Top 10 Best PCOS Fighting Foods to Eat Every Day
What you eat has a major impact on PCOS, yet women tend to focus more on foods they shouldn’t eat, instead of focusing on eating foods that can fight PCOS. Here’s our list of the 10 best PCOS fighting foods to eat daily.
Berries are the highest antioxidant rich fruits around thanks to their dark pigmented skins which contain anthocyanins. These phytonutrients help to prevent cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Whether you like raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries or strawberries, eating berries on a daily basis is great for fighting PCOS. To incorporate berries into your diet, add them to oatmeal or salad, keep your favorite frozen berries on hand all year for a delicious smoothie, or dip them in dark chocolate for a sweet treat.
Nuts are rich in protein, healthy fats as well as antioxidants. Eating 1.5 ounces of nuts on a daily basis can lower your risk for heart disease when combined with a low saturated fat diet.
Women with PCOS can also benefit from eating nuts as they can help balance hormones and improve cholesterol and insulin. A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, randomly chose women with PCOS to eat either walnuts or almonds for six weeks. Both almonds and walnuts reduced low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Walnuts improved insulin sensitivity by 26% and reduced glucose levels. Walnuts also increased sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG), a hormone that binds to testosterone and almonds decreased free androgen levels.
Government guidelines encourage us to eat fish at least twice each week. These recommendations come because of the anti-inflammatory effects of fish. Not all fish are created equal though. Fish that are found in cold water such as tuna, trout, and salmon have the highest intake of omega-3 fats. Unfortunately tilapia, a favorite fish that is rich in protein, is not a rich source of omega-3s.
Omega-3s found in fish can also help to improve cholesterol and insulin levels. A study published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that overweight women with PCOS who took 4 grams daily of fish oil for two months saw reductions in glucose, insulin, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol.
Another study showed that thin women with PCOS who took 1,500 mg of omega-3 for 6 months saw reductions in BMI, as well as improvements in testosterone, insulin and luteinizing hormone levels.
There’s a reason why Popeye loved his spinach. This popular leafy green is rich in fiber, iron and folate, important nutrients vital to human health and fertility and pregnancy. Enjoy spinach in a salad, as a side dish, or toss into your favorite smoothie.
5 Olive Oil
Olive Oil is rich in heart healthy monounsaturated fats that can help reduce the risk for heart disease when combined with a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat. Olive oil is also rich in antioxidants making it the perfect oil to cook with or to dress your salad or veggies with.
Not only are avocados a healthy monounsaturated fat but they also contain plant stanols which work to help reduce cholesterol. Enjoy avocados in salads, on eggs or in a sandwich, as a tasty dip, or on their own.
If you enjoy tea, you will love this: drinking green or spearmint tea on a daily basis can improve many aspects of PCOS. Drinking spearmint tea was shown to lower testosterone and reduce the appearance of unwanted hair growth. And women with PCOS who drank 5 cups of green tea daily as part of an anti-inflammatory diet saw reductions in cholesterol, insulin, weight, and inflammatory markers. Sixty-three percent of women in the study, published in the North American Journal of Medical Sciences, regained their menstrual cycle and 12% got pregnant. Enjoy tea hot or cold but be sure to choose unsweetened types which won’t increase insulin or glucose levels.
Garlic has been used as medicine and as a spice for thousands of years and for good reason. Garlic may slow the development of atherosclerosis and reduce cholesterol. A meta-analysis of 26 studies found that garlic intake reduced total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Another added benefit of garlic is its ability to function as a prebiotic to boost levels up of healthy gut bacteria.
Eggs are perhaps nature’s perfect food. Eggs are a high protein food that is also rich in omega-3 fats which are found in the yolk. They are also rich in choline, an essential nutrient for pregnancy. We love how versatile eggs are: you can enjoy them for any meal, hard-boiled for a snack, and are quick and easy to make.
Beans are rich in filling fiber and are also a great plant-based source of protein and iron (almost a full day’s worth in one cup). Whether they are black, pinto, chickpeas, or other types, you can include beans in soups, wraps, or on top of salads.
For PCOS friendly recipes that incorporate these foods, check out The PCOS Nutrition Center Cookbook: 100 Easy and Delicious Whole Food Recipes to Beat PCOS.
Grant P. Spearmint herbal tea has significant anti-androgen effects in polycystic ovarian syndrome. A randomized controlled trial. Phytother Res. 2010 Feb;24(2):186-8.
Kalgaonkar S, Almario RU, Gurusinghe D, et al. Differential effects of walnuts vs almonds on improving metabolic and endocrine parameters in PCOS. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011;65(3):386-393.
Mohammadi E. Effects of omega-3 fatty acids supplementation on serum adiponectin levels and some metabolic risk factors in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2012;21(4):511-8.
Oner et al. Efficacy of omega-3 in the treatment of PCOS. J Obstet Gynaecol. 2013;33(3):289-291.
Salama A et al. Anti-Inflammatory Dietary Combo in Overweight and Obese Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. N Am J Med Sci. 2015 Jul; 7(7): 310–316.
Zeng T, Guo FF, Zhang CL, Song FY, Zhao XL, Xie KQ. A meta-analysis of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials for the effects of garlic on serum lipid profiles. Journal of the science of food and agriculture. Jul 2012;92(9):1892-1902.