How to reverse PCOS with diet

Good food has many health benefits. Eating right can help boost your immunity, strengthen your bones, reduce your risk of disease, maintain a healthy body weight, and even live longer. And if you’re a woman living with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), good nutrition can help you manage your PCOS symptoms and possibly reverse the effects.

PCOS cannot be cured, but proper diet and lifestyle changes can help manage side effects and reduce the risk of long-term complications such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

So today I will introduce you to the ingredients of a PCOS Reversal Diet. Here’s what to consider for your new healthy eating habits:

how to reverse pcos with diet tips

How to reverse PCOS with diet

Discover your carb tolerance.

Carbs are generally considered a no-go for diets…they usually tell you to eat as low a carb as possible. This can be dangerous, however, as everyone’s carb tolerance is different. Eating too few calories can cause stress, nutrient deficiencies, irregular periods, and worsening acne.

So the name of the game doesn’t have to be “low carb” but find your carb tolerance and go “low carb”. I recommend starting with 120-150g of carbs per day and adjusting from there. To learn more about carb tolerance, listen to this episode of A Cyster and Her Mister Podcast.

Consider cutting out dairy and gluten.

Dairy and gluten are known to make symptoms worse in some women with PCOS. When our bodies absorb dairy and gluten proteins, it triggers an inflammatory response. This is when your immune system attacks your healthy cells.

When this happens, it can lead to weight gain, acne, digestive problems, and more. So talk to your doctor and consider cutting dairy and gluten out of your diet.

Eat 3-4 times a day.

As a registered dietitian and PCOS sufferer, I always recommend eating 3-4 meals a day. Usually this is breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a small snack between breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner. (Or both, if you prefer!)

When you eat balanced meals, you’ll have fewer cravings throughout the day and you’ll be less tempted to reach for unhealthy foods that make your symptoms worse and make it harder to lose weight.

Drink herbal tea.

Unsweetened herbal tea has a number of health benefits for women with PCOS. It has healthy vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can boost your metabolism, reduce stress, promote good sleep, and help regulate mood.

Each combination of ingredients will have different effects, so here are some of my favorite herbal teas to reverse PCOS:

  • Green, white and black. antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Peppermint and peppermint. antiandrogenic effect
  • Cinnamon. improving insulin resistance and relieving stress
  • Ginger: anti-inflammatory properties and regulation of female hormones
  • Licorice root. lowers testosterone and cures addictions

Eat more fiber.

Fiber-rich foods like dark leafy greens, berries, whole grains, pumpkin, and beans are really helpful in managing PCOS symptoms. They help ease digestive problems, regulate hormonal imbalances, lower cholesterol, and maintain healthy insulin levels. This is especially good if you are a Cystic struggling with the insulin resistance of your PCOS.


Water is necessary for everything in our body. Without proper hydration, you can experience all kinds of negative symptoms, such as constant thirst, dry mouth, fatigue, dizziness, and lack of mental focus. When you replace sugary drinks like coffee and soda with water, you’re giving your body something it really needs.

When you’re properly hydrated, things run more smoothly. You will likely see improvements in digestion, acne, joint pain, energy, headaches, circulation and mental focus. Water can also help suppress your appetite, making weight loss much easier.

Increase magnesium intake.

Did you know that women with PCOS are almost 20 times more likely to be deficient in magnesium? That is the truth! When cysters get the right amount of magnesium, they can see improvements in inflammation, insulin resistance, menstrual cramps, stress management, and even sleep. You can find magnesium in our multivitamins linked HERE.

how to reverse pcos with diet tips

Reduce sodium intake.

Sodium is one of the culprits of high blood pressure and coronary heart disease, but most Americans eat far more than recommended by the Dietary Guidelines. Keep your sodium levels low by avoiding salty foods such as soups, deli meats, spicy appetizers, cheese, tacos, and bread.

Avoid processed sugar.

Refined sugars break down quickly, which means they don’t make you feel full no matter how much you eat. That extra glucose can raise your blood sugar levels, worsening symptoms of insulin resistance like weight gain, fatigue, a compromised immune system, and constant hunger. High fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, and molasses are just a few examples of refined sugars to avoid.

Reduce your alcohol and caffeine intake.

Both alcohol and excess caffeine can contribute to some of the symptoms of PCOS. This is because alcohol is full of carbohydrates, which raise blood sugar levels and disrupt sleep. In turn, too little sleep makes your insulin resistance worse. So, any excess of alcohol can aggravate your PCOS symptoms.

And as for caffeine, many cysts naturally have higher levels of stress hormones. Caffeine works by stimulating your nervous system to make you more alert. Your body does this by producing more cortisol (AKA the stress hormone). Cortisol, when balanced with melatonin, is helpful in keeping you calm but awake. However, when one or the other deviates, you become stressed and tired.

All this just means is that if you drink too much caffeine, your body is already overproducing cortisol, which makes you tired but stressed at the same time. Yes, caffeine can actually make you more tired. Consider cutting out caffeine and see if you notice a difference.

Eat protein and healthy fats.

Protein helps your body absorb sugars properly, which helps stabilize your blood sugar levels. You’re probably familiar with protein from meat, but make sure you’re getting plant-based protein in there too, like beans and lentils.

Healthy fats are anti-inflammatory foods that are so beneficial for women with PCOS. Many cysts have chronic, low-grade inflammation that leads to digestive problems, joint pain, weight gain, fatigue, food sensitivities, and more. However, healthy fats such as salmon, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and avocados can help reduce inflammation and improve these symptoms.

Eat your fruits and vegetables.

We all know that fruits and vegetables are good for everyone, but if you have PCOS, you may especially benefit from a daily portion of fruits and vegetables. Both are usually high in fiber, which makes you feel fuller longer and supports digestion, not to mention all the extra vitamins and minerals you get from a healthy serving of fruit or vegetables.

Make sure your meals are packed with intentional vegetables and fruits like broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, apples, pears, oranges and peaches. And remember, eating fruits and vegetables with the skin on will give you the most beneficial fiber.

Be intentional about your herbs and spices.

Herbs also have a number of health benefits. This is why herbal tea is so good for you. Each herb has been shown by various studies to have different healing properties. Everything from lowering cortisol and inflammation to balancing androgens and insulin sensitivity. You can see the full list of helpful herbs HERE, but some of them include cinnamon, turmeric, and ginseng.

how to reverse pcos with diet tips
Eating the right foods can help relieve your PCOS symptoms.

You don’t have to live with PCOS, you can treat your symptoms and lose weight naturally to feel like your destructive pre-pregnancy self again. Foods are so powerful. Make sure the foods you put in your body are helping you and not hurting you. Find more ways to relieve your symptoms HERE.

If you’re ready to take the plunge and start a PCOS friendly lifestyle, join The Cysterhood. We have hundreds of recipes, a delicious meal plan, PCOS-friendly exercises, and a community of women just like you who are taking control of their bodies and reversing their PCOS. I can’t wait to join you on your PCOS healing journey!

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