PCOS Diet: Foods To Balance Hormones In Women

PCOS Diet: Foods To Balance Hormones In Women

PCOS is a condition experienced by several women worldwide that leads to severe complications in daily-life conditions and also proves an obstacle in starting a family. PCOS is not just about irregular periods, it's a condition that can significantly impact weight, hormones, and self-esteem.

Many women face a rollercoaster of emotions upon diagnosis of PCOS, grappling with the fear of the unknown and the stigma surrounding fertility issues.

Understanding PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal condition that affects women of reproductive age. As per data available by WHO, an estimated 8–13% of reproductive-aged women experience PCOS. 

Numerous tiny fluid-filled sacs form along the ovary's outer edge when diagnosed with PCOS. These sacs are referred to as cysts and these tiny cysts contain immature eggs known as follicles. While dealing with PCOS, they fail to release eggs regularly. 

During PCOS ovaries produce unusually high levels of hormones called androgens and this causes the reproductive hormones to become imbalanced. People who have PCOS thus frequently experience irregular menstrual cycles, missed periods, and uncertain ovulation.

What are Some Common Symptoms Of PCOS

  • Irregular or absent periods
  • Excessive hair particularly on the face, chest or stomach
  • Thinning of scalp hair or male-pattern baldness
  • Difficulty losing weight or gaining weight
  • Fertility problems 
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Sleep disorders

However, if the symptoms of PCOS are left unaddressed, it can lead to further complications of various long-term health consequences such as: 

  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Endometrial cancer

PCOS And Diet

Obesity, systemic inflammation, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, or a combination of these long-term illnesses are more common in people with polycystic ovarian syndrome, and they all increase the chance of developing diabetes, heart disease, and other ailments.

People with PCOS may find their condition worsened by a diet high in refined carbohydrates, such as those found in starchy and sugary meals. Hence, diet plays a crucial role in managing the symptoms of PCOS. 

Foods to Balance PCOS Hormones

Higher-than-normal insulin levels are frequently observed in PCOS patients, which may stimulate the ovaries to release more androgens, exacerbating PCOS symptoms. Foods high in fiber can slow down digestion and lessen the impact of sugar on the blood, which can help fight insulin resistance. 

High-fiber food to combat PCOS can include:

  • Cruciferous Vegetables 
  • Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower are non starchy and provide several significant health benefits for people dealing with PCOS. Since, these vegetables are high in fiber, they will help one feel fuller for longer periods and support weight management. Broccoli and cauliflower are also excellent providers of antioxidants, which help reduce inflammation and shield cells from harmful free radicals. Lastly, it has been observed that eating cruciferous vegetables reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, a major worry for a large number of PCOS patients.

  • Green Leafy Vegetables
  • High in fiber, green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and other dark leafy greens can help regulate blood sugar and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Additionally, these foods can combat inflammation, which is a significant issue for PCOS patients. By increasing the production of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, leafy greens may even assist in promoting mental well-being.

  • Whole Grains
  • For those with PCOS, eating whole grains offers several benefits in comparison to refined grains. Whole grains, such as barley, quinoa, and brown rice, are rich in fiber and other essential elements that are absent from refined grains. Eating a diet high in fiber can help control blood sugar levels and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, unprocessed whole-grain foods include antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory qualities and may help reduce the symptoms of PCOS.

  • Nuts 
  • Nuts are a good source of healthy fats for PCOS and can help with insulin resistance. They can help with improved weight management and stomach satisfaction because they are also high in protein and fiber. Furthermore, nuts are a plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is especially appealing to PCOS patients who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet and are unable to obtain these essential nutrients from animal sources.

    Foods To Avoid

    • Foods like white bread that are high in refined carbs 
    • Sugary drinks and snacks 
    • Processed foods
    • Alcoholic beverages

    These foods increase the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and other common health issues among people with PCOS. They can also cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, which may disrupt insulin function, which is closely linked to symptoms of PCOS.

    Link Between Gut Health And PCOS

    Obese PCOS patients have altered gut microbiota that is linked to insulin resistance and inflammation, and they have higher levels of enterobacteria, lower levels of lactobacillus, and bifidobacteria when compared to non-PCOS patients and the healthy control group.

    Research suggests that gut health may play a significant role in PCOS, with unhealthy dietary habits prevalent among women increasing the risk of obesity. This can lead to gut dysbiosis which alters the balance of gut bacteria and increases gut lining permeability which leads to the entry of harmful substances into the bloodstream. 

    These harmful substances trigger an immune response interfering with insulin function, resulting in insulin resistance, elevated insulin levels, and increased production of male hormones in the ovaries. 

    Benefits of Probiotics for PCOS

    Probiotics  are important in maintaining a healthy gut since a healthy gut is crucial in managing the symptoms of PCOS. Numerous studies indicate that using probiotics to treat PCOS symptoms can lower testosterone levels and improve metabolic function.

    Probiotics can prove beneficial in the following ways:

    • Improves Mood: There is no doubt our gut has an impact on the overall health of our body including our mental health. Probiotic bacteria like Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum help in improving symptoms of anxiety and depression thus enhancing mood. 
    • Helps in Weight Loss: Obesity is a common issue for women with PCOS. Some probiotics can aid in weight loss by inhibiting fat absorption in the intestines and promoting the excretion of fat through feces rather than storing it in the body. 
    • Restores Gut Health: Probiotics help to improve nutrition absorption and support healthy digestion. Probiotics can facilitate easy passage of stools through the body by lowering pH levels thus, keeping the gut clean and healthy. 

    Foods such as kimchi, yogurt, kefir and kombucha are excellent sources of probiotics. 

     The Good Bug’s supplements like the PCOS Balance are an excellent and easy source of probiotics that help in relieving the symptoms of PCOS. 

    The Bottom Line

    Currently, there is no cure for PCOS, but appropriate treatment options help in alleviating the symptoms. Maintaining a healthy diet, including a high-fiber meal that regulates the hormonal balance and incorporating probiotics into the diet can significantly provide relief from PCOS.


  • What are the common symptoms of PCOS?

  • Irregular menstrual cycle, elevated testosterone levels, and enlarged or polycystic ovaries as seen on ultrasonography are a few of the common signs of PCOS.

  • Does PCOS ever go away?

  • Although there isn't a treatment for PCOS, your doctor can help you control your symptoms thus varying impacts over time. Nevertheless, there isn't a medication that can cure PCOS forever.

  • Is it possible to get pregnant while having PCOS? 

  • Although PCOS can increase the risk of some pregnancy issues and make it difficult to conceive, many people with PCOS do get pregnant.

  • Can PCOS be prevented?

  • Although there is currently no known treatment to prevent PCOS, there are simple measures you may take to lessen its consequences, like eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight.


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