5 Key PCOS Strategies
We all know our diet and lifestyle has a huge impact on our PCOS. Having PCOS can be confusing and stressful, however, adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle not only helps with weight loss but also many other symptoms that you may have as a result of PCOS, such as excessive hair growth, hair loss, acne.
Focus on Good Nutrition
Good nutrition is fundamental to managing your PCOS. Your diet should be made up of whole foods. Whole foods are foods that have been minimally processed or refined and are free from additives or other artificial substances.
Certain foods can exasperate the symptoms of PCOS, therefore it is important to know which foods you should reduce or even eliminate from your diet.
Manage your Blood Sugar
A common symptom of PCOS is insulin resistance. The role of the hormone insulin is to balance out blood sugar levels and keep them in a normal range. Insulin, therefore tells the cells of your body whether to burn the sugar for energy or store it as fat. As your blood sugar levels begin to decrease so does your insulin.
However, women with PCOS often suffer from insulin resistance. This, therefore, means that your cells are resistant to the effects of insulin, which can result in hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Too much insulin causes the ovaries to make too much testosterone. As a result of elevated insulin and testosterone levels, ovulatory problems occur, such as irregular periods and infertility.
Food Nutrition Tips to control blood sugar levels:
- Opt for Low Glycemic Index Carbohydrates
- Eat foods high protein
- Consume high fiber foods
- Choose healthy fats (fish, seeds, nuts, oils)
A healthy diet coupled with regular exercise is fundamental to healing your body and treating your PCOS. Exercising provides a whole host of health benefits. When we speak about exercise it does not mean an intense gym workout. Exercise can be anything which allows you to be active and elevates the heart rate.
Exercising is great for women who have PCOS and are insulin resistant. Exercise allows you to lower your blood sugar levels. Any moderate exercise, such as walking, that makes your heart beat a little faster causes your muscles to use more glucose and as a result, over time your blood sugar levels begin to lower and also makes the insulin in your body work better.
Benefits of exercise
- Reduces stress and anxiety levels
- Increases endorphins
- Regulates blood glucose levels
- Improves high-density lipoprotein (‘good’ cholesterol)
- Reduces unhealthy triglycerides
- Joint and bone health
- Manage weight
- Gain strength and build muscle
Put an end to restriction
A healthy diet does not mean restricting or depriving yourself of all foods. There are many diets out there telling you how to lose weight, but everyone know's diets don't work. No one can last or survive on a low-calorie diet; it is unsustainable. These diets claiming you can lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks are crazy. Sure it can be done, but this is not healthy. Most likely you will only be eating between 600-800 calories a day, which is detrimental to your overall health and for what, to lose those pounds that you will most certainly put back on and then some when you start eating like a normal human being.
Healthy eating should not be a chore or burden, it should instead be easy and enjoyable.
Manage your Stress
I know this can be hard to do but managing your stress is important when it comes to balancing your hormones and managing your PCOS. Stress raises the level of cortisol and this causes inflammation. Too much stress causes an overactive adrenal, resulting in more androgens being produced.
Being under a lot of stress or continual stress can lead to high cortisol levels (cortisol is the hormone that is produced in the stress response). As a result, increased cortisol can cause hormone resistance. This means that the cells can not be influenced directly as the cellular receptors to hormones have become less sensitive to the effect of that hormone and the hormone can not do what it is supposed to do.
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