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Polycystic Ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS is an endocrine system disorder characterised by excessive hair growth, acne, infertility, and irregular cycles. People with PCOS may be more susceptible to health issues, such as diabetes and hypertension. It is characterised by the overproduction of male hormones by the ovaries. if you have PCOS, your ovaries, which creates and releases eggs, generate abnormally high quantities of male androgen hormones. This produces an imbalance in your reproductive hormones. PCOS is characterised by irregular menstrual cycles, and inconsistent ovulation. Due to a lack of ovulation, your ovaries (fluid-filled sacs) may develop small cysts. PCOS is one of the most prevalent reasons of infertility among women. Additionally, it can increase your risk for other health conditions.

Who can acquire PCOS?

PCOS can develop at any moment following puberty. Most individuals are diagnosed in their 20s or 30s when trying to conceive. If you are overweight or obese, or if other members of your family have PCOS, you may have an increased risk of developing the disorder.


PCOS is one of the most common conditions women face today. Diet has an essential role in PCOS management, not only for weight loss and maintenance but also for insulin regulation. Many women with PCOS are insulin-resistant, causing the pancreas to produce more insulin to be effective. Insulin is the key hormone as it transfers sugar from the blood into the muscles, allowing the body to utilise glucose energy effectively. Elevated levels of insulin upset the balance of the body, causing PCOS symptoms, including increased acne, weight gain, hair growth, fatty liver, high cholesterol, polycystic ovaries, and an irregular menstrual cycle, as well as increased hunger and cravings.

  • Eat foods to help balance insulin levels: The regulation of blood insulin levels is essential for the treatment of PCOS. Therefore, refined carbs should be avoided because they increase insulin levels. Additionally, high-fat diets cause weight gain and elevated cholesterol levels. Foods with a high GI cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels. Insulin levels rise proportionally to deal with the glucose in the bloodstream.
  • Avoid high GI foods: Foods with a high GI are processed to eliminate fibre and other nutrients, so while they may be palatable, they are calorie-dense and nutrient-deficient. Avoid potatoes, white and rice and bread, cakes & muffins, rice cakes, as they have a high GI. Also skip saturated, hydrogenated, and transfats, which are unhealthy fats. Saturated fats, which are present in red meat and dairy products, promote the synthesis of oestrogen, inhibit the absorption of certain nutrients, and can lead to weight gain.
  • High fibre foods to overcome insulin resistance: Women with PCOS should eat a lot of high-fibre meals that help in overcoming insulin resistance by slowing the digestive process and minimising sugar’s harmful effects on the body. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and greens such as spinach, lettuce, and green and red peppers; beans, lentils, berries, squash, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins are high-fibre foods that can be consumed in abundance.
  • Proteins & Immunity boosting foods: The use of protein foods such as tofu, help women feel satiated. Therefore, these foods can be excellent dietary options for women with PCOS. Additionally, they should consume spices and foods that reduce inflammation like turmeric, tomatoes, almonds, walnuts, kale, and vegetable or olive oils. Strawberries and blueberries are nutritious fruits that can also alleviate inflammation. Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids are also very good for affected women.

Tips for women with PCOS

Here are a few suggestions for women with PCOS to follow:

  • Drink plenty of fresh water: If you drink water 30 minutes before a meal, it can help you stop eating too much and make you feel full.
  • Wholesome foods: Make sure to eat a healthy breakfast that does not have a lot of carbs or foods that cause inflammation. Do not forget to eat breakfast every day. If you do not, you will be more likely to eat too much at lunch, which will make your insulin go up.
  • Eat mindfully: Eat slowly and chew your food well. This will help you digest your food better and lower your risk of insulin resistance, which can lead to weight gain.
  • Sleep 2 hours after dinner: Don’t go to bed until at least two hours after dinner. If dinners are late, people will get stomach-aches and have trouble sleeping. This could make it hard for the body to heal itself.
  • Eat pragmatically: Women with PCOS should stick to a set diet plan that helps them keep their weight in check. Cut big meals into smaller pieces and eat every two hours. This method helps people keep their weight steady.

Foods to avoid with PCOS

People on a PCOS diet should, in general, stay away from unhealthy foods.

The following are foods that must be avoided:

  • Refined carbs like white bread and pastries
  • Fried foods & fast foods
  • Sodas, energy drinks, and other beverages with a lot of sugar
  • Processed meats like hot dogs, sausages, and deli meats.
  • Solid fats like butter, shortening, and lard.
  • Inflammation is caused by eating too much red meat like steaks, hamburgers, and pork.

The enlisted foods will make insulin resistance worse, which will cause the problems above. So, women who have been diagnosed should try to avoid or limit eating the above enlisted foods as much as possible.

General Guidelines: PCOS Diet Chart

Disclaimer: Refer to the PCOS diet chart as a guide. You can consult a specialist to develop a chart more suitable for you.



1 glass lime juice in warm water+ Poha, upma, idli, pancakes, chillas



1 portion fruit



Mix-veg rice + 1/2 cup Soya or sprouts+ Probiotic. Alternatively, you can replace your lunch meal with 1-2 glasses of smoothies.



1 cup light infused tea+ Handful of seeds & nuts daily.



2 Chapati+ subji 1/2 cup.


  1. Avoid wheat chapatis and try bajra, nachni, and rice chapatis.

  2. Eat local and seasonal foods.

  3. Avoid refined oils, flours, and foods.

  4. Skip white sugar & flours.

  5. Use filtered oils in cooking.


Polycystic Ovary Disorder (PCOD)

The ovaries control the menstrual cycle and make hormones like progesterone, oestrogen, relaxin, inhibin, and others. PCOD is a hormonal problem that affects almost 25% of Indian women up to 47 years, but the number varies. In this condition, a woman’s imbalanced hormones triggers symptoms, such as not ovulating, irregular periods, trouble getting pregnant, gaining weight, acne, and excessive hair. PCOD can cause health problems like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and elevated levels cholesterol if it is not treated.

Nourishment for PCOD

Diet and nutrition are crucial to get better from any illness. To get rid of PCOD naturally, include the following nutrients to your daily diet:

  • B6: Vitamin B6 helps keep the balance of hormones and is essential to manage symptoms. It is found in wild rice, spinach, soy, dairy-free yoghurt & milk, almonds, and Brussels sprouts among other foods.
  • B2-6: Vitamins B2, B3, B5, and B6 are especially good for keeping weight in check. Found in beans, yeast, and green vegetables.
  • B5: It helps manage how fat is used in the body and can help lose weight. It is found in avocados, yoghurt, and beans.
  • B6, B2 & B3: The vitamins are needed for the thyroid to produce balance quantity of hormones. They are found in brown rice, carrots, sunflower seeds, and lentils.

Difference Between PCOD and PCOS

PCOD and PCOS are often used interchangeably by people. Even though they have similar symptoms, they are very different conditions.

  • PCOD is a hormonal disorder that is easy to take care of by making changes to your diet and way of life. PCOD can be cured without drugs or other treatments.
  • PCOS, on the other hand, is a problem with the glands. When a woman has PCOS, she makes more of the male hormones and androgens than usual. The condition makes it harder for the eggs to mature.
  • In people with PCOD, the ovaries start producing immature eggs, resulting in hormonal changes and ovaries swell up. In PCOS, the disorder in the endocrine glands cause the ovaries to create more male hormones called androgens, causing the eggs to form cysts that can inhibit pregnancy.
  • Some eggs in a woman with PCOS change into small sacs filled with liquid called cysts. When cysts form in the ovaries, they make it hard to have periods. They can also get bigger and block the way the ovaries work. If PCOS isn’t treated right away, it can cause long-term health and conception problems.


What you consume can help you deal with the symptoms better. Some kinds of food may make the disease’s symptoms worse. So, avoid dairy products, sugar, refined flour, to help with imbalance in insulin levels and the symptoms that come with it. When these foods are replaced with green leafy vegetables, raw fruits, and foods with a low glycaemic index, the nutrition value stays the same and weight loss is helped. When you eat foods with a high GI, your blood sugar level goes up quickly. To manage the glucose in the blood, the insulin level also rises. Most foods with a high GI have been processed to remove the nutrients and fibre so they may taste better, but they are high in calories and low in nutrients. The most nutrients are found in green vegetables. They are loaded with calcium potassium iron, magnesium, and loaded with vitamins B, C, E and K. Whole foods are packed with the essential vitamins to help manage PCOS symptoms, help the body utilise sugar and fat, regulate the thyroid function, and balance the hormones, among other benefits.

PCOD diet for treatment

The right foods have a significant effect on PCOD. Doctors advise foods low in fat and carbohydrates, among other lifestyle advice for women with PCOD. Your blood sugar levels, and your weight would both benefit from this measure.

Below are three regimens to support individuals manage the PCOS symptoms:

  • Low GI foods: Meals that have a low GI are ingested slowly and do not raise the levels of insulin as quickly as foods with a higher level of GI. A low GI diet consists of whole foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts & seeds, which are unprocessed or starchy.
  • Food to lower inflammations: Foods like dark leafy greens, berries, can help reduce PCOD symptoms.
  • DASH: The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is recommended by physicians to lower the chance of heart disease. It may also aid in managing the symptoms of PCOD.

Recommended foods that can be included in meal plans are:

  • Natural oils: Foods rich in nuts and seeds
  • Whole Grains: Barley, oats, corn rye, rice, sorghum, quinoa, millets, and buckwheat, among others
  • Dairy-free milk: Yogurt, curds, and probiotics
  • Cereal: Whole grains such as brown rice, wheat, oats, jowar, bajra, and ragi
  • Pulses: Horse gram, red gram, green gram, black gram, and Bengal gramVeggies: Various kinds of gourds (bitter, snake, ridge, bottle, ivy, ladies’ finger, tinda), as well as leafy greens like spinach, fenugreek (methi), celery, lettuce, white radish leave, beet & carrot leaves, and kale
  • Fruits: Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and tangelos, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries; cranberries, cherries, papayas, pineapples, and guavas; and other seasonal and tropical fruits.
  • Oil: Minimal quantity–filtered or cold-pressed
  • Sweets: Jaggery, molasses in place of raw sugar
  • Beverages: Herbal or green tea.

Diet chart for PCOD patients

Follow the PCOD reference guide, you can begin to manage PCOD symptoms and keep a healthy lifestyle. Leafy greens as well as foods that provide the body with sufficient nutrients, are frequently recommended by diet charts. Include foods rich in nutrients, such as magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, protein, and several vitamins.

Insulin production and resistance, as well as weight management, are the two key dietary effects on PCOD. Insulin has a crucial function in PCOD, which is important to know. Consequently, adhering to a diet to control levels of insulin is a good strategy to manage the condition.

Follow a diet that fits your nutritional needs, manages your weight better, and encourages healthy insulin levels for optimal results.






Sample meal plan

Idli with Sambar 1/2 cup and mint or tomato chutney. Can alternate with warm/chilled soup depending on season.

1 cup sprouts

2 Rotis, 1/2 cup salad with mixed veggies and dal

Fruits, dry fruits with nuts & seeds. Also flex seeds, lime juice

2 Roti / chapati. + veg or green smoothie.


Disclaimer: Refer to the PCOD diet chart as a guide. You can consult a specialist to develop PCOD diet chart for weight loss that is more suitable for you.

Lifestyle modifications
Changing one’s lifestyle and using natural therapies enforced with whole foods are both effective treatments for PCOD and PCOS. Both conditions primarily impact the hormonal equilibrium of women’s bodies. The balance of hormones and reduction of androgen levels in the body of females can be helped along by the following steps:

  • Sustaining health: A female’s body’s mass index (BMI) should fall within 24.9 to be regarded optimal and healthy; a BMI of over 30 is considered obese and unhealthy. Maintain a healthy weight or losing weight can help lower the chance of heart ailment, improve overall cholesterol levels, stabilise high BP, and diabetes. It can also help maintain appropriate levels of insulin and testosterone, which can restore the ovulation phase of the periods. If you want to get your body mass index (BMI) down to a healthy range, you should talk to a dietitian about a weight loss programme.
  • Low carb: If you have PCOD or PCOS, eat foods low in carbohydrates or high in complex carbohydrates, both of which help manage insulin levels. A healthy diet should consist of whole foods such as vegetables that grow above ground, and natural fats (such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds). Fried foods, sugar and starchy foods should be avoided, like fries, bread, potatoes, rice, pasta.
  • Fitness: Sustain a regular exercise routine: An individual who has polycystic ovary syndrome or polycystic ovary disorder, should maintain a regular regimen, and stay fit to help regulate the blood sugar levels and a healthy weight.
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About The Author

Dr.William Lewis Aliquam sit amet dignissim ligula, eget sodales orci. Etiam vehicula est ligula, laoreet porttitor diam congue eget. Cras vestibulum id nisl eu luctus. In malesuada tortor magna, vel tincidunt augue fringilla eget. Fusce ac lectus nec tellus malesuada pretium.

MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery) Gold Medalist (2009-2015) M.D In General Medicine (2016-2019), CCID (Infectious Diseases)

PG Diploma In Clinical Endocrinology v& Diabetes, Clinical Associate in Non-Invasive Cardiology

Dr.William Lewis Aliquam sit amet dignissim ligula, eget sodales orci. Etiam vehicula est ligula, laoreet porttitor diam congue eget. Cras vestibulum id nisl eu luctus. In malesuada tortor magna, vel tincidunt augue fringilla eget. Fusce ac lectus nec tellus malesuada pretium.

MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery) Gold Medalist (2009-2015) M.D In General Medicine (2016-2019), CCID (Infectious Diseases)

PG Diploma In Clinical Endocrinology v& Diabetes, Clinical Associate in Non-Invasive Cardiology

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