Lifestyle changes are one of the most important approaches to PCOS. Important considerations when making ‘lifestyle changes’ are – what and how much we are eating, and how physically active we are.
Like all women, those with PCOS need to eat a nutritious diet and a wide variety of quality foods. Women with PCOS need to be more mindful of eating a moderate amount of high fibre, low glycaemic carbohydrate based foods like grainy breads and wholegrain cereals and pastas. Their diet should be high in vegetables, legumes and fruit .They also need good quality protein from sources such as lean meat and fish or tofu. Low fat dairy products and small quantities of nuts and seeds also provide good quality sources of protein, carbohydrate and fat. Women with PCOS also benefit from monitoring their portions sizes, as well as favouring water based beverages.
Exercise is also vital for women with PCOS, who tend to be prone to glucose metabolism problems and insulin resistance even at normal weights. Women benefit from doing 30 to 60 minutes of gentle aerobic or moderate intensity exercise like vigorous walking, swimming or stepping exercises, preferably every day, to help reduce insulin resistance, manage abdominal body fat, and maintain health.
Strength training, using weights, is also beneficial for women to help maintain muscle mass and improve metabolism. In addition women should be aware of how much ‘incidental’ exercise they get each day. Incidental exercise is about being more active, for example using the stairs instead of the lift, or walking/cycling to local shops rather than driving. Australian guidelines recommend being active in as many ways as possible everyday, and viewing any activity as a healthy opportunity rather than inconvenience.
Women’s Health Educator
Health Information Line, Women’s Health Queensland Wide
Women living in Queensland can also call our Health Information Line - a free information and referral service for Queensland women - on 3839 9988 or 1800 017 676 (toll free outside Brisbane).
Please note that all health information provided by Women’s Health Queensland Wide is subject to this disclaimer
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