulin resistance, the cells in your body lose the ability to absorb the glucose from the bloodstream, which causes increased blood sugar levels. This, in turn, triggers the pancreas to produce more insulin to stabilise the blood sugar levels. 

The excess insulin now in your blood, in turn, may lead to excess production of androgens in the body, causing symptoms of PCOS such as irregular periods, hair growth, acne, anxiety, weight gain and infertility.

A diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugary foods can make insulin resistance and weight loss more difficult to manage in PCOS. Thus, you need to adopt a balanced diet based on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds in order to manage PCOS and its symptoms. 

PCOS Diet Chart

A diet for PCOS should follow certain guidelines regarding the macro and micronutrients:

  • Carbohydrates: A PCOS diet should include more complex carbohydrates and food with low glycaemic index, such as whole wheat flour, multigrain flours, millets, flours with bran, whole vegetables, fresh fruits, pulses, and dals. 
  • Fibre: Fibre can slow the absorption of sugar from food and help prevent sudden spikes in blood sugar levels, which in turn prevents the rise in insulin levels in your body. You can incorporate fibre into your diet in the form of nuts, salads, unstrained soups, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
  • Proteins: Proteins help a person feel satiated for a long time as they break down more slowly than carbohydrates in the body. Proteins also lower the glycaemic index of meals as they slow down the digestion of carbohydrates. Include protein sources such as low-fat milk and milk products, fish, chicken, egg, nuts, and dry fruits in your meals.
  • Fats: Fats play an important role in a healthy diet, but you should choose healthy unsaturated fats in your diet. Do not use excess butter, cheese, cream or mayonnaise in your food. Use olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, etc., as sources of healthy fats in your diet. 
  • Vitamins and minerals: Vitamins and minerals are necessary components for the vital functioning of your body. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are some of the richest sources of vitamins and minerals and should be included in plenty in your diet.

So which foods from each food group can a person with PCOS can include in their diet? Here are a few options you can include:

Whole Grains And Millets

Whole grains and millets are rich in fibre and complex carbohydrates. These fibre-rich foods release glucose more slowly, taking longer to digest and get absorbed into your bloodstream. 

However, whole grains should be consumed moderately, considering the portion size of the food and its effect on blood sugar levels. 

Few healthy whole grains to include in your diet:

  • Daliya 
  • Jowar
  • Bajra
  • Ragi
  • Brown rice
  • Oats
  • Barley

Pulses

Incorporating pulses in your diet is a great way to reduce the symptoms of PCOS such as insulin resistance and weight gain. Pulses are a good source of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals that can help reduce the risk of PCOS complications such as Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease. Few pulses to add to your daily diet include:

  • Chana dal
  • Moong dal 
  • Chickpeas 
  • Dried beans
  • Soybean 

Lean Protein

The protein in your diet helps synthesise hormones that are disrupted in PCOS, such as insulin, oestrogen, and testosterone. You can increase this effect of dietary protein, by relatively taking a lower intake of carbohydrates. Make sure you add lean protein sources such as:

  • Chicken
  • Egg
  • Fish
  • Skimmed milk
  • Tofu
  • Curd

Vegetables

You can add more high-fibre vegetables to your diet, as fibre helps slow down the digestion of food and helps maintain stable blood sugar levels. You can generously include these high-fibre vegetables in your diet:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Broccoli 
  • Beans
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower 

Fruits

Fruits are a great source of fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Make sure of the portion size as each fruit varies in its sugar content. Few fruits to include in your diet are:

  • Apples
  • Banana
  • Berries
  • Orange
  • Guava
  • Pomegranate
  • Papaya 
  • Pineapple

Spices And Herbs

The Indian diet includes several spices and herbs that are rich in antioxidants. Studies suggest that antioxidant supplementation can improve insulin sensitivity. You include these spices and herbs in your diet:

  • Clove
  • Cinnamon
  • Fenugreek
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Mint

Nuts And Seeds

You can have your favourite nuts and seeds to help manage PCOS. They are a good source of fibre and protein, which can slow down the digestion of food and the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. 

Nuts and seeds are also a source of heart-healthy fats such as monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. You can incorporate a handful of healthy nuts and seeds in your meal or enjoy it as a snack:

  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds

Indian PCOS Diet

The Indian diet is a healthy mix of whole grains, lentils, fibre-rich vegetables, and immunity-boosting herbs and spices. If you stick to a healthy Indian diet, it can help you manage the symptoms of PCOS, keep your weight in a healthy range, and stay away from PCOS-related complications. 

Here is a sample Indian diet plan for PCOS:

Early Morning

  • A glass of warm water with lemon (or)
  • A glass of methi (fenugreek) water

Breakfast

  • Ragi dosas (2) or idlis (2 to 3) with chutney (or)
  • Vegetable upma

Mid-morning

  • Sprouts (½ cup) (or)
  • Fruit (150 g)

Lunch

  • Vegetable salad 1 cup + Multigrain phulka 2 no + Cooked green vegetables 1 cup + Dal 1 cup (or)
  • Green Salad 1 cup + Millet roti 1 no + Vegetable curry 1 cup + Grilled fish/paneer 100 g.

Mid-afternoon

  • Buttermilk (or)
  • Green tea

Evening snack

  • Boiled chana masala 1 cup (or)
  • (Jowar puff / Wheat puffs) 1 cup

Dinner

  • Brown rice 1 cup + Chicken/Vegetable curry 1 cup + Curd 1/2 cup + Vegetable salad 1 cup (or)
  • Whole wheat phulka 2 no + 1 cup Kadhi + Green leafy vegetable curry 1 cup

Bedtime

  • Warm water + Lemon (or)
  • Warm milk + Turmeric + Cinnamon 

Indian PCOS Diet: Know What Foods to Avoid

With PCOS, an Indian diet plan can be helpful. However, there are also certain foods that you need to avoid as part of the diet. Foods to avoid include:

Refined And Processed Foods: You should avoid refined and processed foods such as French fries, cakes, jams, and sugary pastries as they are high in sugar and calorie content. These foods can cause insulin resistance and therefore lead to difficulty in managing weight.

Fried Foods: Avoid Indian deep-fried foods as they contain saturated and trans fats. These fats increase the production of oestrogen, which, at a high level, causes irregular periods, unwanted hair growth, and acne.

Sweets: Avoid Indian sweets as they contain a high amount of sugar and can spike up your blood sugar levels.

Starchy Vegetables: Avoid vegetables that contain high amounts of carbohydrates like potato, yam, turnips, and corn. 

Processed Fruit Juices And Concentrates: Fruits are rich in fibre but fruit juices are not. Avoid packaged fruit juices and concentrates as they add zero nutritional value to your diet. 

Red Meat: Avoid red meat like mutton, pork and beef as they are high in cholesterol and saturated fats. They can worsen the hormonal imbalance in PCOS.

Don’t Have Time To Read?

  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a hormonal imbalance that affects women of childbearing age. This health condition causes irregular periods, excessive facial hair, weight gain, and even infertility.
  • Insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia are considered contributory factors to PCOS. A diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugary foods can make insulin resistance and weight loss more difficult to manage in PCOS. 
  • Thus, you need to adopt a balanced diet based on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds in order to manage PCOS and its symptoms. 
  • The Indian diet is rich in nutritional value and helps in managing PCOS by improving weight loss, supporting the immune system, and regulating blood sugar levels.
  • In the Indian diet for PCOS, include more whole grains, pulses, lean meat, vegetables, fruits, spices, herbs, nuts, and seeds as they are rich in fibre content and have low sugar content.
  • Avoid processed foods, fried foods, juices, sweets, starchy vegetables, and red meat as they can derail your management of PCOS.
  • Start your PCOS management journey with Phable. Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading gynaecologists, endocrinologists, nutritionists, and dieticians; order medicines; book lab tests; and get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Check out our store to order healthy treats, weighing scales, fitness bands, and more! We also have a PCOS Management program that provides ‎360º care. 

Frequently Asked Questions

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