16 Aug Improve PCOS Symptoms and Fertility with a Diet Plan from a Women’s Dietitian Nutritionist
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a chronic condition in which a woman’s ovaries produce an excess amount of androgens, often causing small cysts to form on ovaries. Because this is a hormone disruption, women who have PCOS might experience a number of symptoms that affect day-to-day life.
What are the most common PCOS symptoms?
- Missed or irregular periods
- Weight gain, especially around your midsection
- Hirsutism — excess body hair (stomach, back, chest)
- Acne or oily skin
- Male-pattern baldness
- Thinning hair
- Skin tags — excess skin on neck or armpits
PCOS is not uncommon. But like many things in women’s health, it’s not talked about enough. It’s estimated that between 5 and 10% of women in the United States of childbearing age have PCOS. It’s not hard to diagnose with blood tests and an ultrasound, yet, it can take years for a woman to get a diagnosis because not all women have all symptoms, and they vary in their severity. Women with PCOS may experience metabolic disorders, obesity, inflammation, and insulin resistance. But some women might not show any of these symptoms.
Though there is no cure, diet and exercise can positively affect PCOS and improve symptoms. As holistic and functional dietitian nutritionists, we recommend an anti-inflammatory diet for our patients who are struggling to manage PCOS.
- Eliminate fried foods, refined sugars, and processed meats from your diet. These exacerbate inflammation and can worsen your PCOS symptoms. But what about those yummy snacks?
- Swap potato chips for baked sweet potatoes. Cut them up into thin slices, drizzle them with olive oil, and pop them in the air fryer or the oven. (Try kale, air-fry zucchini and beet chips, cauliflower crackers, and cut-up veggies to satisfy the munchies.)
- Satisfy your sweet tooth with Greek yogurt or natural yogurt (sugar-free), drizzle a bit of honey or agave, and top with berries. Try baked pears or apples with cinnamon. Indulge low-sugar muffins (homemade), using applesauce as a sweetener. Mandarin oranges (cuties) and cottage cheese are a great combo to curb sweet tooth cravings.
- Make cut-up fruits your go-to snack.
- Instead of ham and salami, get rotisserie chicken and shred the meat. Try canned tuna (watch your mercury content) or salmon. Use boiled eggs on sandwiches.
- Go for the good fats. Replace butter, margarine, and coconut oil with olive oil, sesame oil, or avocado oil.
- Reduce intake of red meats, including hamburgers, steaks, and roast beef. Swap out those classics with chicken breast, your favorite fish, tofu, and other delicious options. Go for the pulses — with beans, lentils, garbanzos, and more. A varied diet using plant-based proteins is great to help manage inflammation.
- Beware of the beverage. Sweet beverages, like sodas, frappuccinos, and even juices, are jam-packed with simple sugars that can intensify inflammation. Go for water. Keep a pitcher with sliced oranges, apples, or berries in the fridge, ready to drink. Drink green tea with lemon slices. Start cutting back on sugar in your coffee drink, little by little. Sugar not only causes cravings, but it’s a great flavor masker. You’ll start to enjoy flavors, as well as help reduce inflammation.
- Re-imagine white breads, pizza crusts, dinner rolls. Buy whole-grain breads, nutty and delicious. Try cauliflower, red beet, or sweet potato pizza crusts — packed with flavor and vitamins. Make zucchini or portabella mushroom cap pizza boats. Replace those powdery dinner rolls with thick, steaming wheat rolls or whole-grain pita bread drizzled with olive oil and toasted
By working with a fertility dietitian nutritionist, you can improve your PCOS symptoms, increase your chances to conceive naturally, and live a healthier life.
Try these delicious zucchini boat pizzas:
- 4 medium-sized zucchinis
- 1 cup shredded chicken (precooked)
- 1/2 cup marinara sauce
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup sliced black olives
- 1/4 cup diced bell peppers
- 1/4 cup diced red onions
- 1/4 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Cut the zucchinis in half lengthwise, and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and create a hollow in the center, forming the boat shape. Place the zucchini boats on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Brush the inside of the zucchini boats with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
- In a bowl, mix the shredded chicken with marinara sauce until well coated.
- Fill each zucchini boat with the chicken and marinara mixture, spreading it evenly.
- Top each boat with shredded mozzarella cheese, sliced black olives, diced bell peppers, diced red onions, and sliced cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle dried oregano over the top.
- Place the baking sheet with the zucchini boats in the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the zucchini is tender and the cheese has melted and turned golden brown.
- Once done, remove the zucchini boat pizzas from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes before serving.
These zucchini boat pizzas with shredded chicken make a delicious and healthy low-carb meal or appetizer. For a vegetarian option, forego the chicken and use sliced mushrooms instead. Enjoy!