Updated: Feb 17
As always, I thank everyone who wrote back to express gratitude and of course, with more questions. Most of you have requested to put up a list of food items to be avoided and recommend a beneficial diet for PCOS.
I have refrained from doing this so far, because of the individualistic nature and uniqueness of each patient and her condition. In the previous posts, I have enumerated the fundamentals on which the food choice can be made.
But, succumbing to the pressure from you all, I am making an attempt to list the food items according to suitability in PCOS. Please remember that this is a generic list and factors like personal experience, geo- location, agni (digestive ability), allergies, Satmya, availability, local produce should be considered while choosing from this list.
Avoid Milk and milk products. Among milk products, cow’s ghee and buttermilk can be reintroduced once the periods are regular for at least 3 cycles with normal bleeding. Even then, care should be taken to source these milk products from grass fed cows. Same for paneer. Can be consumed once a week (without deep frying). Make sure that milk used to make the paneer is sourced from grass fed cows.
Avoid direct sugar. Palm jaggery or dark coloured regular jaggery can be used as substitute, but in little quantities. Stevia is a good substitute too. Stay away from artificial sweeteners.
Foods with high salt content like pickles and papad should be avoided. Food items with cooking soda also is best avoided.
Vegetables which are not recommended: Tubers like potatoes, sweet potato, colocasia, Arbi, tapioca and other root vegetables are hard to digest and are mostly complex carbohydrates. Yam can be consumed in small quantities. Other vegetables which are not recommended include brinjal, cauliflower, cabbage, radish, raw plantain, capsicum and peas. Mushroom is not recommended. Choose more of creeper vegetables and gourds. Gourds are mostly from the Bitters family and have anti inflammatory properties which are very useful in PCOS. Ash gourd, bottle gourd, snake gourd, ivy gourd, ridge gourd and squash can be taken in generous quantities. Bitter gourd should be consumed only once a week. French/ long/ cluster Beans, cucumber, drum sticks and okra can be consumed.
Avoid using green chillies. Use Byadgi chillies or Kashmiri chillies instead. These chillies can be used as whole or as powder. These chillies are less spicy, naturally bright and tasty. Black pepper can used in small quantities.
Stimulants like coffee and tea are not recommended. But if you are unable to completely stop it, reduce the number of cups and consume only after a meal and never on empty stomach. And definitely not the first thing in the morning.
Sour foods like tamarind, sour curd, sour tomatoes, sour tasting berries should be avoided. Lemon can be used in moderate quantities in cooked food, but not with hot water and never on empty stomach.
Completely refrain from packed food like noodles, instant noodles, pasta, biscuits, chips, cornflakes, muesli etc., Bread is also best avoided.
Non vegetarian food can be consumed in moderate quantities. The meat should be fresh, non fatty and home cooked. Avoid frying the meat and consume in roasted/ soup/curry form. If you are suffering from heavy bleeding, avoid chicken and fish. Do not consume milk and milk products on the day you eat non vegetarian food. Egg white can be consumed from brown eggs, but not more than once or twice a week.
Soda and diet soda: Aerated drinks should be completely avoided for their high sugar content and preservatives. Diet soda is even more dangerous because of the presence of artificial sweeteners
Greens: Fenugreek (Methi) leaves, Drumstick leaves, Punarnava (Boerrhavia diffusa; Komme soppu in kannada), Centella asiatica, Alternanthera sessilis (Honagone soppu in kannada) are extremely beneficial. Palak, mint and amaranth can be consumed in lesser quantities.
Millets and grains: Do not completely quit rice and wheat if they have been your family staples. Shift to better forms of rice like unpolished, organic rice. Choose the traditional rice varieties. Unpolished organic Rajamudi rice is a good option when you are new to unpolished rice. Include plenty of vegetables with the rice. As for wheat, choose good organic whole wheat flour, not atta. Millets should be consumed in smaller quantities than grains. Every millet has different properties. Find the one suitable for you and cook them with lot of water and vegetables. Do not stick to the same grain or millet day after day. Rotate your grains and millets. Non- local produce like Oats and quinoa can be avoided. Refined flours like besan and maida should be avoided.
Nuts and dry fruits: Avoid cashew, pista, peanuts and sticky dates.
You can consume almonds, walnuts, fresh/ unsweetened figs, dry dates and Black raisins (Munakka)
To be continued in the next post. As usual, keep the questions coming.