If you’re a woman who’s put on a bit of weight and finding it difficult to lose, or if you’re struggling with facial hair, acne or irregular periods, chances are you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). If so, intensive lifestyle treatment can reverse the underlying process before it wreaks havoc in your body.
what is PCOS?
PCOS is a common hormone disorder that affects 5 to 10 per cent of women of reproductive age. Recent research shows that a root cause is insulin resistance. This means your body doesn’t respond to normal levels of this hormone, so your body pumps out excessive amounts as it tries to control your blood sugar. Unfortunately, over time, high levels of insulin are linked to infertility, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even cancer.
- If you are overweight, lose just 5 to 10 per cent of your current weight for symptom relief and enhanced fertility. This will also help to lower the risk of long-term health problems.
- Switch to wholegrains and low-GI carbs from grainy breads, traditional rolled oats and barley. Avoid sugary foods and refined starches like white rice. This will help tame your blood sugar and keep you feeling full longer.
- Include some protein with your meals, especially from legumes. But avoid high protein diets, particularly from red meat, as these can increase insulin resistance.
- Use monounsaturated fats and oils from nuts, seeds, avocados and olives. Avoid high-fat animal products and highly processed vegetable fats hiding in cakes, biscuits and fast foods, which supply saturated and trans fats and make you more insulin resistant.
- Enjoy a colourful array of fruits and vegetables at each meal to boost the antioxidant supply in your diet.
- Drink pure water throughout the day rather than soft drinks or juices.
- Be physically active every day and include some resistance training.
Click here for a PCOS friendly recipe.