Vegan diet has gained much popularity recently. It may be beneficial for health in several ways but is the vegan diet for PCOS a good choice? Does it help?
“Veganism is the new way of healthy living!” Yes, it’s true that a lot of people are switching from their omnivorous diets to vegan ones. And with diet and PCOS having a strong correlation, it comes as no surprise that you must be thinking about plant-based diets too.
Can a vegan diet for PCOS help manage the symptoms of this condition better? How and why? Know all about it in this blog. Stay and read.
Vegan Diet: What is it?
A vegan diet is a diet where you avoid or restrict the consumption of animal products such as dairy (milk, curd, etc.), eggs, and meat.
This means a big no-no to butter, cheese and some of your other favourites. Meanwhile, the vegan diet involves focusing on plants and following a plant-based diet.
Veganism is a now popular lifestyle choice in which people attempt to avoid any kind of animal excruciation. It is often chosen as a way of life due to ethical and environmental reasons.
Vegan Diet: Are There Multiple Types?
Yes, there are several types of vegan diets. The most important ones you need to know at this point are:
- Whole food vegan diet: A diet that focuses on the consumption of a variety of whole plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains.
- Raw food vegan diet: A diet that focuses on the consumption of either raw foods including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and other plant-based foods, or by heating them at temperatures below 40 to 48°C.
- Starch solution diet: A diet that focuses on the consumption of whole foods that are starchy in nature. It includes foods like potatoes, rice, corn and legumes.
- 80/10/10 diet: In this diet, you have to limit the consumption of raw fat-rich vegan foods such as nuts, seeds, and fruits like avocados, and olives. It should include 80% calories from carbs, 10% each from protein and fats. It is more focused on the consumption of raw fruits and greens and may often be referred to as a fruitarian diet.
- Raw till 4: This diet is similar to the 80/10/10 diet and starch solution diet as it focuses on raw foods. The difference is that you can consume these raw foods until 4 pm and opt for a cooked vegan meal for dinner.
What All Foods Go in a Vegan Diet?
As mentioned earlier, a vegan diet mainly includes plant-based foods such as:
- Soy and soy-based products like tofu
- Fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains and cereals
While multiple studies have established vegan diets have diverse health benefits, read further to unravel the answer to – is a vegan diet good for PCOS?
Vegan Diet for PCOS: Does it Do Any Good?
If you have PCOS, you know you have to pay 24/7 attention to your diet. A little ignorance can lead to several PCOS-related complications and it is crucial that you maintain a healthy and balanced diet to keep yourself going.
In tune with this, opting for a vegan or plant-based diet for PCOS could be an option to consider (although remember a lot more research is needed in this space!).
Eating plants or following a diet that focuses on vegan foods for PCOS can help you tackle the most important pain points in PCOS. And ‘inflammation’ tops the list.
1. Fight inflammation with plant-based foods
PCOS is a pro-inflammatory syndrome and anything you eat, especially foods that result in inflammation can have a compelling effect on your PCOS symptoms.
Inflammation is generally linked to complications such as the increased risk of heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes, high cholesterol levels, nutritional deficiencies and poor gut health.
A vegan diet based on vegetables and fruits is high in fibre content that can help reduce cholesterol and LDL (low-density lipoprotein) levels and improve symptoms of PCOS.
The lower level of inflammation is linked with better egg quality and a reduced risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease.
2. Lose weight with the right vegan foods
Almost 80% of women with PCOS gain weight and find it difficult to lose it.
Studies suggest that people who follow a vegan diet are likely to appear thinner and have a lower body mass index than those who do not follow it. A vegan diet is also often rich in fibre content.
Your gut takes longer to digest fibre; promoting the feeling of fullness and satiety, leading to less frequent snacking. This further decreases your calorie intake, helping in weight loss.
3. Improve insulin sensitivity to improve overall health
Among other advantages of plant-based diets, they are known to reduce insulin resistance. Also, vegan diets are generally low in calories which can further aid your weight loss efforts. Losing weight may help improve your insulin sensitivity.
Studies suggest that people who follow a vegan diet have reduced insulin resistance, lower blood sugar levels and therefore a reduced risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes later in life due to PCOS.
If you are now convinced that a plant-based diet might help improve your PCOS symptoms, discuss it with your doctor before jumping on to the vegan diet bandwagon. Meanwhile, check out this simple vegan diet chart that we have whipped together for your reference.
Vegan Diet Plan for PCOS
- A bowl of oats with toasted nuts and seeds (or)
- Ragi idlis (2 to 3) with coconut chutney
- Sprouts (½ cup) (or)
- Unsweetened soy yoghurt with fresh fruit (½ cup)
- Tofu curry (1 cup) + multigrain or millet roti (2) + green leafy vegetable salad (1 cup) + dal (1 cup) (or)
- Cooked quinoa with vegetables (1 bowl) + vegetable curry (1 cup) + multigrain or millet roti (1)
- Unsweetened soy milk (1 glass) with almonds (3 to 4)
- Roasted chickpeas (1 cup) with apple (1)
- Kadhi using soy yoghurt (1 cup) + vegetable salad (1 cup) + whole wheat roti (2)
- Green leafy vegetable curry (1 cup) + brown rice (1 cup) + fruit salad (½ cup)
|Note: Antioxidant (naturally occurring components in plant foods) rich-foods like berries, grapes, eggplant, etc., that form a major part of vegan diets are also known to reduce inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity. Work with your doctor/nutritionist/dietician to see which vegan antioxidant sources can be included in your diet.
Are There Some Downsides to a Vegan Diet?
Replacing a diet rich in processed foods with one that is rich in nutrients and beneficial for your health is crucial. However, people following a vegan diet are prone to developing nutrient deficiencies due to some nutrients being majorly found in animal products.
You may experience deficiencies due to a lack of vitamins B6, B12 and D, calcium, iron, omega-3 fats, zinc, and protein while following a vegan diet.
Also, plant foods in a vegan diet may often be high in carb content and you may end up overconsuming carbs. So, it is important to keep a track of carbs (limit to 45% of your meal plate) and keep your intake moderate to avoid any side effects such as high blood sugar levels, weight gain, etc.
Meanwhile, you can overcome these deficiencies by taking supplements or consuming more fortified foods. You can also opt for vegan food sources of nutrients such as:
- Vitamin B6: Chickpeas, soybeans, peanuts
- Vitamin B12: Fortified cereals
- Vitamin D: Soy milk, oatmeal
- Calcium: Seeds, lentils, leafy green vegetables
In PCOS, it is crucial to talk to a medical professional before incorporating any sudden lifestyle changes into your routine. Remember to consult your doctor regarding the same.
Don’t Have Time To Read?
- A vegan diet focuses on plants and plant-based foods. It is a diet where you avoid or restrict the consumption of animal products such as dairy, eggs, and meat.
- A vegan diet includes foods such as fruits and vegetables, tofu, nuts and seeds, legumes and whole grains and cereals.
- PCOS requires all-time attention on your diet as a little ignorance can lead to complications. A vegan diet may help provide some relief from your PCOS symptoms as it can help reduce inflammation, aid weight loss and improve insulin sensitivity.
- Replacing a diet rich in processed foods with one that is loaded with nutrients and beneficial for your health, is crucial. A vegan diet may cause some downsides such as an increased risk of developing nutrient deficiencies, high blood sugar levels, weight gain, etc.
- You can overcome these deficiencies by taking supplements or consuming more fortified foods. You can also opt for vegan food sources of nutrients.
- Discuss with your doctor before adopting or changing to a vegan diet for 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
The best type of diet for PCOS is the one that includes foods that are low in glycaemic index, anti-inflammatory, high in fibre and healthy fats. You should avoid the consumption of refined carbs, processed meats, fried and fatty foods, sugary foods and beverages.
Some of the foods that can make your PCOS symptoms worse need to be avoided. These include added sugars, sweets, fruit juices, processed foods with refined carbs, fried foods, red meats and processed meats.
Yes, plant-based protein can be good for PCOS as it may help in weight loss and increasing insulin sensitivity. This can include almonds, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, soybeans, oatmeal and lentils.
Yes, a vegan diet can be good for PCOS as it helps in weight management and insulin sensitivity which are the most basic requirements in a PCOS management journey. A vegan diet for PCOS can include foods such as soy-based products (milk, tofu, etc.), vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds and whole grains and cereals.