Vegetarian Diet Plan For Pcos


Vegetarian diet plan for pcos is compiled of special and simple vegetarian recipes to help you overcome PCOS naturally, without drugs. The vegetarian diet for PCOS includes a whole-foods, plant-based approach that eliminates all sorts of foods directly associated with PCOS (such as dairy, eggs, meat and junk food)

Whether you’re eating well for your health or to improve the way you look and feel, the following article lists many of the health benefits of eating well. From helping people sleep better to improving skin health, there are many reasons to start eating healthier.

Vegetarian Diet Plan For Pcos

Vegetarians and vegans alike reap numerous nutritional benefits, and helping treat PCOS could be one of them. The hormonal disorder results in several painful symptoms such as pelvic pain and anxiety. As such, researchers have gone in-depth into finding ways to alleviate these manifestations of PCOS— not only through medication, but also through one’s diet. What does being a vegetarian have to do with all of this? If you’re still thinking about stepping into the plant-based scene you might be asking: should you take the leap? This read will take you through all your questions about what a vegetarian diet means for women with PCOS. 

meal planning for women with pcos

What Is PCOS?

PCOS stands for Polycystic ovary syndrome. Its name alludes to the several tiny cysts that form in the ovaries. The condition describes an abnormal amount of the male sex hormones called androgens that are found in women. PCOS is more common in a woman’s child-bearing years. PCOS symptoms can include irregular periods, pelvic pain, infertility, weight gain, excess stomach fat, acne, hair loss, anxiety, hirsutism, and depression. While genetic, environmental factors and other prenatal factors can come into play with the development of PCOS, diet and lifestyle can also contribute to it. 

What Does Your Diet Have To Do With PCOS?

These are diet tips outlined by Michelle McMacken, MD, and executive director of Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue in her article “I Have PCOS. What Should I Eat?”.

  • Choose Low-Glycemic Food

Ms. Jyoti Bhatt, a senior dietician from Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre, discusses that there is a possible link between insulin resistance and PCOS. The connection was made that insulin resistance lowers insulin sensitivity, which hinders your pancreas from detecting whether you have taken in too much sugar or not. This causes blood sugar spikes, in which the high insulin levels could cause the ovaries to produce the influx of the male hormone. These are what causes the creation of cysts in the ovaries. Cutting down on sweetened beverages and extra sugar through opting for food that scores low on the glycemic index, like green and leafy vegetables, can be a way to lessen this.

  • Eat High Fiber Food

Two of the symptoms of PCOS are weight gain and excess stomach fat. Eating high-fiber food was revealed to promote weight loss especially for women with PCOS. 

  • Reduce Trans Fats and Saturated Fats

What else isn’t recommended for women with PCOS? A study by Estadella, et al. in 2013 found that trans fat and saturated fats should be avoided. These also lead to insulin resistance and can worsen PCOS. What foods have these fats? Dairy, meat, and a wide variety of snack food. These aren’t the kind of foods many vegetarians or vegans usually eat, making it easier for them to eliminate these foods from their diets. 

  • Go for Soy 

Soy is another kind of food that was shown to help with PCOS. In a randomized trial by Karamali, et al. in 2018, soy diets were tested alongside high-animal-protein diets of women with PCOS. The soy diet was found to help decrease several symptoms of PCOS such as weight gain, stomach fat, and high blood sugar. Another similar study had results that confirmed this. 

  • Reduce Foods with Animal Protein

This is yet another food that causes insulin resistance, a problem for people with PCOS.

What does this all mean for vegetarians and vegans everywhere? Many of the items in the list above can be shortened into one simple sentence: eat more plant-based food. Not all plant-based foods fit into each category, but it can be said that foods containing animal protein, trans fat and saturated fat are commonly found in the carnivorous or omnivorous lifestyle. As such, going all-green might be a good way to combat PCOS.  

diet for pcos

What Does Science Say About It?

A study about how to manage PCOS from the University of South Carolina suggests that a plant-based diet could be effective in weight loss efforts as well as battling insulin resistance— all factors that surround the condition. 

PCOS-Friendly Food To Include In Your Vegan Or Vegetarian Diet 

If you’re new to the plant-based lifestyle and want to try it out or if you’re a longtime vegetarian or vegan, these are some foods you can stock up on in your fight against PCOS. 

  • Seeds and nuts. Seeds and nuts can be used in salads or munched on as a snack food. They usually have high levels of fiber and promote weight loss— some recommendations to help treat PCOS.
  • Lentils and Beans. Protein is essential in any diet and especially in a plant-based diet. The less meat, the better for those with PCOS so these alternatives might be your protein source of choice. Both contain an average of 15 grams of protein per cup and almost 50% of the necessary amount of fiber per day. It is something to note that beans also have 40 grams of carbohydrates for each cup. 
  • Protein Powder. If you’re not too big on beans, protein powder can supplement your meal planning for a good amount of protein without the sweeteners and other fillers added. 

Vegetarians that lean more on the ovo vegetarian side, meaning you (or your doctor) allow yourself to eat eggs, can also have a serving of eggs in moderation. They are a good source of protein. 

Other Lifestyle Changes You Can Pair With Your Vegetarian Diet For PCOS

Evidence-based interventions, like the following, can go along with a plant-based diet in order for women with PCOS to live a healthier life. 


Aerobic exercises can reduce inflammation caused by PCOS, while any physical activity can help with insulin sensitivity. Resistance training has also been revealed to bring balance to the sex hormones in women with PCOS. Additionally, those with anxiety and depression can also benefit from exercise as it can improve one’s mood.  


Not sleeping properly has also been found to increase systemic inflammation and affect insulin resistance. Getting a good night’s sleep can also help with your diet because it can lessen your craving for sugary foods. 


Vegetarian Diet for PCOS

With so many diets online for PCOS, how do you know which one works? The truth is there is no one size fits all diet for PCOS – it requires to be personalized based on your symptoms. However, our expert nutritionists at Veera have given their advice and a template (vegetarian) that will help you get started to healthy eating.

Following a PCOS diet is important in managing and reversing symptoms in the long run. It helps keep your hormones balanced and also reduces the risk of complications like diabetes, infertility, and heart disease. However, you may be feeling lost and overwhelmed on where to start, especially if you are a vegetarian. There aren’t a lot of reliable, science-backed, PCOS-specific Indian vegetarian diets available online and we are here to fix that!

So where should you start? First, it is important to understand that there is no set diet for everyone with PCOS — PCOS manifests differently in different women; not everyone will have the same symptoms and root cause. So it is important to understand what works for you and what does not. Unfortunately that involves a lot of trial and error and can be time-consuming and stressful for some.  A nutritionist can be of great help in this case as he/she will understand your body and dietary triggers, and customize a diet plan for you. 

While there is no set PCOS diet, there are some general guidelines that can help you plan your meals wisely, especially if you are vegetarian. Your diet should be balanced and should contain foods from all four food groups mentioned below. Always choose the foods in green as they are great for women with PCOS. The foods in yellow can be eaten once in a while, and the foods in red should always be avoided. Fruits marked with the green dot have a low glycemic index (GI), a characteristic you should look for in the food you eat. Additionally you should always choose complex carbohydrates and unsaturated fats — vegetarian sources of these are marked with a green dot in the graphic below. Proteins are very important for women with PCOS. Although there are plenty of vegetarian options for proteins, we often don’t include enough protein in our diet. You just need to plan your meals in a way that will provide you with sufficient protein.

Overall, choose foods with a low GI, that are rich in complex carbohydrates, proteins and unsaturated fats like omega-3-fatty acids.

Below you can find a sample Indian vegetarian diet plan for women with PCOS.

Changing your diet to include foods like these will help reduce your insulin resistance, balance out your hormones and prevent inflammation. These foods will, of course, also provide you with the right vitamins, antioxidants and nutrients required for the healthy functioning of your body!

PLEASE NOTE: This is just a sample, generic plan and not a complete diet. A complete diet plan will be more detailed and will contain meals that are specific to your body and symptoms. It is advisable to speak with a nutritionist who can put together a diet plan that is tailor-made for you

Effective Diet Plan For Vegetarian And Vegan PCOS Patients

Around 6-15% of women in the age group of thirteen to forty-five have Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS. These women have excess male hormones and their lab results show insulin resistance. Women who are overweight or obese are at higher risk of developing this condition. This is because being overweight increases insulin resistance, which in turn can cause excess male hormone action in the female body.

Healthy nutrition and lifestyle modifications should be the first-line treatment for PCOS. 

Gynaecologists avoid any hormonal medications at the initial stage because of the inherent side effects of these drugs. Metformin is often prescribed to reduce the underlying insulin resistance. Some women with severe acne or body hair may also be prescribed drugs that directly lower male hormone levels. But each of these comes with its side effects. 

Diet plays an important role in managing insulin resistance, correcting the hormonal imbalances and in weight management. Various studies have evaluated the impact of diet on the symptoms of PCOS, especially on insulin resistance and weight management. 

A study was conducted on healthy females with PCOS who are not on any insulin-sensitizing or hormonal therapy. This study concluded that a moderate reduction in dietary carbohydrate has a positive effect on insulin blood test results. This effect may improve reproductive and endocrine functions. 

In a systematic review for analyzing the dietary effect in the treatment of PCOS, it was found that various dietary compositions have a different impact on female health. While a monounsaturated fat-enriched diet causes greater weight reduction, menstrual irregularities are managed and the overall quality of life is improved with a low glycemic-index diet. High protein diet results in improved self-esteem and fewer incidences of depression. According to this systematic review, caloric intake should be reduced to target weight loss to improve the symptoms of PCOS. 

The study conducted on 54 females suffering from PCOS analyses the contribution of dietary mistakes in the development of PCOS. The study concluded that dietary mistakes result in poor functioning of ovaries that may lead to PCOS. 

It is clear from the research that dietary management is essential in the female of childbearing age who may or may not suffer from PCOS.

Following are some of the ingredients to be incorporated in the diet, to obtain an effective diet plan for vegetarians and vegans that helps in managing PCOS:

Low glycemic index fruits and vegetables

Glycemic index is a measure of the increase in blood sugar due to a certain food. Foods which increase the sugar level are considered as high glycemic index food items. Low glycemic index vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, spinach, cauliflower and tomatoes should be included in the diet. Fruits such as oranges, grapes, apples, and berries have a low glycemic index.

Incorporate small amounts of whole-grain carbohydrate in the diet

Women with PCOS should incorporate whole grain carbohydrates in their diet as they have a low glycemic index. Carbohydrates are required to maintain a healthy level of blood sugar, improving gut health and reduce the tendency for binge eating. 


Various evidence shows that animal protein may lead to ovulatory infertility. Also increased vegetable protein in diet results in increased insulin sensitivity and increased rate of ovulation.


Females with PCOS should limit the consumption of dairy products including milk because these products may trigger insulin levels in the body. In a study, a direct relationship was established between milk consumption and the risk of PCOS.


Legumes contain a considerable amount of fiber which helps in maintaining the blood sugar levels and improves gut health. Legumes such as chickpeas, soybeans and lentils should be incorporated into the diet of PCOS patients. 

Eating more plant foods

Eating more plant foods such as legumes, fruits, vegetables and whole grains reduces inflammation and improves insulin resistance. This is because the plant foods generate a low level of advanced glycation end-products as compared to non-vegetarian foods. 

Carbohydrates complemented with proteins

Various studies have suggested that supplementing enough carbohydrates with proteins provides metabolic advantages in patients with PCOS.  

Include good fats in the diet

While this may be a challenge for vegans, vegetarians can benefit hugely by including good fats like ghee, butter and cold-pressed oils to their diet. A study published by Sepalika in International Journal of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology showed the positive effects experienced by women who used a Low Carb, Good Fat diet to reverse their PCOD symptoms. Good fats contain healthy cholesterol, which is the building block of all hormones in the human body. When treating hormonal imbalances like PCOD, it is crucial to consume sufficient good fats.

Health benefits of eating well

A well-balanced diet provides all of the:

  • energy you need to keep active throughout the day
  • nutrients you need for growth and repair, helping you to stay strong and healthy and help to prevent diet-related illness, such as some cancers

Keeping active and eating a healthy balanced diet can also help you to maintain a healthy weight.

Deficiencies in some key nutrients – such as vitamin A, B, C and E, and zinc, iron and selenium – can weaken parts of your immune system.

Type 2 diabetes

Maintaining a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet that’s low in saturated fat and high in fibre found in whole grains can help to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Heart health

A healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy can help to reduce your risk of heart disease by maintaining blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

High blood pressure and cholesterol can be a symptom of too much salt and saturated fats in your diet.

Eating a portion of oily fish – such as salmon and trout – each week can also help to lower your risk of developing heart disease. The high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish are good for heart health.

Strong bones and teeth

A diet rich in calcium keeps your teeth and bones strong and can help to slow bone loss (osteoporosis) associated with getting older.

Calcium is usually associated with dairy products, but you can also get calcium by eating:

  • sardines, pilchards or tinned salmon (with bones)
  • dark green vegetables – such as kale and broccoli
  • calcium-fortified foods – such as soya products, fruit juices and cereals

As vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, make sure you get outside (your body gets vitamin D from the sun) and have plenty of foods containing vitamin D in your diet – such as oily fish and fortified cereals.

How to manage your weight

Eating a healthy diet that includes lots of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and a moderate amount of unsaturated fats, meat and dairy can help you maintain a steady weight. Having a good variety of these foods every day leaves less room for foods that are high in fat and sugar – a leading cause of weight gain.

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