PCOS Diet 101: 21 Foods to Eat and Avoid with PCOS


PCOS Diet 101: 21 Foods to Eat and Avoid | Polycistic Ovary Syndrome causes hormonal imbalances, problems with metabolism, and infertility. If you're looking for natural remedies to help with symptoms and side effects, this post dive into the power of nutrition. We're sharing 9 diet tips for gals with PCOS, plus 11 foods to eat and 10 foods to avoid to help reduce symptoms and boost your fertility. Use these diet Dos and Don'ts to create your very own cleaning eating meal plan!

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, is a condition that affects one out of 10 women. It can cause a wide variety of problems including hormonal imbalances and problems with metabolism. In fact, PCOS is the leading cause of infertility in the U.S.

While there is no known cure, you can improve both your symptoms and your fertility by making some simple changes to your diet. We’re here to help with 21 foods to eat and avoid if you’re suffering from PCOS.


  1. What causes PCOS?
    PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. While the exact cause is unknown, it is believed to be a genetic, inherited condition. You can reduce your risk of complications by getting diagnosed early and seeking treatment. It has also been shown that by making certain dietary and lifestyle changes, you can better manage your condition.
  2. How is PCOS diagnosed?
    Most women see symptoms around the time of their first menstrual cycle. For others, PCOS develops later in life. Your doctor will diagnose you if you’re experiencing at least two of the following:  irregular periods, excess androgen (male hormones), or polycystic ovaries.
  3. What are the symptoms?
    Some of the most common symptoms are weight gain, excessive hair growth, oily skin or acne, thinning hair, irregular periods, or difficulty getting pregnant.
  4. What are the complications?
    Without treatment, you put yourself at risk for a variety of complications, including miscarriage or premature birth, sleep apnea, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, liver inflammation, depression, type 2 diabetes, or infertility.
  5. If I have PCOS, can I get pregnant?
    Many women who have PCOS can also have problems trying to conceive. However, if you seek out treatment from a fertility specialist that has experience treating patients with PCOS, you will increase your chances of getting pregnant.

PCOS Diet: 9 Tips

By following these 9 tips, you can make your PCOS symptoms easier to control:

  1. Limit Alcohol – Limiting alcohol is always a good idea. Avoid consuming alcohol every day, and instead make it an occasional indulgence. If you do choose to drink, limit yourself to only one serving.
  2. Balance Proteins and Carbs – Try to combine a complex carbohydrate with a lean protein at every snack or meal. Some great choices include whole grain crackers with nut butter, lean turkey and a small handful of nuts, or yogurt with a banana or fresh berries.
  3. Avoid Refined Sugar – Pay attention to the labels on the foods you’re eating to avoid any refined sugar. Look for high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colors or sweeteners, as well as foods with trans-fats or MSG.
  4. Increase Your Fiber – Choosing foods that are high in fiber has been shown to have many benefits. By eating fiber-rich foods, you’ll help to slow down your digestion and decrease insulin resistance.
  5. Drink More Water – Drink as much water as you can throughout the day to stay hydrated and flush toxins out of your system. If you have a hard time drinking plain water, try sparkling varieties or flavor your water with fresh fruit, cucumbers, or mint.
  6. Avoid Processed Foods – Keep your body working at an optimum level by avoiding processed foods such as white sugar, flour, bread, and pasta. Instead, choose unrefined options such as brown rice, oatmeal, or quinoa.
  7. Check The Ingredients – When shopping for food, it’s always best to check the labels, specifically the ingredients list. Avoid foods that have a long list of ingredients or have ingredients that you can’t pronounce. Instead, look for foods with a short list of natural ingredients to avoid eating anything that’s highly processed.
  8. Eat Small Meals – Instead of eating 2 or 3 large meals during the day, break it up into smaller, easier to eat meals and snacks. The goal is to eat every 3 to 4 hours to keep from getting too hungry and avoid spikes in your blood sugar.
  9. Plan Ahead – Make it easier to choose the right foods by planning ahead. It will make it easier to make smart choices when you’re hungry and you’ll have foods you can grab quickly when you need a snack or meal on the go.

PCOS Diet: 11 Foods to Eat

With the right eating habits, you’ll not only help to relieve your symptoms, but you may also help to reduce the risk of other health problems associated with PCOS including obesity and inflammation. A healthy, PCOS diet should include these foods:

  1. Fatty fish including salmon, sardines, tuna, and mackerel
  2. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower
  3. Healthy fats including avocados, coconut, and olive oil
  4. Dark red fruits such as cherries, red grapes, blueberries, and blackberries
  5. Beans and legumes such as lentils and chickpeas
  6. Fresh Herbs & Spices such as turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon
  7. Nuts including almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, and pistachios, as well as nut butters
  8. Dark chocolate that contains high levels of cocoa solids
  9. Dark, leafy greens such as kale and spinach
  10. Non-Dairy Milk Alternatives like rice milk or almond milk
  11. Yogurt that is unsweetened and low-fat including Greek yogurt

PCOS Diet: 10 Foods to Avoid

When it comes to your diet, you should avoid the foods that are widely considered unhealthy. Take a look at these 10 foods you should avoid:

  1. Sugary drinks such as sodas or energy drinks
  2. Fried foods such as french fries and other fast food
  3. Processed meats like hot dogs, hamburgers, lunch meats, and sausages
  4. Refined carbohydrates such as pastries, pastas, and white bread
  5. Highly processed foods including ice cream, cakes, candy, or anything with excess sugar like sweetened yogurt
  6. Solid fats like shortening, lard, and margarine
  7. Excess red meat such as hamburgers, pork, and steaks
  8. Starchy vegetables including peas, corn, and white potatoes
  9. Snacks high in salt such as salted pretzels, chips, and microwave popcorn
  10. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose

Because there is no cure for PCOS, managing your symptoms becomes a lifelong process.

By following a diet that helps you maintain a healthy weight, promotes good insulin levels, and meets your nutritional needs, you can fight the symptoms of PCOS and have more feel-good days.


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