Struggling with managing PCOS symptoms? Here’s the perfect nutrition guide for you!

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09 March, 2024
Struggling with managing PCOS symptoms? Here’s the perfect nutrition guide for you!

Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) face quite a challenging journey, as it affects everything from their menstrual cycles to body weight. Feeling overwhelmed by PCOD? Don't worry, you're not alone! While medication and exercise are crucial players in managing PCOD, the food you consume also plays a powerful role. We spoke to a few experts, and here's everything you should know about the role of food and managing PCOS. 

The relationship between nutrition and PCOS

Dr Karan Kakkad, a Calcutta-based nutritionist emphasises that food choices significantly impact PCOS symptoms, influencing blood sugar, hormones, and inflammation. “The root cause of PCOS is hormonal imbalance. Some of the common symptoms include irregular periods and excessive or less blood flow during periods. And our lifestyle, nutrition, and even mental health play a very crucial role in it,” he added.

How does a balanced diet help?

A balanced diet can help regulate blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, support hormonal balance, and manage weight, which are key factors in managing PCOS symptoms. Dr Eshanka Wahi, a culinary nutritionist and holistic wellness coach says, “Incorporating whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates, while avoiding processed foods and sugars can help alleviate PCOS symptoms.” 

According to experts, if you're suffering from PCOS, these five healthy food items should be a part of your diet.

Chia Seeds 

Rich in iron, zinc, and magnesium, chia seeds are a must for women suffering from PCOS as they help control hormonal fluctuation and mood swings. According to Dr Kakkad, “Chia seeds are brilliant for hormonal balance. They contain vitamins and minerals, and a lot of fibre which is good for the gut.”

Black raisins

Black raisins are a good source of iron, which is beneficial to women with PCOS as they are prone to anaemia due to irregular periods. It can also reduce hair fall, which is one of the biggest symptoms of PCOS. According to Dr Wahi, “Iron deficiency can contribute to hair loss. If iron levels are low, foods rich in iron may be beneficial and help regulate hormonal imbalance.”

Leafy greens 

Packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, leafy greens help combat inflammation, promote satiety and can aid in weight management, which is a constant concern for those with PCOS. Talking about which green vegetables to add to one’s diet, Dr Wahi shared, “Spinach, kale, coriander, and other leafy greens are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that support overall health.” 

In addition to leafy vegetables, Dr Kakkad also emphasised the intake of coriander seeds, which helps in regulating PCOS symptoms. “When it comes to food, coriander seeds actually help a lot. Two teaspoons of it soaked overnight; strain it in the morning and then consume it. It's very good for regularising periods,” he said. 


“Healthy sources of fats such as avocados can help reduce inflammation and support hormone balance during PCOS,” Dr Wahi says. Healthy fats such as avocado can help slow down the absorption of glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream, resulting in more stable blood sugar levels. This is crucial for PCOS management because many individuals with this condition experience insulin resistance, which can lead to spikes and crashes in blood sugar. They are also a good source of fibre, essential vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants, which offer various health benefits like improved gut health, weight management, and skin health, all of which can be relevant for individuals with PCOS.

Dairy alternatives such as almond milk or soy milk 

Dairy contains hormones like estrogen and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), which might theoretically influence hormonal balance in some women with PCOS. However, others may find that it worsens some of their symptoms, especially acne and inflammation.

Both nutritionists, Dr Eshanka Wahi and Dr Karan Kakkad stress avoiding dairy products when suffering from PCOS. Plant-based milk options like almond milk or soy milk are excellent choices for milk alternatives. They even provide the necessary calcium and vitamin D without the potential drawbacks of dairy products in PCOD.

When should you seek help? 

“First and foremost, we need to realise that PCOD or PCOS are not lifelong issues. These are lifestyle issues. Once we change our lifestyle and habits, which include our sleeping and eating habits, your hormonal imbalance will start falling in place,” Dr Kakkad adds. 

While managing PCOS with food choices is important, you must seek professional help if your periods become irregular (more than usual), if your hair fall or acne worsens, if you're struggling to get pregnant, or if other concerning symptoms arise. Don't hesitate to reach out if you feel overwhelmed or unsure, have questions about treatment, or want support from others with PCOS. 

Also Read: Period myths that you need to debunk right away

Also Read: Normalising Conversations Around Periods, Sex, Female Pleasure and Body Hair