Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition among women of child-bearing age in which levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones are out of balance. This imbalance causes the growth of cysts on a woman’s ovaries which can lead to issues with her menstrual cycle, fertility, outward appearance and even cardiac function.
A vast amount of research on PCOS has revealed that genetic, epigenetic, endocrine, metabolic and environmental factors may all be contributing to the development of this puzzling disorder. PCOS currently affects around 5 million women in the United States and although the precise cause is still unknown, medical professionals believe that women are more likely to develop the condition if their mother or sister has also suffered from it.
While it is always important to consult your doctor about serious conditions, there are a few well recognized diet and lifestyle changes that can help reduce the severity and prevalence of PCOS symptoms.
1. Balance Your Daily Intake Of Protein & Carbohydrates
One contributing factor to PCOS may be an overproduction of the hormone androgen. This can affect the development and release of eggs during ovulation. Excess insulin, the hormone that helps convert sugar and starch into energy, is linked to higher-than-normal androgen levels.
Eating equal amounts of protein and carbohydrates assists in keeping your insulin levels even, therefore maintaining a healthy balance of hormones. The type of carbohydrates that you eat is also an important factor in this process. Try to consume only wholegrain, or sprouted grain products as they naturally contain more protein and fiber than their processed equivalents. Avoid heavily processed carbohydrates such as white flour and white rice as these cause a spike in insulin levels, while providing almost no nutrient value.
Fiber is another important element that assists in managing PCOS, as it slows the digestion of sugars within the body. This reduces the severity of a spike in insulin and promotes healthy estrogen metabolism, which assists in lowering androgen levels. Some of the best sources of fiber include broccoli, celery, leafy greens, apples, and wholegrains.