Women with polycystic ovary disease might find it difficult to become pregnant due a lack of ovulation, which occurs because of a hormonal imbalance or weight gain. According to Fertility Factor, PCOS is one of the main causes of infertility, affecting up to 10 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 40. Making modifications to the diet and exercising can help reduce weight and restore ovulation in some cases. Some doctors recommend that a woman go on a low-glycemic index diet to help reduce weight and some of the symptoms that occur as a part of PCOS.
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The Glycemic Index
The glycemic index is a listing of foods arranged in the order in which they affect blood insulin levels. After a person eats, the insulin level rises in the blood, but certain foods can cause the insulin level to spike, which over time can cause insulin resistance, weight gain and type 2 diabetes. Since women with PCOS have a high level of insulin in their blood, eating foods that cause the level to spike puts them at an increased risk for developing these conditions. For this reason, they often are told to eat low glycemic index foods, which cause little change in blood insulin.
Benefits of Low Glycemic Index Foods
Eating foods that are low on the glycemic index aids weight loss and helps to maintain your weight once you reach your goal. In addition, the carbohydrates listed as low glycemic carbs help manage PCOS symptoms and feel fuller longer. Switching to this diet doesn’t mean you have to carry around a chart of foods that you can and cannot eat: It’s as easy as making dietary substitutions. For example, instead of eating corn flakes, eat bran or oats, and instead of eating white bread, eat whole grain bread.
Women with PCOS should avoid foods that cause weight gain, such as foods that are high in fat or foods listed on the glycemic index as “high.” These are foods that contain refined carbohydrates, such as white potatoes, white rice and white flour. These foods cause a spike in insulin, which can promote weight gain. You should opt for complex carbohydrates instead, which are high in fiber. MayoClinic.com states that eating a diet high in fiber will aid in weight loss. Fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grain cereals are all good sources of fiber. Eating whole grains such as whole wheat, brown rice and quinoa are good low glycemic substitute options for refined carbohydrates.
In addition to making modifications to your diet, exercising is a must. Exercising helps promote weight loss and reduces insulin. Start off slow, then gradually build up to 60-minute exercise sessions at least five days a week. According to Women’s Health, losing just 5 percent to 10 percent of your overall body weight can ease many symptoms of PCOS. This weight loss can help restore ovulation and regulate cycles in some cases.