What is PCOS Diet _ diet for pcos 

What is PCOS Diet _ diet for pcos

What is PCOS Diet _ diet for pcos

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, PCOS, is a condition that adversely affects a woman’s reproductive hormones.

Each case of PCOS is different and its causes are not fully understood.


Signs and Symptoms of PCOS


Irregular or missed periods

Fertility struggles

Unwanted hair growth on face and body

Hair loss

Oily, Acne-prone skin

Changes in skin pigment

Frequent mood changes

Pelvic pain

Weight gain, specifically around the midsection

Your doctor will administer tests to determine if you have PCOS. If you are diagnosed with the condition, work with your doctor and a nutritionist for PCOS to make lifestyle changes to continue to live a normal life.

PCOS: Why your diet matters

If you are looking for the quick and dirty on a PCOS diet, here are the key facts Nutritionists for PCOS want you to know

PCOS is a condition that causes a hormonal imbalance in women of reproductive age. Each woman’s PCOS symptoms are unique. Many studies have explored the link between blood sugar, insulin, and PCOS. Here’s what science has taught us:


PCOS can cause increased androgen (male hormone) production. Elevated androgen levels put women at a higher risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, and Type 2 Diabetes. Women with PCOS also may experience persistent acne.

Regulating your hormone levels is an effective way to control your symptoms and improve fertility issues related to PCOS. Control hormone levels by consuming nutritious, high fiber foods, and eliminating blood sugar issues associated with PCOS.

Modest weight loss (5-10%) through exercise and a specific PCOS diet can alleviate common PCOS symptoms.

Facts to Remember about PCOS

PCOS is the leading cause of female infertility

PCOS is the number one health condition women face today, with more then 1 in 5 suffering from its symptoms. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the prevalence of infertility in women with PCOS is between 70-80%. PCOS causes hormone levels to become irregular, which makes it hard for women to become pregnant. PCOS can also increase the risk of miscarriage. Read more about PCOS and fertility on our resource page. Or, if you have recently become pregnant, congrats! Check out or resources for optimal nutrition during pregnancy.


There are NO known causes of PCOS

Research suggests that PCOS may be caused from both genetic components and environmental influence. PCOS is believed to be caused from one or more gene mutations and is hereditary. Environmental influences such as having a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption may put you at higher risk of developing PCOS.


PCOS can be diagnosed without the presence of cysts on ovaries

Doctors will perform a series of blood tests, ultrasounds, and a symptom analysis to diagnose PCOS. Although PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, many professionals are working to change the terminology. Women can be diagnosed with or without the presence of cysts on ovaries. Due to the complexity and unknown cause of PCOS, Doctors will diagnose a patient if they present a combination of one or more symptoms commonly associated with the condition.


Obesity is correlated with PCOS

In addition to hormone imbalance, women with PCOS experience insulin insensitivity. Insulin moves sugar (glucose) from the bloodstream into cells for energy. Women with insulin insensitivity due to PCOS are not able to convert sugar to energy, resulting in higher levels of insulin in the bloodstream. Higher levels of insulin cause an increase in androgen production and an increase in appetite. These factors can be correlated (but not a cause) of weight gain. However, it is very realistic to lose weight if you have PCOS. Our RDs also have specific exercise recommendations for women who want to become more physically active.

What is a PCOS Diet?

Working with a dietitian for PCOS to promote healthy eating habits can alleviate your PCOS symptoms.


Research suggests lifestyle change to be the FIRST line of treatment for women dealing with PCOS. Women who achieve weight loss of as little as 5-10% of their body weight experience a significant improvement in ovulation rates. Before speaking with our PCOS dietitians to build a PCOS Diet, discuss your specific diagnosis and treatment plan with your doctor in detail. Bring all of this information to our PCOS dietitians so that we can build a PCOS Diet tailored specifically to you. We may also incorporate PCOS supplements into your plan. Our recommendations will vary depending on the presence and severity of your specific symptoms

The Basics of a PCOS Diet

Choose High Quality, High Fiber Carbohydrates

Women with PCOS are more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes than women who do not have PCOS. Similar to a diabetic diet, it is important for women with PCOS to consume high quality, high fiber carbohydrates. This will aid in stabilizing your blood sugar levels.


Eat a Balanced Diet

Consuming a well balanced PCOS Diet will help to keep your body in a neutral, homeostatic state. A balanced PCOS Diet allows insulin to function properly by bringing glucose to your cells for energy. This process results in less insulin in your bloodstream, ultimately decreasing androgen production and alleviating your PCOS symptoms.


Follow a Consistent Routine and Regular Meal Times

Do not skip meals. Skipping meals can crash your blood sugar levels, leading to food cravings and overindulgence. Keeping a routine will allow your blood sugar levels to stabilize. Stable blood sugar aids in the proper androgen production in your body. Proper androgen production = less severe PCOS symptoms. Some doctors recommend eating smaller, more frequent meals to better regulate blood sugar and establish better habits.


Choose Nutrient Rich Food, High in Vitamins and Minerals

Studies show consuming foods high in Vitamin D, Vitamin B, Iodine, Selenium, and Magnesium will greatly aid in improving insulin resistance, and decrease the severity of symptoms associated with PCOS.

Vitamins and Minerals Important for PCOS Symptom Relief and Food Sources


Vitamin D


Vitamin B8


salmon, eggs, mushrooms, fortified milk tuna, almonds, eggplant, strawberries, corn, oranges, beans



salmon, eggs, mushrooms, fortified milk eggs, turkey breast, himalayan salt, salmon, yogurt



salmon, eggs, mushrooms, fortified milk tuna, salmon, pork, fortified whole grains, turkey, eggs, cottage cheese, spinach



salmon, eggs, mushrooms, fortified milk avocados, dark chocolate, nuts, seeds, whole grains, bananas

So, what should I eat for my PCOS Diet?

Maintaining a balanced diet and healthy weight are key in managing PCOS symptoms. Consuming a diet rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals will aid in healing your body from the inside out. Anti-inflammatory foods can also make a big difference. The following food choices will help keep blood sugar levels stable while helping to achieve a healthy weight to manage complications associated with PCOS.

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