Fertility foods for PCOS
So you have been diagnosed with PCOS, now what? Often your doctor will suggest the birth control pill if you are not trying to conceive, or an ovulation induction medication like Clomid or Letrozole if you are. A lot of people are left wondering, ‘what else can I do?’
Luckily PCOS is quite responsive to environmental factors like diet and lifestyle. (See my previous blog on boosting your chances of ovulation with lifestyle)
Today, I would like to focus more specifically on diet.
PCOS is an umbrella term, which means there are a lot of different types of PCOS and factors that contribute to PCOS.
Common factors associated with PCOS include:
Not all people with PCOS have equal amounts, or even all of these factors. With that said, in almost all cases people with PCOS, regardless of their BMI, will benefit from regulating their blood sugar and reducing inflammatory foods.
So here are my do’s and don’ts….or rather ‘eats and don’t eats’
DO / EAT
-Stick to foods on that are low on the Glycemic Index
-Eat every few hours to keep your blood sugar level
-Make sure that each snack and meal has either a protein or a fat in it and is mainly comprised of non-starchy vegetables
-Greens greens greens and moooore greens. Broccoli, Kale, chard, spinach, cucumber, zucchini, cauliflower, cabbage. Veggies like these ones, should make up the bulk of your diet. Changing the ratio to make most of your meal veggies can make a huge impact on improving your egg quality and your ability to ovulate regularly
-Fruit: stick to berries as they have less sugar than a lot of other fruit. Try to avoid tropical fruits, as they have the highest amount of sugar
-Protein: when eating meat, grass fed/ pasture raised meat is ideal for reducing the amount of unnecessary hormones and pharmaceutical medications (which can be stored in the muscle and fat of an animal) you're exposed to.
-Fish: Wild sockeye salmon. On top of tasting great, salmon in a great source of good fats that have anti-inflammatory properties. It must be wild to contain the right ratio and quanitity of EPA and DHA
-Cinnamon: Add 1 to 2 Tbsp of cinnamon to your breakfast to help increase insulin sensitivity
-Sauerkraut, kimchi and miso – Improving your gut bacteria helps you digest and absorb your food better and can be a benefit to egg quality in the long run. An added bonus is that it can reduce bloating
DON’T EAT / REDUCE
-Avoid dairy – Dairy is insulinemic, acid-forming and inflammatory. (here’s a naturopathic look at dairy: http://acubalance.ca/blog/got-milk-naturopathic-perspective )
-Avoid soy – Soy is estrogenic and can impact already imbalanced hormones associated with PCOS (the exception to this rule is miso)
-Avoid coffee – Coffee is inflammatory, even when it is decaf. Inflammation can aggravate PCOS symptoms
-Avoid alcohol – Alcohol is also inflammatory, as well as high in sugar and high in the glycemic index.
-Say no to refined foods - My general rule is, the more process the food is, the less helpful it is going to be for your PCOS; regardless of whether it is gluten free, vegan, or organic)
So if you have been feeling like you want to do more to improve your fertility and PCOS, you can! One bushel of kale at a time.