I have learned A LOT since being diagnosed with PCOS six months ago. In many ways, it’s hard to believe it has been that long. I feel like I am only now beginning to make any progress at all… Apparently there is a six month learning curve where PCOS is concerned.
Not necessarily in the medical community, but in the real world community, among women who have PCOS but have successfully restored balance to their hormones, lost weight, reduced hirsutism (excess hair growth occurring in women with PCOS) gotten pregnant, and delivered healthy babies, diet is a total game-changer. Diet is key. PCOS will never go away, but it can be managed through diet, exercise, and lifestyle. This has been proven through success story after success story after success story. I am hoping my story will be among those one day! (Click here to read one of my favorite PCOS success stories… this mom with PCOS had TWINS!)
Of course, after reading so many success stories, meeting with a dietician, and enlisting the help of a PCOS health coach, I have been very focused on my diet, and my eating habits have changed significantly over the past many months.
You will find list after list of PCOS diets, PCOS foods, and PCOS super foods floating around the internet. But I have picked some of my favorites to share with you today, along with reasons why they are such good foods for those of us with PCOS to incorporate into our diets.
My Top 5 PCOS Super Foods (and what makes them so super):
1) Romaine lettuce- Not only is romaine lettuce low in calories, but it is also full of chromium. Chromium is a component of the glucose tolerance factor which helps maintain normal blood glucose levels by making insulin more efficient. This will help fight the insulin resistance that is so common in us gals with PCOS. Chromium also promotes weight loss due to its ability to help control cravings, reduce hunger and control fat in the blood. Romaine can be used in salads, on wraps, it can be grilled. It is so good and so versatile!
2) Cinnamon- My mom was the first person who suggested cinnamon to me in order to help stabilize blood sugar. After she mentioned it, I became curious and did some more research. Since then, I have made sure to eat cinnamon every day. It is easy to sprinkle onto oatmeal, smoothies, coffee, even grilled chicken. Cinnamon really does improve blood glucose control! Just half a teaspoon of cinnamon per day has been proven to reduce blood sugar levels. Cinnamon slows the emptying of the stomach to reduce drastic rises in blood sugar following meals, and improves the effectiveness of insulin.
3) Raw cacao– Raw cacoa contains incredible amounts of antioxidants, magnesium, iron, manganese, and chromium. Raw chocolate promotes strong bones, improves cardiovascular health, and elevates mood and energy. It is also a natural aphrodisiac (That’s gotta be helpful for fertility)! Raw cocoa comes in “nibs” and in powder form. Raw cacoa powder (or nibs) can easily be tossed into smoothies, coffee, raw desserts, and smoothies. It is important to note that RAW cacoa contains lots of important minerals and powerful antioxidants; however, once chocolate is heated, the nutrients and minerals are destroyed. So when it comes to cacoa, raw is the only way to go for PCOS.
4) Chicken breast- I have never been much of a meat-eater. I have nothing against eating meat, and I do not dislike the taste. It has just never been my first choice of foods… until my little adventure with PCOS began. Skinless chicken breasts are high in protein and low in carbohydrates. They are also a good source of B6, which plays a crucial role in maintaining (or helping to restore) hormonal balance and fertility. Hello, new best friend!!!
(IT IS IMPORTANT TO MENTION HERE THAT ORGANIC IS BEST WHEN IT COMES TO ANY MEAT. FOR THOSE OF US WITH PCOS, THE HORMONES ADDED TO NON-ORGANIC, GRASS-FED MEATS CAN THROW OUR OWN HORMONES EVEN MORE OUT OF WHACK. BUY LOCAL IF POSSIBLE. IF NOT, HEAD TO WHOLE FOODS AND BUY ORGANIC, GRASS-FED. IT SEEMS SILLY, BUT IT REALLY DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BALANCING HORMONES AND THROWING THEM EVEN MORE OFF TRACK. Don’t believe me? Read more here and here.)
5) Chia seeds- Though these guys are small, they are mighty! Chia seeds are a complete protein source. They contain 20% more protein than any other seed or grain. And in case that is not enough, chia seeds are 60% Omega-3 fatty acids. In women with PCOS, free testosterone levels cause excess hair growth, acne, and/or hair loss. Omega-3 fatty acids help improve free testosterone levels. It can also help improve quality of the eggs produced from the ovaries, which could improve fertility, and it also helps improve insulin sensitivity. Toss these little guys into oatmeal, smoothies, or try a chia pudding recipe.
Of course there are a lot of other foods that are great for treating and managing PCOS. The five listed here are just my current favorites!