Getting pregnant and carrying that pregnancy to term – with or without PCOS is a complex process. Regardless of where you are with your PCOS treatment journey, following a healthy lifestyle has been shown to be the most effective approach to increasing your chances of having a successful pregnancy. In fact, there has been a lot of research around the role of nutrition and how it impacts your fertility, including the ability to conceive and to carry the pregnancy to term.
And eating a healthy diet is one of the best things you can do when you are planning to get pregnant. Good nutrition helps your body handle the extra demands as your pregnancy progresses. Therefore, The goal of a PCOS diet is to get a balance of enough nutrients to support the growth of your baby, maintain a healthy weight and take care of your PCOS symptoms.
And taking prenatal supplements is never the answer to make up for any nutritional deficiencies. They are only a complementary source of vitamins to help fill in the gaps in your PCOS diet.
So if you are planning to get pregnant, and are worried about your PCOS symptoms – the first step is to speak to a doctor who can personalize your treatment based on your symptoms and concerns.
Here are some of the general dietary recommendations to increase fertility in women with PCOS:
1. Follow a nutritionally balanced and wholesome diet
By balanced diet, we mean including all the food groups in appropriate amounts instead of following a restrictive diet. Each food group has a place in your diet and plays an important role in improving your health. As a result, Choose whole food sources, instead of processed ones and include more sources of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein, and healthy fats.
2. Practice portion control and timely eating
As much as the quality of food matters, your quantity of food matters too. Every food group in proportionate amounts can give you the desired calories and nutrition. Practice quantified nutrition by measuring the amount of food you eat and keep all your meals balanced.
A nutritionist can help chart out a personalized PCOS diet plan that you can follow based on the correct portion sizes.
3. Switch to sources of complex carbohydrates like jowar, bajra, brown rice
Complex carbs are low glycemic foods that do not spike your blood glucose levels rather it slowly releases glucose in the blood – this helps control insulin resistance. Therefore, Refined carbs that are found in processed or junk food have high glycemic index and can spike your blood sugar levels which is not ideal for PCOS.
4. Eat at regular intervals (every 3 to 4 hours)
So, Eating at regular intervals helps maintain your blood glucose levels. It is advised to eat every 3 to 4 hours, which for most people means having breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack in between. Having 3 to 4 smaller portion-sized meals is better than having large meals.
5. Avoid processed and packaged foods
Avoid or limit the intake of processed and packaged foods that are usually high on refined carbs. Although occasionally it is okay to indulge in your favorite foods, there are healthier alternatives available that you can easily enjoy within your PCOS diet.
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Here are certain foods to include in your PCOS diet to improve fertility:
Hence, PCOS is described as low-level chronic inflammation. Adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet can help ease your symptoms – so focus on anti-inflammatory foods like tomatoes, leafy vegetables, berries, spinach, fish, turmeric, nuts and seeds and healthy fats such as olive oil, ghee, yoghurt. Some of the nutrients that support healthy conception iron, folate, magnesium, Vitamin D and B12, Omega – 3 fatty acids, zinc, calcium
Here is how you can plan your meals to improve the nutritional status of your diet and fertility
- Breakfast should be heavy in terms of quality and not quantity. Should include best quality protein with good fibre, healthy fats and small portion of complex carbohydrates
- Lunch should be the heaviest meal in the day in terms of quantity and quality also. Should include complex carbohydrates, quality protein, healthy fats, double portions of vegetables and good probiotic
- Evening is a time to include a filler – as simple as an antioxidant drink and a seasonal fruit with nuts
- Dinner should be the lightest meal of the day with good vegetable portions, some fibre and small portion of easy to digest protein