Womens Day

Women’s day special: nutrition and lifestyle tips for women with polycystic ovaries

On the occasion of International Women’s day, we have a senior and eminent nutritionist Dr Suneeti Khandekar as our blogger. She is an MBBS, a dietitian, and MBA in healthcare. She is on the advisory board of NutriKonnect, which is an online nutrition consultation platform. She is here to share nutrition and lifestyle management tips for women with polycystic ovaries.

Polycystic ovaries may present with two conditions — Poly Cystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) and Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). The symptoms of both include excessive weight gain, irregular periods, hormonal disturbances, male pattern of hair growth, infertility, etc. PCOS shows symptoms in the early teens.

While PCOD is most common worldwide, both conditions have similar modalities of treatment which can show tremendous improvements when adhered. The approach is to shed off the excess fat and once done maintain it under control, follow a regular exercise pattern, eating healthy food with half of your plate with greens and vegetables, one-fourth with proteins, and the rest with complex carbohydrates. Damage control can be done with proper lifestyle changes like meditation, breathing exercises, calming exercises, psychological support by opening up and discussing your feelings.

Nutrition tips for women with polycystic ovaries:

Nutrition Tips For Women

  1. Choose fiber: Greens, fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and lentils. Include them in all your meals. Women who do not have a liking towards greens and fresh vegetables can have them in a combined form, for example with dals or rice; like palak dal or palak pulao or palak khichdi, etc.

Fluid Diet

2. Prefer more fluids: Plain water and natural liquids like coconut water, buttermilk, lentil water, lime water, amla water, kokum water, cucumber water, etc are excellent hydrating sources. They should be had without adding salt or sugar. Have liquids throughout the day. Sometimes thirst may be mistaken for hunger and we end up eating instead. Try and quench your thirst with the above liquids before indulging in solids.


3. Prefer oilseeds: Include sesame seeds, flaxseeds, halim (English name — garden cress seeds), khuskhus or poppy seeds, carom seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds in your daily diet.

Nutrition Tips For Women

4. Prefer fats that offer satiety: Clarified butter or ghee comes as a rescue for satiety. It helps in reducing the glycemic index of the carbohydrates, acts as an excellent solvent for the essential fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K, and as a medium-chain triglyceride which helps in weight control or in shedding those extra fats. So let’s say if you wish to have a paneer salad for an evening snack, you may drizzle ghee on the paneer and marinate it with fresh garlic, spices, and herbs.

Nutrition Tips For Women

5. Avoid ready-to-eat foods: Avoid packaged foods like instant soups, gravies, etc., and empty calories in the form of cold drinks and carbonated beverages. They are packed with chemicals and preservatives not only resulting in weight gain but are also damaging to the liver and kidneys when consumed in excess and on a long-term basis.

Lifestyle modification tips for women with polycystic ovaries:

1. Wake up early: This habit is not only good for your physical health but also for your psychological health as you have some time to dedicate to yourself. Even if it is just 15 -20 mins, it is worth the effort and you can invest this time to do deep breathing exercises.

Nutrition Tips For Women

2. Set your routine: performing your day-to-day activities like walking, eating, exercising, sleeping on time gives your body and mind a well-defined template that is much easier to carry forward as a routine.

Daily Exercise

3. Exercise daily: A 45-minute walk, with at least 10 minutes of it as a brisk walk should help to kick start the fat-burning process.


4. Sit less, move more: Avoid sitting for long hours at one place. If you are working on your desktop, take 2–3 mins to stand and do stretching exercises. If you are talking over the phone, you can opt to walk while you talk. If you are watching your favorite TV show, you should prefer walking rather than sitting on a sofa.

Daily Activities

5. Modify your daily activities into an exercise: For example, for a certain task, if you require to do one round of walking, extend it to a five-round work. This ensures the NEAT — Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. You may choose gardening, folding clothes, working in the kitchen, or even taking a stroll across.

Daily Activities

6. Drop elevators and use stairs: Climbing stairs is a great cardio workout and helps burning excess fats, so if you live/ work on higher floors, choose the stairs instead of lift.

Nutrition Tips For Women

7. Be smart: Why pollute the environment if the marketplace is within a walking distance? Walk it up instead, else park your vehicle at a distance and walk to the market. While returning, the shopping bags can help as weight training in addition to the cardio exercise of walking.

Polycystic ovaries need to be tackled with patience and may require extensive counseling. It can take a toll on the emotional health of a female rather than physical health. However, it can definitely be controlled with appropriate nutrition and exercise strategies. For a detailed diet plan and counseling session with Dr. Suneeti Khandekar, click here


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