Eating for PCOS

A brief introduction in the type of diet that is helpful for this condition.

One of the underlying problems with polycystic ovaries is elevated insulin levels. This can lead to insulin resistance, which is when the cells become insensitive to insulin, causing increasing levels of insulin in the blood, and a cycle that can become self perpetuating. Apart from medication, diet can improve the situation markedly, and in turn, assist in the treatment of PCOS.

Many readers will have heard of the GI Index. This is an index of how rapidly your blood sugar, and therefore your insulin levels, rise in response to eating a particular food. A food that has a high GI will elevate your blood sugar to high levels rapidly. Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and sugary foods have a high GI, and high fibre, unrefined carbohydrates like vegetables, some fruit and whole grains have a lower GI. It is important to consume lots of low to moderate GI carbohydrates so your insulin levels rise slowly to moderate levels instead of rapidly to high levels. It is also helpful to balance the three macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein and fat) at each meal.

There is a diet, called the Insulin Zone System, that revolves around the concept of combining low to moderate GI carbohydrate, protein and “good” fat with each meal (or snack). It is specifically designed to keep insulin levels in an appropriate “zone”. Many people may have the correct ratio of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in any given day, but it is not uncommon for people to have only carbohydrates (with little or no protein or fat) throughout the day and then have all their protein and fat with their nightly meal. Because insulin and blood sugar are generated every time food is consumed it is much better to keep the meals balanced throughout the day.

You can see that this is a very balanced way of eating, and whilst this is a very brief introduction, there are many books and much information on the internet, regarding the health benefits of these varied, well-balanced diets, particularly in regard to balancing insulin and blood sugar levels. It is not important to follow a particular diet strictly, but to understand the concepts and fit them into you lifestyle as best you can.

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