How to manage your diet for PCOS  

Polycystic ovary syndrome, commonly known as PCOS, is a complex hormonal condition that affects 13% of women globally during the reproductive years. PCOS can cause multiple ovarian cysts and other symptoms like excess body hair, irregular periods, acne and inflammation. The main features of PCOS include abnormalities in the activity of androgen and insulin hormones. 

Making lifestyle changes may help manage PCOS symptoms and reduce your risk of developing other health issues. PCOS nutritionist Lora Attia explains how to tweak your diet for PCOS management so that you feel healthier and happier in the short and long term.  

Why a diet for PCOS is so important 

Lora says that recent updates to the International Evidence-based Guideline for the assessment and management of PCOS highlight the key role a strategic diet for PCOS plays in keeping your symptoms under control.  

The ultimate PCOS food list 

Creating a diet for PCOS isn’t just about knowing what to avoid. In fact, focusing on cutting foods from your diet can make you more likely to overeat, especially since people with PCOS are more likely to have disordered eating habits and a poor relationship with food. 

Let’s talk supplements 

While eating nutritious foods should be your focus when creating a diet for PCOS, supplements can help your efforts to manage symptoms. 

Top supplements to consider include:  

  • Inositol – an insulin sensitiser that can help improve reproductive and metabolic disorders 
  • Fish oil – which can reduce inflammation and improve insulin resistance, ovulation and fertility 
  • Vitamin D – vitamin D deficiency is thought to be more common in women with PCOS  
  • Zinc – which can help with hair loss or unwanted hair growth  
  • Magnesium – low magnesium is common among people with PCOS 
  • Chromium - which can help improve the action of insulin 


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