Millet for PCOS: Is it the Best Way to Manage PCOS?

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Dr. Pakhi Sharma, MBBSGeneral Physician, 6+ Years
Published On : 4-Jan-2023Read Time : 5 minutes
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Millets, one of the most popularly cultivated grains across the world, seem to have garnered a lot of attention lately. Why? They are packed with nutrition & loaded with health benefits. 

 

They have been recommended to diabetics and hypertensives as a part of a healthy diet, but are there any benefits of millets for PCOS? Will it slowly make its way into the diet charts of women with PCOS? Keep reading to know!  

Contents:

  • A Short Intro to Millets and Their Types
  • Millets & Benefits for PCOS
  • Is There a Best Millet for PCOS?
  • Ways to Add Millet to Your PCOS Diet
  • Can There Be a Risk of Overconsuming Millets?
  • Do Millets Come With Other Benefits Too?
  • Don’t Have Time to Read?
  • FAQs

 

A Short Intro to Millets and Their Types

Millets are cereal grains (seeds that come from grasses) that have been used for centuries for consumption by humans, livestock and even bird feeding. However, they have now gained popularity (over the years!) due to their gluten-free nature and high fibre, protein and antioxidant content.

 

Millets come in multiple varieties that vary in colour, size and species. Millets may be categorised as large and small millets.

 

Large millets generally include:

  • Finger Millet (ragi
  • Foxtail Millet (kangni)
  • Pearl Millet (bajra)
  • Proso Millet (chena or barri)

 

Meanwhile, small millets include:

  • Little Millet (kutki)
  • Barnyard Millet
  • Guinea Millet
  • Browntop Millet


Since most millets have a similar nutritional profile, here’s the nutritional content in 1 cup (174 g) of cooked millet:
 

NutrientAmount
Energy207 kcal.
Water124 g
Protein6.11 g
Calcium5.22 mg
Fat1.74 g
Carbohydrate41.2 g
Fibre2.26 g
Phosphorous174 mg
Potassium108 mg

Source: USDA (Food Central)

Millets & Benefits for PCOS

Talking about PCOS, it is a chronic hormonal condition that affects women who are of reproductive age. In women with PCOS, the ovaries produce an abnormal amount of male hormones called androgens, which are generally found in females but in lesser amounts.

 

This causes a hormonal imbalance, which causes problems with ovulation, irregular menstrual cycles, and other PCOS-related symptoms.

 

Now, coming to how millets help in PCOS - millets or any other food cannot cure PCOS but they can relieve symptoms of PCOS and help you manage your condition better. Some of the benefits of millet for PCOS include:

 

1. May Help in Weight Management

PCOS, being a condition that comes with a considerable amount of weight gain, requires effective weight loss efforts to prevent complications. Millets are rich in dietary fibre, which generally takes longer to get digested in your gut. 

 

This helps prevent frequent snacking by keeping you full for longer and putting a stop to sudden hunger pangs. 

 

Millet also improves the functioning of your digestive system. A healthy digestive system may be linked with effective weight loss.

 

2. May Reduce the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

One of the possible causes behind PCOS symptoms is believed to be insulin resistance. With effective management of protein and carbohydrates, insulin resistance may be reduced. Millets, being a rich source of protein and complex carbs, come with a low glycaemic index. 

 

This can help prevent sudden blood sugar spikes, which can help reduce the symptoms of PCOS and the risk of other complications.

 

Increased insulin resistance is another common symptom women experience with PCOS. This leads to an increased risk of developing prediabetes and diabetes if not taken care of at the right time. 

 

Millets may increase the levels of adiponectin, a hormone released by your adipose (fat) tissues that may help with insulin sensitivity in women with PCOS. 

 

Lower levels of adiponectin are associated with conditions such as obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. Also, millets are a low GI cereal grain which makes it an ideal food for those who have Type 2 Diabetes in PCOS.


3. May Reduce Anxiety and Depression

PCOS comes with a lot of emotional and psychological stress owing to multiple symptoms, leading to disturbed hormonal balances, which in turn can affect your mood. 

 

Studies suggest that millets contain tryptophan (which helps in the production of serotonin) which may reduce stress and the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Is There a Best Millet for PCOS?

All millets are healthy and nutritious for your health. Millets, unlike other grains such as wheat, are higher in calories. It is crucial to limit your consumption of millet, be it any type, to not more than a cup of cooked millet in a day. 

 

Millets expand after being cooked, so it is important to be mindful about how much you are consuming in a day to avoid unwanted weight gain in PCOS.

 

Check with your doctor/dietician:

  • If you wish to replace wheat or rice with millet for all meals and if you can have more than 1 serving of cooked millet in a day. 
  • To identify which millets are good for PCOS, depending on your symptoms and overall health condition.

Ways to Add Millet to Your PCOS Diet

You can incorporate millet into your daily PCOS diet in either of the following ways:

  • Porridge
  • Chapati
  • Idlis
  • Pancakes
  • Pulao

Can There Be a Risk of Overconsuming Millets?

Despite the multiple benefits they hold for your health, overconsumption of millet may cause some side effects. These include:

  • Millets contain certain compounds known as anti-nutrients. For instance,
    • Phytic acid can block the absorption of nutrients such as protein, calcium, zinc, etc. leading to specific nutritional deficiencies.
    • Goitrogenic polyphenols may increase the risk of developing goitre.

Do Millets Come With Other Benefits Too?

  • Millets are a rich source of phenolic compoundsferulic acid and catechins, which act as antioxidants and help protect your body against oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can be the culprit behind the development of multiple chronic conditions.
  • Millets contain soluble fibre which produces a thick and sticky substance that traps in the fats and may help reduce your cholesterol levels.
  • Millets can aid in the better functioning of your cardiovascular system as it contains magnesium, vitamin B3 or niacin and may increase the levels of a protein called adiponectin, which can reduce the factors that lead to cardiovascular diseases.


To know more about which foods you need to avoid or eat in PCOS. Read our blog here.


 

Don’t Have Time To Read?

  • Millets are cereal grains derived from the grass family Poaceae. They are gluten-free and high in fibre, protein and antioxidants. The varieties may vary in colour, size and species and may be categorised as large and small millets.
  • Some of the benefits of consuming millet for PCOS include possible help in weight management, reduced risk of Type 2 Diabetes, and reduced anxiety and depression.
  • All varieties are healthy and nutritious for your health. Millets are higher in calories and that is why it is crucial to limit your consumption of millet to not more than a cup of cooked millet in a day.
  • You can eat millet on a daily basis and incorporate it into your daily PCOS diet by using it to make porridge, chapatiidlis, pancakes, pulao and several other ways.
  • Despite the multiple benefits they hold for your health, the overconsumption of millet may cause some side effects such as reduced absorption of nutrients such as protein, calcium, zinc, etc. leading to specific nutritional deficiencies and may increase the risk of developing goitre.
  • Start your PCOS management journey with Phable. Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading gynaecologists, endocrinologists, nutritionists, and dieticiansorder medicinesbook 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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