Don’t let a diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) make you feel like you’ve lost control over your body. While common treatments include medications like Glucophage and hormonal birth control to alleviate symptoms, your diet can go a long way to helping.

Why is PCOS linked to weight gain?

Women with PCOS tend to gain weight easily because they have a higher-than-normal level of insulin—a hormone that is produced in your pancreas that helps the cells in your body turn sugar (glucose) into energy. PCOS coupled with weight gain promotes insulin resistance, which makes it very difficult to lose weight, it dramatically increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, and it appears to upset the regulation of sex hormones in the body which worsens the symptoms of PCOS—a vicious cycle.

Many women with PCOS find they are able to manage their symptoms and reduce their risk of other medical concerns by controlling their diet and lifestyle choices. You can avoid gaining weight—and even drop pounds—with PCOS, if you follow these guidelines:

1- Foods you should add to your diet:

–          High-fiber foods can help combat insulin resistance by slowing down digestion and reducing the impact of sugar on the blood. Great options include: cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts-  greens, including red leaf lettuce and arugula, green and red peppers, beans and lentils, sweet potatoes, pumpkin.

–          Lean protein sources like tofu, chicken, and fish don’t provide fiber but are very filling and a healthy dietary option for women with PCOS.

–          Anti-inflammatory foods and spices, such as turmeric and tomatoes – kale- spinach- almonds and walnuts- olive oil- fruits, such as blueberries and strawberries- fatty fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and sardines, as well as vegetarian sources like chia seeds.

–           Foods high in iodine. The iodine supplied by iodized salt is essential for your thyroid, as well as your ovaries. To make sure that you’re getting enough, increase your intake of foods rich in iodine including kelp, potatoes with the skin on and probiotic-rich yogurt.

2- Foods you should limit or avoid:

–          Foods high in refined carbohydrates such as white bread and muffins- breakfast pastries-   sugary desserts-  white potatoes- anything made with white flour, Pasta.

–           Sugar is a carbohydrate and should be avoided wherever possible. When reading food labels, be sure to look for sugar’s various names. These include sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, and dextrose. Sugar can also lurk in the things you drink, such as soda and juice.

–          Reduce or remove inflammation-causing foods, such as french fries, margarine, and red or processed meats from your diet as well.

3- Lifestyle changes:

–  Planning to eat a bigger breakfast to Possibly Improve Hormone Levels and smaller dinner. Stick to your meal time, 2 to 3 hours between each meal.

– Avoid Any Foods That Tend to Bother You and learn your food intolerances or sensitivities (those that give you gastrointestinal distress after eating them, like bloating, indigestion, and gas) and then avoid them to quell inflammation that is partly to blame for the hormone imbalance in PCOS.

– Lose Weight if You Need to, and Your PCOS Symptoms May Improve, diets that result in weight loss are good for alleviating the problems associated with PCOS.

– Get your daily dose of vitamin D, because usually women suffering from PCOS have low vitamin D levels.

– Exercise on a regular basis can moderate insulin levels. PCOS, like many disorders, responds positively to proactive lifestyle choices. Daily activity, low sugar intake, and a low-inflammation diet may also lead to weight loss.