Insulin – a hormone made by the pancreas – is supposed to take glucose (i.e.) sugar from the blood to the cells to be used as energy. When the cells become insulin resistant, glucose can not be used. To help compensate for the lack of energy, the pancreas produces even more insulin. High insulin levels favour weight gain and an increase in testosterone production, which can lead to irregular periods, acne, and more body hair.
Moreover, an increase of glucose in the blood is a prerequisite for type 2 diabetes.
To help get blood glucose levels in line, your diet plays a key role; it is time to consider the glycemic index (GI).
“GI is a measure of how quickly the carbohydrate and sugar contained in food is broken down and absorbed into the blood,” the Trust explained.
“Some foods produce a quick, high rise in blood sugars; these have a high GI. Those that produce a slower, smaller rise have a lower GI.”
While following a “healthy, balanced diet”, consuming foods with a low or intermediate GI range can help to reduce blood glucose levels”.
Included in your healthy diet is servings of fruit, but some fruits are better than others when it comes to blood glucose levels.
Low-GI fruits that are helpful include:
- Dried apricots
Meanwhile, one high GI fruit is watermelon; intermediate GI fruits include: bananas and melon.
Taking the GI into account, your dietary choices around vegetables could also be influenced.
For example, most vegetables have a low GI but parsnips and swede do not.
Basing your whole diet on whether foods have a low or high GI is not as straightforward as one might think.
The Trust explained: “It is important to remember that some of the low GI foods have a high fat content, such as full-cream milk.
“Higher-fibre sources include wholemeal and granary bread, fruit and vegetables, brown rice, brown pasta and potato skins.”
The NHS Trust encourages women with PCOS to aim for at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
Equally important, variety is key when it comes to eating fruits and vegetables.
Eating a varied diet will help your body to obtain different minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.