When you think about fats, we often associate it with processed, fried or junk food. But healthy fats that you can obtain from nuts and seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish are essential nutrients to manage PCOS and also your overall health. Fats actually help in the transport of important vitamins and minerals, especially those involved in hormone production, energy and metabolism.
Apart from healthy fats, nuts and seeds are also a great source of proteins, anti-inflammatory properties and dietary fibre which makes it the perfect addition to your PCOS food list.
Here is a PCOS food list of some of the nuts and seeds that are great for managing your PCOS symptoms and improving your overall health:
1. Flax seeds
Flaxseeds are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids among other micronutrients such as magnesium, phosphorus and calcium. Some limited research shows that Omega-3 can be helpful in improving insulin sensitivity and hence help in improving PCOS symptoms. Flaxseeds are also rich in dietary fibre which can support good digestive health. Some studies also suggest that flaxseeds can help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of developing heart conditions in the long term.
Walnuts are a nutritious snack that is a great addition to a range of savoury and sweet dishes. It is rich in polyunsaturated fat which is known to be a heart-healthy fat and carries other health benefits too. Most of the calories from walnuts come from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. It also contains alpha-linolenic acid and linolenic acid which have anti-inflammatory properties to keep the blood vessels healthy. Walnuts are also loaded with vitamins and minerals such as manganese, copper, magnesium and phosphorus. It can also aid in weight loss as it has good amounts of protein and fibre that can keep you full for longer.
Almonds are nutrient-dense nuts with most of its fat content in the form of monounsaturated fats. Almonds are also a rich source of vitamin E, biotin, fibre and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Almonds have been shown to promote heart health by reducing bad cholesterol and exerting their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. One serving of almonds which is around 23 almonds or 1/4th cup has about 165 calories. Although almonds are calorie dense, they are not linked to weight gain. In fact, regular consumption of almonds helps in weight loss as the presence of fats and fibre can help improve feelings of satiety.
Pumpkin seeds are packed with nutrients and are a rich source of magnesium, a nutrient that many women with PCOS are deficient in. It also contains other minerals such as phosphorus, iron, zinc and copper. These seeds are also rich in unsaturated fats and fiber which can keep you full and satiated. You can roast the seeds and add your favourite spices to it or add it to yoghurt or salad or your regular meals.
5. Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds are a great source of magnesium and selenium. They also contain good amounts of vitamin E which is a fat-soluble vitamin and works as an antioxidant. Sunflower seeds are great for the heart and protect against the risk of developing heart conditions. You can have it as a snack or sprinkle on your favourite salads and smoothies.
6. Chia seeds
Chia seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 and just one tablespoon of chia seeds provides 5g of fibre and 3g of protein. Chia seeds are also a rich source of fibre, B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. Including chia seeds in your daily diet can help lower blood glucose levels, reduce levels of bad cholesterol, and also help with gut health. When you soak chia seeds in water it becomes a gel-like consistency which you can use in smoothie bowls, salad, and pudding.
Adding a wide variety of nuts and seeds to your diet is a great way to increase your protein, fats and dietary intake. Also these nuts and seeds are rich in micronutrients which means it can also help meet some of the nutritional deficiencies that women with PCOS have.