Managing PCOS with Diet and Lifestyle Changes

Continuing the popular discussions regarding P.C.O.S, this blog post will focus on how the right diet plan, specifically the Low GI Diet, can significantly improve the symptoms and severity of PCOS.

As mentioned in our previous blog post (Click Here), PCOS and diabetes, as well as weight gain is often linked to one another; therefore, it is important for patients with PCOS to pay close attention to blood sugar level. One of the ways that you could actively control your blood sugar is through a low GI diet. But first, what is GI?

GI is short for Glycemic Index, which is a system that assigns a numeric indication to carbohydrate-containing foods (basically, carbs and sugar), based on their ability to increase blood sugar. GI values are often broken down to three categories including:

  • Low GI: 1 to 55
  • Medium GI: 56 to 69
  • High GI: 70 and higher.

Essentially, a low GI diet’s purpose is to help you consciously choose and consume foods that are less likely to increase your blood sugar level rapidly. According to research, a low GI diet can effectively lead to weight loss, one of the most common symptoms of PCOS. They also help the body digest food slower and prevent a sudden and dramatic rise in insulin levels. Just to make your life a bit easier, here’s a list from Harvard Medical School of GI index for over 60 foods which you can use as a rough guide to further understand GI-related foods and diets (Click Here)

Having discussed the importance of GI, it is important to also know that GI should not be your only pointer to a healthy diet with PCOS.  From a Chinese Medicine perspective, PCOS is often linked to the element of heat, which basically means long-term inflammation. In order to reduce this element, it is important to consume foods that have a cooling nature. So we are talking about fruits, and vegetables (green leafy ones are the best), whole foods (whole grains), omega-3 rich foods (like fatty fish). Generally, it would be best to avoid processed foods or foods high in added sugar and refined carbs.

When it comes to lifestyle adjustments, we would like to stress the importance of exercising, and not just those you do in the gym but also outdoor exercises. While cardio and weight training might help with weight loss and losing fat, outdoor exercises like jogging or hiking promote relaxation, as well as the release of endorphins ( happy hormones). And achieving a balance between them may significantly improve your quality of life with PCOS.

All in all, while living with PCOS might be difficult for some and easier for others, it is always helpful to keep in mind that PCOS is treatable. And with the right treatment and lifestyle, there will be a time when you won’t even remember what PCOS is like anymore.

If you would like to manage PCOS and its symptoms with Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, feel free to give Dr Christine Cui Clinic a call at (03) 9820 8651 or send us an email through