Do you suffer with PCOS but are confused about how to eat to manage your symptoms? In this article we are explaining all about how diet can support fertility when you suffer with PCOS. We also list our favourite dietitian approved snacks for PCOS to get you started.
PCOS diet for fertility
PCOS is a common condition that affects around 10% of women in the UK. Common symptoms of PCOS include;
- irregular periods
- high levels of male hormones
- fertility issues
- excessive hair growth,
- cysts on your ovaries
Making the right diet changes can make all the difference to the symptoms as well as chances of conception when we suffer with PCOS.
When we have PCOS the levels of our reproductive hormones become imbalanced. As a result we generally have higher levels of testosterone and higher levels of insulin (the hormone that controls our blood sugar levels).
Together this can interfere with the levels of other reproductive hormones such as oestrogen. Imbalanced oestrogen levels leads to irregular cycles and irregular ovulation which is a key symptom of PCOS.
To create a PCOS diet for fertility some of the things we need to consider are;
- The amount of carbohydrate we consume. For example, a lower carbohydrate intake can be beneficial for hormonal balance, menstrual cycle regularity and fertility
- The glycaemic index of the diet. A low glycaemic index diet can support insulin levels and reduce levels of testosterone. It can also support weight control in women with PCOS who struggle with their weight.
- The amount of protein we eat. A higher protein intake can help stabilise blood sugar and insulin levels
- Consuming foods with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This is important because PCOS is an inflammatory condition and oxidative stress is higher in people with this condition
Check out our PCOS fertility diet blog for more details
But what does this mean in reality? When we are optimising our diet, planning our foods and knowing what foods will support us can be really useful. Here we share our top 5 snacks for PCOS to help you create an optimal PCOS diet for fertility.
Top 5 snacks for PCOS
Snacks can be a very important part of our diet, even when we are trying to conceive or be ‘healthy’. As well as helping us get from one meal to the next, they are a great opportunity to add in fertility friendly foods. If we don’t plan our snacks we may start reaching for foods that may not be so healthy.
Creating nutritious and hormone supporting snacks for PCOS is a start to optimising your diet for fertility.
- Hummus & crudités
50g hummus, 5 cucumber slices, 1 carrot
Hummus has a low glycaemic index, supporting blood sugar and insulin levels. The carrot and cucumber provides antioxidants. A perfect snack for PCOS.
- Chicken lettuce wrap
1 tsp oil, 45g chicken, 1 gem lettuce leaf, 1/2 carrot (grated), 1/2 clove garlic, minced, 1cm ginger, diced, 1/2 tsp chilli, 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce, 1 spring onion, sliced.
Heat the oil in a pan over a high heat frying pan. Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Throw in the carrot, garlic, ginger and chilli, then cook for a further minute. Finally, add in the soy sauce and bring the mixture to a boil for 2 minutes until the liquid has evaporated. Spoon the chicken mixture out into the lettuce leaves and sprinkle with spring onion.
Chicken is a lean source of protein. Including it is a great way to increase protein intake throughout the day. This snacks keeps carbohydrates low which is a great start for creating a PCOS diet for fertility.
- Edamame snack pot
80g of frozen edamame beans boiled in a pan for 3-5 minutes, drained and seasoned with salt and pepper.
Edamame beans are a source of protein as well as containing fibre which supports our blood sugar levels keeping them stable.
- Tomatoes, cream cheese & Ryvita
6 cherry tomatoes, 1 tbsp cream cheese & 1 Ryvita
Ryvita is a whole grain cracker which releases sugar slowly throughout the day keeping you feeling energised and our blood sugar levels stable. Pairing this with a low glycaemic index food such as cream cheese for instance, lowers the overall glycaemic index of the snack. Tomatoes add antioxidants.
- Yoghurt with strawberries & almonds
5 Strawberries, 125g Greek yoghurt, 6 almonds
Plain yoghurt is high in protein, adding nuts provides anti-inflammatory healthy fats. Together this combination helps us stay full reducing the likelihood of snacking again between meals which can also support weight.
The bottom line
If you suffer with PCOS, creating a diet that supports your hormone levels can improve your symptoms and ultimately your fertility. Start off by incorporating these delicious snacks for PCOS into your daily routine.
Our PCOS guides and 2 week meal plans provide recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks to allow you to understand just want changes to make to support your PCOS and your fertility. Whether you have PCOS and struggle with your weight or whether you have lean PCOS we have a guide for you. These guides also allow you to create a PCOS vegetarian diet if you so wish.