Diet and Lifestyle Changes to Manage PCOS Symptoms

Diet and Lifestyle Changes to Manage PCOS Symptoms

Published: 08:17AM 12 April 2023

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Jayti Shah

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PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) is a common hormonal disorder that primarily affects women of reproductive age. It is distinguished by irregular menstrual cycles, elevated androgen levels, and the presence of multiple cysts on the ovaries. PCOS can cause infertility, insulin resistance, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, among other things. There are, however, dietary and lifestyle changes that can aid in the management of PCOS symptoms.

Here are some scientifically supported diet and lifestyle changes for managing PCOS:

  1. Increase fibre intake: In women with PCOS, a high-fiber diet can help regulate insulin levels, reduce insulin resistance, and improve glucose tolerance. Aim for 25-30 grams of fibre per day from whole foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
  2. Select healthy fats: Include omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fatty fish, nuts, and seeds. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown in studies to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation in women with PCOS.
  3. Reduce carbohydrate intake: A high-carbohydrate diet can cause insulin resistance, a common symptom of PCOS. Reduce carbohydrate consumption and replace it with complex carbohydrates that have a low glycemic index, such as whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
  4. Limit processed foods: Processed foods are often high in refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats, which can contribute to insulin resistance, inflammation, and weight gain. Reduce your intake of processed foods and replace them with whole, unprocessed foods.
  5. Prioritize sleep: Adequate sleep is essential for overall health and can improve insulin sensitivity and hormone balance in PCOS women. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night and stick to a consistent sleep schedule.
  6. Consider taking vitamin D supplements: Vitamin D deficiency is common in women with PCOS, and taking vitamin D supplements may help improve insulin resistance and hormone balance. Consult your healthcare provider to see if vitamin D supplementation is right for you.
  7. Manage stress: Because stress can exacerbate PCOS symptoms, it's critical to keep stress under control. Incorporate stress-relieving activities such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises into your daily routine.
  8. Maintain a healthy weight: In women with PCOS, maintaining a healthy weight can help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation. Instead of crash dieting, which can be harmful to your overall health, focus on making long-term lifestyle changes.


PCOS can cause a variety of health issues, including infertility, insulin resistance, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. There are, however, dietary and lifestyle changes that can aid in the management of PCOS symptoms. Increased fiber intake, healthy fat selection, reduced carbohydrate intake, and resistance training can improve insulin sensitivity, hormone balance, and overall health. Maintaining a healthy weight, prioritizing sleep, managing stress, and seeking medical treatment are all important. For PCOS management, a multifaceted approach that includes dietary and lifestyle changes as well as medical treatment is required.

Jayti Shah is a Clinical Nutritionist with a master's degree in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a member of the Indian Dietetic Association (IDA). Over the last 9 years, she has helped 400 clients in their clinical and weight loss journeys. She works with SocialBoat as a nutrition consultant.

At SocialBoat, we offer custom diet plans and guided workouts to help you achieve your goals in a 360-degree approach. Our gamified experience ensures that you don’t find workouts boring and we reward you for being consistent with your efforts.

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  7. Mansournia, N., Mansournia, M. A., Saeedi, M., Dehghan, J., & Vahedpoor, Z. (2020). The effect of stress management training on quality of life in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of psychosomatic obstetrics & gynecology, 41(2), 103-112.

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