Five Foods That Fight PCOS
by Lauren Allen on Jun 28, 2022
One of the most common mistakes I see women with PCOS make is to focus on cutting out certain foods that fuel PCOS without focusing on including more foods that actively nourish them and fight PCOS. The two are equally important when it comes to finding a diet that truly helps you take control of your PCOS. I also find that the more we focus on foods that act as medicine and empower ourselves by adding to our plates instead of subtracting, the more likely this lifestyle can stick for the long term.
Salmon is a great addition for any woman with PCOS because it provides an important source of Omega 3 fatty acids that help fight inflammation, one of the key underlying root causes of PCOS.1 Avocados, olive oil, coconut, and nuts and seeds, also contain healthy fatty acids, but I specifically mention salmon here for a few reasons: First, it contains two specific omega 3 fatty acids called DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). Even with a nutrient-dense, plant-based diet rich in avocados, nuts, and seeds, you’re likely to be deficient in DHA and EPA, both of which play important roles in fighting inflammation.
How to include it: Enjoy grilled or roasted salmon 2-3x a week. There are multiple delicious ways to prepare it, but my favorite is keeping it simple with some fresh herbs, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Leafy greens are the ultimate foods as medicine. They’re not rich in macronutrients which give us energy and help keep us full, but they’re full of micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and polyphenols. These chemical compounds are what enables our immune system to work properly, supports normal reproductive organ functioning, and helps manage blood sugar and insulin levels. Kale alone contains over 45 different antioxidant flavonoids and is an excellent source of Vitamins A, C, and K.
How to include it: Leafy greens aren’t just for salads! I like to add them into almost every single meal I eat because their healing properties are so incredible! Get into the habit of adding greens to everything- Throw a frozen cube of spinach in your smoothie. Roast some kale chips for a delicious snack or appetizer. Wilt your favorite leafy greens with cooked eggs, in sauces, marinades, and chicken or meat dishes. Herbs count as leafy greens too so bump up the flavor of your dishes while skipping sugar-filled sauces and enjoy parsley, dill, mint, thyme, oregano, and more.
Unlike leafy greens which look like the foods you’d expect to be super healthy for you, flax seeds are pretty unassuming, but don’t be fooled. They’re like a superfood for those of us with PCOS because of their unique ability to help balance out your hormones. Flax seeds are full of fiber, which some androgens like testosterone can bind to in order to get excreted out of the body. They’re also high in lignins, which are plant-estrogens to help balance out those high testosterone levels and reduce symptoms such as acne, unwanted hair growth, unwanted hair loss, and more.
How to include it: I love mix add ground flax seeds with some almond flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika to make a “bread crumb” mixture that I sprinkle on chicken, cauliflower, broccoli, or artichokes.
These foods aren’t just on the list because they’re pretty and add a nice pop of color to any dish. Red, blue, and purple foods contain a special type of antioxidant called anthocyanin, which has been shown to improve fertility, helps regulate blood sugar and insulin levels, boosts immune functioning, and also has anti-cancer properties!
How to include it: Enjoy mixed berries with coconut whipped cream for a delicious snack, add purple cabbage to your salads, or try out the purple version of potatoes, carrots, or cauliflower for some variety!
Turmeric is one of the most underrated healing agents available in our supermarkets. One study showed that turmeric extract helped improve fertility and ovulation markers by increasing LH (luteinizing hormone) levels, which are critical for stimulating ovulation, helped regulate blood sugar and fat levels, aided weight loss, and decreased lipid build up in the ovaries.2
How to include it: Get in the habit of cooking with both turmeric powder and fresh turmeric. I love it in curries as well as one-pot chicken and veggie stews.
1. Yang K, Zeng L, Bao T, Ge J. Effectiveness of Omega-3 fatty acid for polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2018;16(1):27. Published 2018 Mar 27. doi:10.1186/s12958-018-0346-x
2. Shah MZUH, Shrivastava VK. Turmeric extract alleviates endocrine-metabolic disturbances in letrozole-induced PCOS by increasing adiponectin circulation: A comparison with Metformin. Metabol Open. 2021;13:100160. Published 2021 Dec 20. doi:10.1016/j.metop.2021.100160