Vegetarian And PCOS: What You Need To Know

  Reviewed
 by Dr. Steve Hruby
Reviewed by Dr. Steve Hruby

I am a chiropractor, father, husband, coach, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker. Feeling good about yourself is a choice: My mission is to transform lives through optimized health and overall well-being.

  Fact Checked
 by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT
Reviewed by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT

I’ve been called a Data Ninja, The Fact Checker, and a Human Search Engine. I’m an indie content curator who does research daily, and quizzes myself on the important issues of the day.

vegetarian and pcos

Are you a vegetarian or vegan? If so, you may wonder: what does it mean for women with PCOS? In short, it means you can reap more benefits from your diet. That’s right—when treating PCOS, vegans and vegetarians have a lot going for them. That’s why there’s a lot to learn about vegetarian and pcos.

The reason is simple: they don’t rely on meat-based products for their protein. Instead, they get their protein from plants. 

This way of eating has several benefits for women with PCOS—not only does it help treat the hormonal disorder itself, but it also helps alleviate painful symptoms such as pelvic pain and anxiety. And that’s not all! A vegetarian diet may also help prevent heart disease and diabetes in those who follow it.

So what does this mean for you? Should you make the jump from vegetarian to vegan? Read on to find out!

What is PCOS?

PCOS is a condition that affects many women and can lead to infertility. It’s also known as polycystic ovary syndrome because it consists of multiple cysts in the ovaries.

With PCOS, your body has too many male sex hormones called androgens. These hormones cause changes in your body’s insulin sensitivity, which causes weight gain and acne. 

They also affect how your ovaries function, which can lead to irregular periods or even no periods if you lack enough hormones.

If you have PCOS, you might have other symptoms, such as:

  • Anxiety 
  • Pelvic pain
  • Depression
  • Weight gain
  • Acne, hair loss
  • Excess stomach fat

While genetic factors are a big part of why you get PCOS, diet, and lifestyle play a role too. And the best part is that; diets are easier for most of us to change. One of the recommended intakes is tequila vegan.

How Can Diet Affect PCOS Symptoms?

Diet is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health and wellness. And while it may not seem like dieting could hugely impact your PCOS symptoms, it does!

woman in black cropped top eating a vegetable salad

For example, if you’re insulin resistant, your body will produce more insulin when you eat something high in sugar or carbohydrates. Insulin can cause your blood sugar to rise and cause symptoms like headaches and abdominal pain. 

But if you eat foods low in sugar or carbohydrates, your body won’t need as much insulin to balance out the high levels of sugar in your blood. When you eat these foods, there won’t be as much stress on your body’s system. In other words, eating right can help address some of the root causes of PCOS.

But don’t just take our word for it—try eating better today!

Is There Scientific Evidence Linking Vegan Diets to PCOS?

Vegan diets can be effective for PCOS. Studies have shown that plant-based diets can help with weight loss. Weight loss is important for women with PCOS because a large proportion of their body mass is fat. 

It’s also been shown that plant-based diets can reduce inflammation, and this also helps with PCOS symptoms.

A plant-based diet is one of the most effective ways to prevent and treat PCOS. It naturally contains high fiber and nutrients vital to lowering LDL and cholesterol levels. 

PCOS Friendly Foods

You probably already know that fruits and veggies are good for you. But did you know that certain fruits and veggies can help balance your hormones? 

That’s right! Certain plants have been shown to help regulate female hormones like estrogen and progesterone.

And we aren’t just talking about fruits and veggies here—we mean whole food groups. Whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and even seafood are part of getting the right nutrients in your diet.

Not only will you be eating healthy plant-based meals (and snacks), but also you will be filling your plate with plenty of bright colors.

Foods High in Fat

Although the idea of fat being bad is still widely held today, researchers have found that certain types of fat in your diet can help keep your heart healthy.

But what sort of fat is beneficial?

Seeds and Nuts

Seeds and nuts can be a great addition to your diet, especially if you’re looking for ways to help treat PCOS. Seeds and nuts are usually high in fiber and contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

spilled seeds and nuts from clear jars

They also contain healthy fats that help keep you full longer. Some seeds and nuts have been found to help reduce testosterone levels in women with  (PCOS).

Healthy Carbohydrates-Rich Foods

When you’re on the hunt for the healthiest carbohydrate foods out there, you’ll want to know about these foods that get accolades in the nutrition department.

  • Quinoa
  • Apples
  • Oatmeal
  • Bananas
  •  Brown Rice
  • Sweet Potato
  • Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Cabbage 

Lentils and Beans

Lentils and beans are great for anyone on a plant-based diet, as they’re both packed with protein. Lentils have an average of 15 grams of protein per cup, while beans have almost 50% of the fiber required daily.

Remember that, they have a fairly high carbohydrate count: 40 grams for each cup.

Foods High in Protein 

While it’s true that a vegan diet can be very restrictive, it doesn’t have to be. You can eat plenty of food that’s full of nutrients and protein. 

Here are some foods that will provide you with the necessary amount of protein:

Protein Powder

Protein powders are great for those who don’t eat many types of meat or other animal products. They provide an excellent source of amino acids. 

These powders are typically made from whey, rice, soy, or pea proteins and come in different flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

Meat and Eggs

If you’re a vegetarian or have PCOS, you may wonder if there are any foods to avoid. The answer is yes, but only in certain situations. While there are many different ways to eat meat and eggs, some may not be good for you if you have PCOS.

It’s important to avoid processed meats such as bacon and hot dogs. These foods can contain nitrates and nitrites, which can increase your risk of developing colon cancer if consumed regularly. 

fried eggs on a plate served with sliced bell peppers and toasts

It’s also important not to eat too much red meat. Lots of red meat can lead to high levels of iron which can cause problems with menstruation.

However, some foods can be safe for vegetarians who have PCOS. These include tofu, eggs from free-range chickens, or ducks who have been fed organic feed.

Fish and seafood 

Fish is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, anti-inflammatory agents essential in balancing hormones.

Omega-3 fatty acids help to maintain the integrity of cell membranes and reduce inflammation by reducing oxidative stress. 

Whole Fruits

Fruits are some of the most important foods you can eat because they contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

When buying fruits at the store, stick to whole fruits rather than processed or canned varieties. Whole fruits contain all the fiber and vitamins needed in a single piece of produce. 

If possible, avoid fruit juices or fruit concentrates—these foods don’t have much nutritional value beyond what’s in their actual pieces of fruit.

Probiotic Foods

Fermented foods are a great way to get your probiotics.

You can find probiotics in supplements and some foods. However,  if you’re looking for something more natural, fermented foods are a great place to start. 

Fermentation is the process by which yeast converts sugars into alcohol or organic acids.

You’ll find probiotics in many foods that have gone through this process—dairy, vegetables, fruits, grains, and even meats. But if you’re looking for a specific type of probiotic, try fermented foods like:

  • Olives
  • Pickles
  • Kimchi and yogurt 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar

Vegetables High in Probiotics

Vegetables high in Probiotics are a great source of nutrition and can help regulate your PCOS symptoms.

A diet rich in vegetables is important for many women with PCOS because it helps to manage the condition. In addition, vegetables provide a wide range of vitamins and minerals that assist with recovery from exercise.

healthy vegetable salad with greens on a white serving plate

For example, dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale are high in folate, which helps to regulate hormone levels. 

Other top most nutritious vegetables include:

  • Garlic
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Beans ( black beans)
  • Green leafy vegetables such as romaine lettuce

Foods to Avoid 

Gluten and dairy are two of the most common foods that trigger inflammation in women with PCOS. Inflammation can lead to several health problems, including poor blood sugar regulation and insulin resistance. 

So if you have PCOS and are struggling with inflammation, it’s important to eliminate both gluten and dairy from your diet.

If you’re unsure whether your symptoms could be linked to food sensitivity or intolerance, consider asking your doctor. You can take a test for non-celiac gluten sensitivity. This condition can’t be diagnosed by traditional celiac blood tests or even an intestinal biopsy. 

Other PCOS-Friendly  Lifestyle Changes

What you eat is only one aspect of managing PCOS, so I always emphasize not trying to get it perfect. There’s no such thing as an ideal way to eat anyway.

There are multiple things you can do to feel your best with PCOS.

Exercise Frequently 

If you’re looking for ways to improve your fitness and manage PCOS symptoms, we have good news: exercise benefits those with the condition.

You can do yoga or take a walk. Whichever exercise makes you feel great!

Good Sleep

Sleep is more than just a way to pass the time—it’s also important for managing your weight and keeping you healthy.

woman in gray shirt lying on the bed sleeping

Getting enough sleep can help you lose weight because it helps regulate your metabolism and reduces cravings for sugary foods. It also helps to keep your mood steady and reduces inflammation throughout your body. 

You may also explore areas when the body starts burning fat during fasting to get more about it and compare it with sleep.

Manage Stress

 Mood disorders such as depression and anxiety can occur in women with PCOS.

You must get help from a qualified therapist. A therapist will help you address the cause and manage the symptoms of PCOS.

Therapy 

The effects of PCOS can be debilitating, and getting help is important. In addition to medications, therapy can help you manage your symptoms and improve your mental health.

Supplements

PCOS is a complex condition that can be incredibly frustrating. Fortunately, there are many ways to help manage the symptoms of PCOS.

Here are a few supplements  you can use:

Inositol—This supplement helps balance hormones and reduce insulin resistance. It also has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and promote weight loss.

EPA/DHA—These fatty acids are naturally found in fish oil, which is why they’re often used as natural remedies for PCOS. They help balance hormones and reduce inflammation.

FAQs

Can People With PCOS Be Vegetarians?

Yes, people with PCOS can be vegetarians!

woman eating vegetarian salad with fork

 Vegetarian diets are generally low in fat, sodium, and cholesterol. Many people with PCOS do not experience these symptoms because they can balance their diet with sufficient protein and iron intake.

Does Cutting Out Meat Help PCOS?

If you’re a vegetarian or semi-vegetarian yourself, you might want to consider taking on a plant-based diet. 

A recent study found that those who ate only vegetarian meals had a lower risk of PCOS. However, if you’re already eating mostly plant-based meals and can manage your PCOS symptoms, then it may not matter what happens with your diet.

Can PCOS Be Cured With a Plant-Based diet?

Yes, PCOS can be managed with a plant-based diet. 

The truth is that the foods you eat hugely impact your hormone levels, and when you change how you eat, your hormones will change too!

The Final Thoughts 

There’s no one-size-fits-all diet for PCOS, but research supports a vegan diet as a healthy option for managing PCOS symptoms. 

It all boils down to what works best for you. Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that what works for others might not work for you. 

It’s also important to consider your values and ethics when making decisions about your diet—whether vegan or not; if you’re feeling your best with animal products, great!

 Find out what works best for you. If it’s sustainable and flexible enough for your life, go with it! You may read about “is rice vegan” to find out how the plant-based diet works for your nutritional goals.

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