Healthy hormones are made in the kitchen, and this is especially true if you have PCOS! A PCOS-friendly diet can be your key to better energy, weight loss, and getting acne under control–all of which are hallmark symptoms of PCOS.
Today you’ll learn which foods are best for PCOS, which you should avoid, the best diet for PCOS–and of course you’ll walk away with 6 easy, delicious recipes you’ll want to try as soon as you get into your kitchen!
The Best Diet for PCOS
The best diet to manage PCOS naturally is anti-inflammatory, contains plenty of nutrient-dense vegetables and fruit, and limits processed foods and commonly problematic foods like gluten, dairy, and excess sugar.
Because these foods tend to be common allergens and cause blood sugar dysregulation, those who have PCOS tend to experience reduced symptoms when they omit gluten, dairy, and sugary foods.
In addition, gluten and added sugar can exacerbate Candida overgrowth, a common secondary symptom of PCOS that often goes undetected for years, but that can cause symptoms like joint pain, brain fog, digestive upset, and even changes in mood.
Supporting the gut and getting rid of bacterial overgrowth is the foundation of healthy hormonal balance with PCOS.
Should You Go Keto for PCOS?
While going low carb/high fat can help some women lose weight, your hormones need carbohydrates to function properly, so cutting them too low can create problems for some women.
Does this mean you absolutely shouldn’t go keto while you have PCOS? Not necessarily–if you cycle out of ketosis regularly, and eat plenty of nutrient-dense, fiber-rich veggies as your sources of carbohydrates, you can use the keto diet safely to your advantage.
Learn more about the healthy way to go keto while protecting your hormones and thyroid function.
What Foods Should I Avoid if I Have PCOS?
Many women notice improvement in their PCOS symptoms when they omit processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and added sugars.
Since insulin dysregulation is at the center of PCOS, it stands to reason that dietary changes can have a big impact on your symptoms.
Many patients can effectively manage PCOS symptoms by focusing on a nutrient-dense, whole-foods diet with plenty of protein and healthy fats.
For 6 of the yummiest recipes that contain lots of veggies, healthy fats, and protein, browse the recipes below to start healing your PCOS naturally.
6 Best Recipes for PCOS
1. Broccoli Salad with Tahini Sauce
This nutrient-dense and fiber-rich salad is hearty enough to be a complete meal! Broccoli is rich in a compound called indole-3-carbinol which can help your body eliminate excess estrogen which can often occur with PCOS. Broccoli is also a great source of vitamins (like B6 and vitamin C) and magnesium.
6 cups broccoli (about 3-4 large broccoli crowns) finely chopped and blanched
½ cup minced red onion
1 chopped medium-sized cucumber
½ cup chopped parsley
2 Tbsp. hemp seeds
1 clove minced garlic
Juice from 1 large lemon
5 Tbsp. tahini paste
3 Tbsp. water
3 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
Prepare broccoli by finely chopping and blanching. Chop red onion, cucumber, and parsley.
Combine broccoli, red onion, cucumber, parsley, and hemp seeds in a large bowl.
In another bowl, combine lemon juice and tahini paste, and whisk with fork. Add the water in slowly as you mix. When combined, tahini mixture should coat the back of a spoon.
Mix in olive oil and garlic, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour dressing over top of broccoli mixture and mix well. Best served after resting in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour to let flavors combine.
2. Walnut Crusted Salmon with Honey & Rosemary
A great source of omega-3 fats and protein, salmon is one of the most beneficial anti-inflammatory foods. Walnuts also provide beneficial fats to support healthy hormone production.
Serve over a bed of greens or with your favorite sauteed veggies. Pairs well with asparagus or steamed broccoli.
2 salmon filets
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp honey
1 clove garlic, finely minced
¼ tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
⅓ cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp dried or fresh rosemary
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine mustard, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, rosemary, honey, and salt in a small bowl. Combine rosemary, walnuts in another small bowl.
Place salmon on the prepared baking sheet, skin side down. Spread the mustard mixture over the fish and sprinkle with the walnut mixture, pressing to adhere. Bake until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 8 to 12 minutes, depending on thickness.
3. One Pan Shrimp Fajitas
High in protein and a great source of zinc, shrimp could be your new go-to for an easy dinner that pleases the whole family. Zinc helps your body build progesterone, which is key in helping to manage PCOS symptoms, especially if you have estrogen dominance.
I like to serve these over steamed cauliflower rice to keep the overall carbohydrates low so it won’t spike blood sugar too much, or if I have them on hand, I’ll use a grain-free tortilla or wrap.
1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced in strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cored, and sliced in strips
½ large yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp plus ⅓ cup olive or avocado oil, divided
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp himlayan or sea salt
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp red chili flakes
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp cumin
1 lb raw shrimp, deveined and shelled
6 low carb wraps or tortillas
Sour cream or Greek yogurt for serving
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lay sheet pan next to your workspace. In a large bowl, toss onions and peppers in 2 teaspoons of oil until coated, then scatter in single later on baking sheet. Place in oven to roast for 10 minutes.
Juice 1 and ½ of the limes into a blender. Slice the remaining half lime into wedges to use for serving.
Add garlic and remaining oil to blender. Then add salt and spices. Pulse once to combine. In large ziplock back or medium bowl, pour mixture over shrimp and marinate for 15 minutes.
When peppers and onions are finished roasting, remove shrimp from marinade and space evenly on the baking sheet.
Roast the shrimp and veggies for 8 more minutes, or until shrimp are pink.
Serve over cauliflower rice, with a low-carb tortilla (Siete makes my favorite!)
Add Greek yogurt, lime wedges, extra cilantro, or hot sauce!
4. Hormone Balancing Berry Power Smoothie
Packed full of antioxidants and micronutrients, a smoothie is my favorite way to get a couple servings of veggies in before I even start my busy day. Leafy greens and berries provide antioxidant protection, while ground flax seeds promote healthy estrogen metabolism.
Don’t forget your favorite collagen powder, as these amino acids provide support for your skin and a healthy gut.
1 cup non-dairy milk (coconut, almont, or cashew are my favorite)
1 cup of dark leafy greens
½ cup frozen berries
½ banana or avocado (if you like extra creamy smoothies–freeze first!)
1 scoop collagen powder
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
Optional: nut butter for added protein, dark chocolate chips for sweetness, or vanilla extract and cinnamon
Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.
5. Instant Pot Honey Mustard Chicken
When you’re craving comfort food, but don’t want to undo all your progress, this honey mustard chicken will hit the spot. And the Instant Pot makes short work of dinner prep.! Your whole family will love this yummy, high-protein meal.
I like to serve this with a baked sweet potato or whatever roasted veggies I have in the fridge. This is a great way to use up extra produce before it goes bad!
1/2 cup honey
1 cup water
1/2 cup yellow mustard (add spicy or brown mustard if you like it hot)
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon paprika
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
4 6-8 ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts thawed or frozen
1 teaspoon cornstarch or tapioca starch, plus cold water
Add the honey and water to the pot. Choose the saute setting, and stir the mixture until the honey is dissolved. Then, add your garlic and spices and stir to combine.
Set the steam rack inside and place your chicken breasts on top of it. Coat with the honey mustard sauce. Once coated, close the lid and set the pot to pressure cook on high pressure for 8 minutes for an averaged sized chicken breast (if using frozen, set cook time to 12 minutes).
When it beeps to let you know the cook time has finished, carefully release the pressure by pressing the release valve.
Finally, remove the lid then remove the chicken and set aside on a plate.
To make the sauce, mix 1 teaspoon of tapioca starch or cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Add it to the honey mustard sauce in the instant pot and turn on saute. Bring the sauce to a boil and thicken for 2-3 minutes. When it’s thick, add your chicken back to the pot and coat chicken liberally with sauce.
6. Simple Coconut Macaroons (Candida Diet Friendly!)
When your sweet tooth strikes, it’s hard to find PCOS-friendly desserts without a ton of added sugar. These 4-ingredient coconut macaroons are low in sugar, and coconut has been shown to support healthy bacterial balance in the gut.
Plus, coconut is loaded with healthy fats and fiber to not only satisfy your sweet tooth, but your appetite too.
5 egg whites
¼ teaspoon himalayan or sea salt
⅓ cup honey or liquid monk fruit sweetener
1 tablespoon almond extract (can substitute vanilla)
3 cups shredded, unsweetened coconut
Add egg whites and salt to a large bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until stiff and soft peaks form. Fold in honey, almond extract, and coconut. With a spoon, scoop out 1 tablespoon portions and drop on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned.
Heal PCOS Naturally with Eastern Medicine
Managing PCOS symptoms is possible with diet and lifestyle changes. For many who experience PCOS symptoms, the most beneficial and long-lasting relief comes from finding the right foods, exercise, and leveraging the right supplements for their individual chemistry.
Food is one of your most powerful tools to increase energy, balance hormones, and support your fertility with PCOS, and these recipes are a great start to finding out which foods best align with your individual lifestyle
Want more diet, lifestyle, and supplement recommendations to heal your PCOS naturally? Download the PCOS Guide!