While milk is an essential part of most people’s diet, is it okay for women with PCOS to have milk? Is milk good for PCOS or not seems to be a common question & we have attempted to answer it in this blog. Read to find out!
“Complete your balanced diet with a glass or two of milk every day.” While this might hold true for most of you, is it advisable for women diagnosed with PCOS? Is ‘milk good for PCOS’ and is there a connection between consumption of dairy and dairy products in PCOS? Keep reading to find your answers.
Nutritional Profile of Milk
The nutritional benefits of milk are quite extensive. Not only is milk high in calcium and protein, but it is also filled with multiple other essential nutrients in small amounts.
The nutritional value of 1 cup (244 g) of buffalo milk is as below:
Source: USDA (Food Central)
Is Milk Good for PCOS? What are the Benefits?
Milk is an important ingredient for a balanced diet, which is the most basic approach to a healthy lifestyle. But is milk good for women diagnosed with PCOS? Let’s find out!
Let us understand first, what PCOS is. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder, common among women of reproductive age. In individuals with PCOS, the ovaries produce more than the normal amount of male hormones called androgens, which are usually present in a smaller amount in females.
Now coming back to understanding the relationship between milk and PCOS. It is believed that women with PCOS should limit their consumption of milk/dairy products. Why?
Some studies suggest that non-fat dairy products can contribute to increased androgen and insulin levels, both of which are already present in PCOS women in high amounts. Thus consuming too much milk can further aggravate the symptoms of PCOS. There is also a link between dairy consumption and acne, another commonly seen issue in women with PCOS.
While it is advisable to consume milk in moderation for women with PCOS, it plays an important role in managing this condition due to the following nutritional constituents:
- Vitamin B12 or cobalamin may play an important role in improving insulin resistance and weight management, studies suggest. Also, women with insulin resistance in PCOS have significantly lower levels of vitamin B12 as compared to women who do not experience insulin resistance. One cup of milk may provide your body with as much as 46% of your daily requirement of vitamin B12.
- Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, aids in weight loss by processing the fats, sugars and protein you consume from the food you eat, to energy. A deficiency of vitamin B2 can affect the baby’s growth and development (during pregnancy) and even increase your chances of developing preeclampsia in pregnancy with PCOS.
- Protein acts as a building block for the muscles and tissues of your body. It promotes the feeling of fullness and satiety and thereby helps maintain stable blood sugar levels that are often affected in PCOS due to increased insulin resistance. For the same reason, a higher protein intake may also aid in weight loss as it prevents binge eating
What is the Best Time to Have Milk for PCOS?
There is no best time to have milk to relieve the symptoms of PCOS. Milk is undoubtedly a nutrient-dense beverage but be mindful of the high carbohydrate content of milk. The lactose content in milk gets converted into sugar in the body and may further increase your blood sugar levels.
The best time to have milk for PCOS should be along with your breakfast as milk is filling and can provide the energy to perform your daily tasks. If taken at night, it may be difficult for your body to use the energy produced from the lactose content in milk, further causing a spike in blood sugar levels.
How to Have Milk in PCOS?
You can have a glass (240 ml) of milk in the morning during breakfast or with a handful of nuts at noon as a snack. The best way to drink milk with PCOS at night is to take it with a teaspoon of turmeric. Drinking warm turmeric milk is known to induce good quality sleep and this can further help women with PCOS whose sleeping routines are usually disturbed due to increased stress levels.
Risks of Overconsumption of Milk in PCOS
Though milk is a highly beneficial beverage, it is important to be mindful of your daily consumption due to its high carb content. Some of the associated risks of overconsumption of milk in PCOS include:
- The high carb content in milk may cause a spike in your blood sugar levels. This happens because PCOS can cause you to experience increased insulin resistance in your cells. When you consume milk in more than the recommended quantities, the carbohydrates in it remain in your blood in the form of sugar, as your cells (which are insulin resistant) are unable to use insulin to take up sugar from your bloodstream.
- Again due to the high carb content, excess consumption of milk may lead to weight gain.
- Acne is another symptom of PCOS that is experienced by a majority of women with this condition. Some studies suggest that milk may trigger acne.
- Other risks of overconsumption of milk may include stomach issues like indigestion, diarrhoea, stomach ache, constipation, etc., especially if you are lactose intolerant (unable to fully digest the lactose sugar in milk). There is an increased risk of clogged arteries due to the high saturated fat and cholesterol levels in milk (in the case of high-fat or whole milk).
What are the Other Health Benefits of Milk?
- The calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamin D in milk improve bone and teeth health.
- The bioactive peptides in milk can also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
- Drinking whole milk can help reduce your risk of obesity and weight gain, as it keeps you feeling full for longer.
- Milk is a good source of protein and can help you build lean muscle.
- The high protein content and low glycaemic index (GI) score of milk can help keep your blood sugar levels in check if you are diabetic.
Don’t Have Time To Read?
- The nutritional benefits of milk are quite extensive as it is filled with multiple essential nutrients.
- As nonfat milk and dairy products are thought to increase the production of insulin and androgens, milk should be consumed in moderation by women who have PCOS.
- Some of the most prominent vitamins due to which milk is beneficial for women with PCOS include: vitamin B12 (which may play an important role in improving insulin resistance and weight management), vitamin B2 or riboflavin (aids in weight loss) and protein (acts as a building block for the muscles and tissues in your body).
- There is no best time as such to have milk to relieve the symptoms of PCOS. However, you can have milk for PCOS at breakfast as it is filling and can provide you with the energy boost to get a good start to your day.
- You can have a glass (240 ml) of milk in the morning during breakfast or with a handful of nuts at noon as a snack. The best way to drink milk with PCOS at night is to take it with a teaspoon of turmeric to have a good night’s sleep.
- Overconsumption of milk in PCOS can lead to a spike in your blood sugar levels, weight gain, acne and cause stomach issues like indigestion, diarrhoea, stomach ache, constipation, etc.
- Some of the other benefits of consuming milk include improved bone and teeth health, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, whole milk may help reduce your risk of obesity and weight gain, help in building lean muscle and may be good for diabetics.
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Friendly Asked Questions
Yes, turmeric milk may be a good beverage to drink for PCOS-related disturbed sleeping patterns due to increased stress levels. As per studies, the curcumin present in turmeric may act as an antidepressant and improve your sleep quality.
Yes, almond milk is great for women with PCOS as it has a low carb content which is beneficial for reducing PCOS symptoms such as weight gain and spikes in blood sugar levels.
Some studies suggest that soy milk may be good for PCOS. It may benefit women with PCOS by reducing the levels of hormones such as insulin and androgens (male hormones).
Yes, cow milk may be good for PCOS when consumed in moderation. Good amounts of vitamin D in your body can promote the production of serotonin (hormone related to mood, sleep and appetite). This further improves symptoms such as distress in PCOS. However, the key is to be mindful about its consumption as excess can further lead to weight gain and spikes in blood sugar levels.
Yes, studies suggest that coconut milk may be good for PCOS-related weight gain due to the presence of medium chain triglycerides (MCT). This may decrease your appetite and increase your energy at the same time which is essential for losing weight and controlling blood sugar levels.