PCOS is a condition that causes cysts to form at the outer edge of the ovary. It also triggers hormonal imbalance, as women who have the condition would produce high amounts of male hormones.
According to statistics, 1 out of 10 women experience polycystic ovary syndrome, otherwise known as PCOS. This condition is also very common in Nigeria; one study found out that one out of six infertile Nigerian women suffered from PCOS.
This imbalance leads to menstrual irregularities. A woman with PCOS may not see her period for months, and this could affect her ability to get pregnant. When the period does come, it could last for days, and the flow would be heavier than normal.
Other symptoms of PCOS include weight gain, darkening of the skin, the appearance of hair on the face and chest, baldness, and so on.
While PCOS cannot be cured, there are a number of treatments that can be used to manage the condition, especially to regulate menstrual activities. Some of the thighs include birth control pills, surgery, and so on. One of the things that can also be done is to improve one’s diet.
Indeed, there are some foods that are very beneficial for women with the condition as it helps them to manage it better.
For example, people with PCOS have been found to have higher insulin levels. And high levels of insulin can make your ovaries produce more androgens, like testosterone. It is also linked with weight gain, which all contributes to PCOS.
Therefore, it is imperative to eat the right foods for PCOS.
In this article, we will be looking at some Nigerian foods for women with PCOS.
Vegetables are particularly important because of the number of nutrients they contain.
Dark leafy vegetables, like spinach, in particular, have an abundance of nutrients, including fibre and antioxidants.
Antioxidants are helpful in fighting inflammation, something common in most women with the condition.
Other dark green leafy vegetables in Nigeria that can help with PCOS are scent leaves, bitter leaves, jute leaves (ewedu), and fluted pumpkin leaves (ugu).
Furthermore, vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumber and cabbages are also high in fibre, which makes them great options in any Nigerian PCOS diet plan.
2. Whole Grains
Replacing regular grains with whole grains can do a lot for someone with PCOS.
This is because, unlike regular grains, whole grains, such as oats, brown rice, acha (fonio), millet, corn, and whole wheat, contain more nutrients, including high fibre content.
This is due to the role fibre plays in reducing the effect of blood sugar by slowing the digestion process. This one action can have a big impact on women with PCOS.
3. Low GI foods
Low glycemic index foods are foods that rank low on the glycemic index chart, and the lower the score, the slower the food takes to digest, which can be a good thing at times.
Since low glycemic index foods take time to digest, they would not easily cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
In other words, eating Low GI foods is a way to keep blood sugar levels from increasing rapidly.
Some common low GI foods in Nigeria you can eat include fio fio (pigeon peas), okra, unripe plantains, garden eggs, soursop, tiger nuts, potatoes, carrots, and cashew nuts.
Fruits are a healthy option that works any time of the day.
Besides the nutrients they contain, fruits have natural sugar that are often in minimal amounts.
This makes them a great option than taking soft drinks and other artificial drinks that are loaded with sugar.
Some healthy fruits in Nigeria that you can eat include garden eggs, cherry, strawberries, paw paw, pineapple, oranges, bananas, and apples.
Legumes are also a great addition to your plate if you have PCOS due to their fibre and protein content.
These foods also have a low glycemic index, are rich in fiber, and are known to be highly nutritious.
Some healthy legumes in Nigeria include black-eyed beans, pigeon peas, cow peas, groundnuts, soya beans, and green beans.
No matter how you choose to enjoy your legume, you will be doing your body a lot of good by eating it.
6. Fatty fish
Fatty fish is another great food option for PCOS.
They are also called oily fish and are the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA). These fatty acids are considered good fats, unlike the bad saturated fats in meat.
Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and are considered anti-inflammatory, which makes them especially great foods for battling PCOS.
7. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts are great for PCOS because they contain protein, fibre, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals which are all beneficial to PCOS symptoms.
Nuts and seeds also contain some good fats that can reduce inflammation and help cells maintain a healthy structure.
Some healthy nuts and seeds in Nigeria include cashew nuts, almond nuts, walnuts, egusi seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
In as much as you should eat these Nigerian foods for PCOS, you should also avoid refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, noodles, semolina, and high sugar drinks. Fries, margarine, and red or processed meats should equally be avoided for PCOS.
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