Healthy diet for PCOS

Donovan GRANT

Monday, November 12, 2018

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Dear Donovan,

I need some healthy lifestyle advice. I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). I don't fully understand it, but I know it causes issues with fertility.

My gynaecologist told me that most of her clients do eventually get pregnant. Some of my symptoms include embarrassing bloatedness, facial hair and irregular periods. She has encouraged me to start a healthy lifestyle, which I have, but nothing has changed.

Could you say what foods I should eat that would be considered 'healthy'? Also, I realised that I have been having another issue — whenever I eat food, especially from my work canteen, I have a lot of flatulence. This is very embarrassing.

I rarely have this problem when I cook my own food, but sometimes I do. And despite the fact that this is a healthy sign, my flatulence is not necessarily Febreeze smelling — they smell horrible!

Could you advise me what I could do to stop this issue? What foods should I eat or shouldn't eat to avoid these problems?

PCOS is a hormonal condition which is common among women of reproductive age. It can cause periods to stop or even be hard to predict and may even cause fertility problems. In addition, PCOS may cause unwanted hair and raise the chance of other health problems including diabetes, miscarriage or premature birth and high blood pressure. Women with PCOS may also have excess male hormones (Androgen) and the ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid-filled sacs (follicles) and may fail to release the eggs.

The exact cause of PCOS is unknown and a major concern of this condition is its effect on fertility. This is due to the lack of periods, or irregular periods, which reduces the chances of an egg being released for fertilisation.

PCOS usually develops around the first menstrual period after the response to an increase in weight. Treatment for PCOS may involve lifestyle changes and/or medication. Lifestyle changes should be geared towards weight loss. Losing even five per cent of your body weight can be very important in controlling irregular periods and increasing the chance of pregnancy.

As your doctor has suggested, it is very important to make changes in your diet. However, you may need to follow a strict diet programme in order to get the results you need because PCOS also interferes with your ability to lose weight. So it might also be important to work with a nutritionist on your weight loss programme.

The main idea is to eat a healthy, low calorie diet which will force the body to use up some of its reserved fat. In your situation I would suggest that you may want to do more home-cooked meals, example soups, salads, etc. The hardest thing about your weight loss is that you will have to plan ahead and organise your foods. It would be nice if your diet foods would be more fruits, vegetables, vegetable juices, whole grains, soups, salads, yoghurt, etc. However, in situations where it is hard to eat healthy, every effort must be made to reduce your portion sizes.

It is also important to make sure that you are eating in a healthy way. So for the most part you will have to try and reduce your intake of fried foods, processed foods, starchy, sugary pastries, sodas, and alcohol, etc. As much as you can, take your meals to work.

I would suggest that you do a one-night detox programme to clean out your bowel. Extra back-up food could be one of the reasons why you are suffering from flatulence. You could speak with a professional to find the best methods to do the detox programme.

It is also important to pay attention to your food combination in order to reduce flatulence. Try to eat protein with vegetables and vegetables with carbohydrates. Also, you should pay attention to the foods which make you gassy. It is a good idea to do a food log.

As part of a healthy lifestyle you should also try and get in some exercise. Even half an hour three days per week would be a good start.

Good luck.

We will answer your weight-related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we'll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years' experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG's Nutrition and Wellness Centre, 39 Lady Musgrave Road. Call him at 876-286-1363. E-mail questions to clarkep@jamaicaobserver.com.

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