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Indian Vegetarian Diet Plan For PCOS Women

| Reviewed By Dr. Karthika Thirugnanam

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal problem that occurs among women at reproductive age. It affects around 8-10% of women. Women with PCOS generally have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess male hormone (androgen) levels. Their ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs.

The lack of ovulation alters levels of estrogen, progesterone, follicle stimulating hormone, and luteal hormone. Estrogen and progesterone levels are lower than usual, while androgen levels are higher than usual. The excess male hormones disrupt the menstrual cycle, resulting in women with PCOS having infrequent periods. This results in a higher level of insulin in the women' body causing obesity [1] .

A woman with PCOS should be on a diet which will provide them with the needed nutrition while maintaining their insulin levels. This, in turn, can help prevent unintended weight gain, which can be difficult to lose for this particular problem.

Indian Vegetarian Diet Guidelines for Women with PCOS

Women with PCOS should avoid the consumption calorie-dense, processed foods as they can cause weight gain. Below is the diet plan for women with PCOS. Select one from each type of meal [2] .

Early morning beverage options

  • 1 cup green tea [3]
  • 1 cup herbal tea
  • 1 cup spearmint tea [4]
  • 1 cup lemon and honey tea
  • 1 cup cinnamon tea [5]
  • 1 glass of green juice made of bottle gourd, cucumber, mint and lemon.

Breakfast options

  • 1 cup oats with your favourite fruit sliced up
  • 1 Jowar roti with green vegetables [2]
  • 2 idlis and sambhar
  • 1 cup wheat upma
  • 1 bowl of ragi or moong dal khichri
  • 1 wheat dosa
  • Low glycemic index fruits like cherries and berries [6] .

Morning snack options

  • 1 cup of a vegetable soup [7]
  • 1 fruit like banana or sapota
  • Green tea [3]
  • ½ cup of mixed nuts & seeds

Lunch options

  • 1 cup flavoured brown rice [8] + 1 bowl of green vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, beans and legumes
  • 2-3 multi-grain chapatis + 1 bowl green vegetables+ 1 cup yogurt [9]
  • 1 cup brown rice + 1 cup dal (labia, rajma or chana) + 1 bowl green vegetables
  • 1 chapati + half cup brown rice + 1 bowl of cooked green vegetables + cucumber or green salad

Evening snack options

  • 2-4 dry fruits like almonds or walnuts [10]
  • 1 cup sprout salad + ½ cup of buttermilk
  • 1 fibre-rich fruit like guava
  • 2-3 fibre or multigrain biscuits

Dinner options

  • 2 chapati + 1 cup dal/raita
  • 1 bowl of green leafy vegetables [7]
  • 1 cup quinoa salad [11]
  • 2 small Bajra (millet) roti with 1 cup raita/dal
  • 1 cup ragi upma
  • Vegetable soup

Bedtime

  • Lukewarm water with cinnamon [5]

Dietary Guidelines For Women With PCOS

  • Replace normal wheat flour with millet or multigrain flour.
  • Avoid processed and junk food.
  • Consume clear vegetable soup at least once in a day.
  • Plan your diet by diving it into 5-6 small meals per day.
  • Eat 1-2 servings of fruits per day.
  • Take protein from plant-based sources like pulses, chickpeas and tofu.
  • Green salad/ cooked green vegetables are essential as they contain a lot of dietary fibre.
  • Try finding new recipes to keep it fun!
  • Do not exceed more than 3-5 cups of green tea daily.
  • Do not miss out on cinnamon water as can help flush toxins out the body.
  • Incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
  • Focus on obtaining sufficient sleep.
View Article References
  1. [1] Ndefo, U. A., Eaton, A., & Green, M. R. (2013). Polycystic ovary syndrome: a review of treatment options with a focus on pharmacological approaches. P & T : a peer-reviewed journal for formulary management, 38(6), 336–355.
  2. [2] Douglas, C. C., Gower, B. A., Darnell, B. E., Ovalle, F., Oster, R. A., & Azziz, R. (2006). Role of diet in the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertility and sterility, 85(3), 679–688. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2005.08.045
  3. [3] Ghafurniyan, H., Azarnia, M., Nabiuni, M., & Karimzadeh, L. (2015). The effect of green tea extract on reproductive improvement in estradiol valerate-induced polycystic ovarian syndrome in rat. Iranian journal of pharmaceutical research: IJPR, 14(4), 1215.
  4. [4] Sadeghi Ataabadi, M., Alaee, S., Bagheri, M. J., & Bahmanpoor, S. (2017). Role of Essential Oil of Mentha Spicata (Spearmint) in Addressing Reverse Hormonal and Folliculogenesis Disturbances in a Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome in a Rat Model. Advanced pharmaceutical bulletin, 7(4), 651–654. doi:10.15171/apb.2017.078
  5. [5] Dou, L., Zheng, Y., Li, L., Gui, X., Chen, Y., Yu, M., & Guo, Y. (2018). The effect of cinnamon on polycystic ovary syndrome in a mouse model. Reproductive biology and endocrinology : RB&E, 16(1), 99. doi:10.1186/s12958-018-0418-y
  6. [6] Sordia-Hernández, L. H., Ancer, P. R., Saldivar, D. R., Trejo, G. S., Servín, E. Z., Guerrero, G. G., & Ibarra, P. R. (2016). Effect of a low glycemic diet in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome and anovulation-a randomized controlled trial. Clinical and experimental obstetrics & gynecology, 43(4), 555-559.
  7. [7] Ratnakumari, M. E., Manavalan, N., Sathyanath, D., Ayda, Y. R., & Reka, K. (2018). Study to Evaluate the Changes in Polycystic Ovarian Morphology after Naturopathic and Yogic Interventions. International journal of yoga, 11(2), 139–147. doi:10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_62_16
  8. [8] Cutler, D. A., Pride, S. M., & Cheung, A. P. (2019). Low intakes of dietary fiber and magnesium are associated with insulin resistance and hyperandrogenism in polycystic ovary syndrome: A cohort study. Food science & nutrition, 7(4), 1426–1437. doi:10.1002/fsn3.977
  9. [9] Rajaeieh, G., Marasi, M., Shahshahan, Z., Hassanbeigi, F., & Safavi, S. M. (2014). The Relationship between Intake of Dairy Products and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in Women Who Referred to Isfahan University of Medical Science Clinics in 2013. International journal of preventive medicine, 5(6), 687–694.
  10. [10] Kalgaonkar, S., Almario, R. U., Gurusinghe, D., Garamendi, E. M., Buchan, W., Kim, K., & Karakas, S. E. (2011). Differential effects of walnuts vs almonds on improving metabolic and endocrine parameters in PCOS. European journal of clinical nutrition, 65(3), 386.
  11. [11] Dennett, C. C., & Simon, J. (2015). The role of polycystic ovary syndrome in reproductive and metabolic health: overview and approaches for treatment. Diabetes spectrum : a publication of the American Diabetes Association, 28(2), 116–120. doi:10.2337/diaspect.28.2.116
Karthika ThirugnanamClinical Nutritionist and Dietitian
MS, RDN (USA)
Karthika Thirugnanam

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