Foods that are low in carbs can help you better manage PCOS symptoms. Can low-GI foods for PCOS help too? How and which ones? Read to know!
If you have been diagnosed with PCOS, you know that managing your symptoms can be a real challenge. One of the best ways to help manage your PCOS is by watching your diet. And eating low glycemic index foods for PCOS may be a solution.
What are low GI foods? And why do they help with insulin resistance? Keep reading to find out!
Know What GI Means
GI or Glycaemic Index refers to a number (between 1 and 100) given to a carbohydrate-containing food, depending on how much it spikes your blood sugar levels. The lower the number, the longer it takes to increase your blood sugar levels.
The index ranges from 1 to 100 and is divided as follows:
- 55 or less: Low GI foods
- Between 56 and 69: Medium GI foods
- 70 or higher: High GI foods
How does a Low Glycemic Index Diet help in PCOS?
Due to the hormonal imbalances in PCOS, it becomes important to manage your diet and other lifestyle habits to stay on a healthy PCOS journey. Insulin resistance is a crucial player in driving the symptoms of PCOS.
In insulin resistance, your body cells are unable to use the glucose (sugars) you intake from the carbs you consume, to produce energy. This further stimulates the pancreas to produce more insulin for stabilising your blood sugar levels.
Excessive insulin in your blood can increase the production of androgens (male hormones) in your body causing various complications. This can also affect your other PCOS symptoms and result in an imbalance.
There is a possible increased insulin resistance in PCOS which may aggravate the symptoms of PCOS. Experts suggest that insulin resistance and excess insulin in your blood may increase the production of androgens in the body, causing difficulties in ovulation and other symptoms of PCOS.
Multiple studies have suggested that foods with low glycemic index compared to high GI foods may help reduce insulin resistance and insulin levels in the blood. This can help reduce the symptoms and the risk of developing further PCOS-related complications.
Low GI Foods List for PCOS
Low GI foods for PCOS are foods that can help you manage your PCOS symptoms better. Some of the low GI foods you can include in a conventional healthy diet can be:
1. Low GI Fruits for PCOS
Fruits are an important part of a balanced diet and low GI fruits are a win-win for PCOS, as they do not cause a quick and high rise in blood sugar levels.
Some of the most common low GI fruits include:
|Name of Fruits
|Glycaemic Index (GI) Score
2. Low GI Vegetables for PCOS
Starchy vegetables can cause your blood sugar levels to spike in PCOS due to increased insulin resistance. Having more non-starchy and low-carbohydrate vegetables in your diet can provide you with the essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, without compromising your blood sugar levels.
Low-carbohydrate vegetables generally have a glycemic index GI of 55 or lower.
Some of the low GI vegetables that can be ideal for your PCOS diet include:
|Name of Vegetables
|Glycaemic Index (GI) Score
|5 to 15
3. Other Foods
Other foods that are low in GI score are the following:
|Name of Food
|Glycaemic Index (GI) Score
Are There Some Homely Low GI Recipes for PCOS?
Yes, of course. Some of the easiest recipes that can be prepared at home are as follows.
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Sliced or chopped fruits of choice (apple, banana, berries, kiwi, etc.)
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- Add the ground flax seeds, chia seeds, and ground cinnamon into a clear mixing bowl. Mix them together.
- Transfer the dry ingredients to a saucepan over medium heat. Add the oats and almond milk. Stir everything well.
- Cook the mix for 3 to 5 minutes until it appears to have thickened. Remove from the heat.
- Serve the oatmeal warm with sliced apples as toppings.
- 2 cups chickpeas (soaked, drained and boiled)
- 1 cup cucumber (cubed)
- 1 small tomato (cubed)
- ¾ cup spring onions (chopped) and green veggies
- ½ cup mint leaves (chopped)
- ½ cup coriander leaves (chopped)
- Salt as per taste
- Blend the mint leaves, coriander leaves and salt as per taste to obtain a smooth paste. Add a little water if required.
- Combine the dressing with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and toss it well.
- You can serve the salad as it is or put it in the fridge before serving.
Try these recipes and modify your diet to see the magic of low GI foods work for your PCOS. On the contrary, have you ever thought if there are any foods that can worsen your PCOS condition?
Don’t Have Time To Read?
- GI or Glycaemic Index refers to a number (1-100) given to a carb-rich food to determine on how much it spikes your blood sugar levels. It ranges as 55 or less (Low GI foods), between 56 and 69 (Medium GI foods) and 70 or higher (High GI foods).
- Due to the hormonal imbalances in PCOS including insulin resistance, it becomes important to manage your diet and other lifestyle habits to maintain a healthy PCOS journey.
- Excess insulin in your blood can increase the production of androgens (male hormones) in your body causing complications such as infrequent ovulation. This can also cause your other PCOS symptoms to go imbalanced.
- Increased insulin resistance in PCOS may aggravate the symptoms of PCOS. Low GI foods may help reduce insulin resistance and insulin levels in the blood. This can help reduce the symptoms and the risk of developing further PCOS-related complications.
- Some of the low GI foods include fruits (apple, kiwi, guava, etc.), vegetables (broccoli, spinach, carrot, etc.), milk, chickpeas, oats, and many other foods can help you manage your PCOS.
- Start your PCOS management journey with Phable. Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading gynaecologists, endocrinologists, nutritionists, and dieticians; order medicines; book lab tests; and get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Check out our store to order healthy treats, weighing scales, fitness bands, and more! We also have a PCOS Management program that provides 360º care.
Friendly Asked Questions
A low-carb and non-sugary diet can help women with PCOS manage their condition better. A balanced diet that is filled with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds can be beneficial in order to manage PCOS and its symptoms.
In general, you should avoid a diet that is high in refined carbs and sugary foods if you have PCOS. Such foods like sweets, processed foods and fruit juices, fried foods, and red and processed meats can make insulin resistance and body weight loss more difficult to manage in PCOS.
You can keep your blood sugar levels stable in PCOS by incorporating a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise to your daily lifestyle. This can not only help manage your blood sugar levels but help you manage your other PCOS symptoms as well.
Yes, limiting your sugar intake or completely cutting it out of your diet can help manage PCOS in a better way. Due to increased insulin resistance in PCOS, sugary foods can increase your blood sugar levels and worsen your PCOS symptoms such as weight gain, etc., due to increased androgen levels.
It is crucial to avoid the consumption of sugary foods if you have sugar cravings in PCOS due to increased insulin resistance. Instead, you can opt for foods that are rich in protein and fibre that can minimise sudden blood sugar level spikes. You can also satisfy your sweet cravings by choosing low-GI foods such as fruits, dates or dark chocolate.
Yes, a low GI diet can help improve your PCOS symptoms. Studies suggest that it can help improve insulin resistance and your body’s overall health including improving your menstrual cycle. Some of the low GI foods for PCOS include fruits (apple, kiwi, guava, etc.), vegetables (broccoli, spinach, carrot, etc.), milk, chickpeas, oats, and many others.