When it comes to reversing polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) naturally, we believe that “Food is Medicine”. Eating the right nourishing foods allows your body to heal from within to balance hormones and combat the many challenging symptoms of PCOS. However, the ONE key link between all these disturbing symptoms of PCOS is chronic low-grade systemic inflammation. Low-grade inflammation and PCOS go hand in hand, which is why you may be suffering from cystic acne, PMS, headaches and bloating.
With that in mind, it’s extremely crucial to eliminate all inflammation-causing foods from your diet….and that means removing all seed oils from your kitchen and pantry. Seed oils include vegetable oil, soybean oil, canola oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, and all other oils that come from seeds or nuts. Seed oils are used mostly in processed foods as well as by restaurants because they are cheap. Also, they don’t have a unique flavor, which makes them easy to cook with without a distinct taste.
The Top 12 Oils To Avoid For PCOS
Not all seed based oils are bad. In fact, we encourage you to use coconut oil and extra-virgin olive oil. The ones we want to avoid are those with a high Omega-6 content, like:
- Soybean Oil
- Sunflower Oil
- Safflower Oil
- Canola Oil
- Peanut Oil
- Corn Oil
- Cottonseed Oil
- Rice Bran Oil
- Rapeseed Oil
- Vegetable Shortening
- Any ‘fake’ or low-fat Butter
Why Should You Avoid All Seed Oils For PCOS?
Seed oils are extremely unhealthy for PCOS because they are composed primarily of Omega 6 fatty acids, which contribute to inflammation. Inflammation is one of the primary causes of insulin resistance, weight gain, hormone imbalance, and PCOS.
The process of extracting oil from seeds and vegetables uses a variety of toxic chemicals, including hexane. But the main problem with these oils is that they are very high in Omega -6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Now don’t be fooled by the fact that both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are called essential fatty acids. Yup, we do need some amount of Omega 6 fatty acids in our diet, but when we consume seed oils, we often get TOO MUCH Omega 6 fats.
The ideal ratio of Omega 3: Omega 6 should be 1:1, but when this ratio shifts too high in favor of Omega 6 fats, it can be disastrous for health. High intake of Omega 6 fatty acids encourage inflammation, and increases the risk to chronic diseases.
This chronic low-grade inflammation promotes unhealthy weight gain, especially around the abdomen. It also affects insulin function, cognitive processing, memory function, and mood. What’s worse, this chronic inflammation will also increase your risk for cardiovascular disease. And all of these are spell disaster for a woman with PCOS.
The Problems With Hydrogenated Oils For PCOS
Liquid vegetable and seed oils undergo a process called hydrogenation, which turns them into solid fat. This increases their shelf life and makes them easier to use. In partial hydrogenation, these fats stay semi-solid at room temperature, while fully hydrogenated fats become solid at room temperature.
Partially hydrogenated oils are particularly bad for your PCOS, because they also contain trans-fats. Fully hydrogenated oils don’t contain trans fats but are unhealthy Omega-6 rich saturated fats….also not good for your heart health. We don’t think all saturated fats are bad for you… in fact some are downright a must-add to your PCOS diet. But these hydrogenated saturated fats should be eliminated from your PCOD diet.
Hydrogenated oils have a long shelf life because the process of hydrogenation neutralizes all enzymatic activity in the oil. This is why foods containing hydrogenated oils don’t spoil easily. However, think of these hydrogenated oils as only one molecule away from plastic — that is how toxic they really are. These enzyme-dead oils make your body use up more food enzymes during digestion, exerting extra-stress on the digestive system. The result is chronic inflammation, leaky gut, insulin dysfunction and a decreased immune function, to name a few.
Many so-called ‘health’ foods contain these fully hydrogenated oils. Most processed and packaged foods may even contain a blend of liquid vegetable or seed oil with fully hydrogenated oils in products like salad dressings, mayonnaise, and sandwich spreads because then they can be labelled as “zero trans-fat”. Sadly, this process doesn’t make the oil any healthier for consumption, particularly when you have PCOS. This is why it’s very important to avoid all baked, processed, packaged and refined foods when you’re on a PCOS diet.
We highly recommend you avoid ALL hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated oils. When cooking, the best oils for PCOS are cold-pressed oils that do not undergo cheap heat or chemical extraction methods. Cold-pressed oils retain their nutrition, enzymes, and antioxidants, making them good for your health. They may be slightly more expensive, but they’re worth that extra cost.
What Oils To Use For PCOS?
Now that we have eliminated the bad oils, let’s talk about what oils you should use in your kitchen. Here is a look at our favorites:
- High- quality Saturated Fats – from sources like grass-fed butter, coconut oil, ghee, and animal fats cooked with meat. We recommend 6 tablespoons per day.
- High- quality Monounsaturated Fats – from sources like sesame oil and olive oil. Always choose cold pressed oils; never opt for cheaper heat or chemical extracted oils. We recommend 4 tablespoons per day.
- High-quality Polyunsaturated Fats – from sources like cod liver oil, flaxseed oil, and evening primrose. We recommend 1 tablespoon per day.
A good PCOS diet focuses more on getting enough Omega 3 fatty acids into your diet. You can find plenty of high-quality fats in nature. Avocados and nuts are great sources of monounsaturated fats. Sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, walnuts and fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, albacore tuna, and trout are other good sources of Omega-3 rich Polyunsaturated fats.