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5 Alternatives To Gluten If You Are On A PCOS-Managing Diet


Polycystic Ovarian Disease is an inflammatory condition that affects the ovaries and causes hormonal imbalance, acne, hirsutism and weight gain. Your diet and lifestyle are proven to play a key role in managing your PCOS, and that’s why we have for you some healthier alternatives to gluten, for people struggling with PCOS.

The Channel 46 talked to Nutritionist Surbhi Rathi, the founder of Fooducateme – A Nutrition Consulting Service, to share with us food items that people with PCOD can have as an alternative to Gluten!

5 Gluten-Free Alternatives


1. Brown Rice

Brown rice is not only an excellent alternative to gluten but also a great grain to include on your weight loss journey. Being high in fibre and protein, it provides satiety for longer than regular white rice. With its glycaemic index being 50, it is known to have a moderate effect on blood sugar levels. This is beneficial for women with insulin resistance which is usually seen in PCOD. Being rich in B-complex vitamins, lutein and carotenoids, it helps to regulate hormonal imbalances. 

Brown rice sushi would be an interesting recipe to try for all lovers of Asian cuisine. An ideal serving size would be 5 sushi served with some soy sauce, ginger and wasabi. 

2. Oats

Oats are a gluten-free cereal grain that is well known for beta-glucan, a type of soluble fibre that is known to have remarkable health benefits such as lowering bad cholesterol and lowering blood sugar levels. Beta glucan forms a gel-like substance in the gut thus providing satiety by slowing down digestion and stabilizing the blood sugar levels. 

Oatmeal made in plant-based milk is an excellent breakfast choice for women suffering from PCOD. Adding a handful of nuts and seeds to it will enhance its nutritional value further by adding more antioxidants and healthy fats to it. 

3. Quinoa

Quinoa is a versatile gluten-free grain that can be incorporated into various dishes such as salads, rice, buddha bowls and burgers to name a few. 100 gm of quinoa provides 13 gm of protein making it one of the very few plant foods containing all nine amino acids. The soluble fibre present in quinoa binds to the bile acids and reduces the amount of cholesterol being absorbed. The soluble and insoluble components in quinoa help to maintain a healthy gut microbiome that enhances mood, metabolism and immunity.

4. Amaranth

Amaranth is a great grain to incorporate nutrition into meals as it is rich in vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, folate, lysine, potassium and carotenoids. Another common symptom seen in women with PCOD is excessive hair fall. The lysine and iron content in amaranth work in combination to strengthen and improve hair health.

Amaranth roti is a popular dish in most households as a fasting food. 

5. Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds are one of the richest vegetarian sources of omega-3 fatty acids which helps to reduce inflammation. It can be used as a substitute for gums which is often used in gluten-free baking. 1 tablespoon of flaxseeds can be mixed with 2 tablespoons of hot water to form a slurry or flax egg. Flax can also be used as a substitute for flour for baking in complement to gluten-free flour.

A variety of smoothies, brownies, cakes and other bakery products can be prepared using flaxseeds as a gluten-free substitute. 

5 Tips To Maintain A PCOS Diet

Here are 5 general tips for a PCOS-managing diet:

1. Maintain A Routine

Eat regular meals and snacks throughout the day. This will help to keep your blood sugar levels stable and prevent spikes. Aim to eat every 3-4 hours.

Read an expert talk about how PCOS may be responsible for your low metabolism.

2. Complex Carbohydrates > Simple Carbohydrates

Go for complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, because they take longer to digest and absorb into the bloodstream. This helps to keep blood sugar levels steady. Simple carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, and sugary drinks, are more quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, which leads to spikes in blood sugar levels.

3. Have Protein And Fats

For a healthy PCOS diet, include lean protein at every meal. Protein helps to slow down digestion and keeps you feeling full. Good sources of lean protein include chicken, fish, beans, and tofu. Healthy fats, such as those found in avocados, nuts, and seeds, can help to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation.

4. Avoid Unhealthy Food

Limit processed foods, sugary drinks, and unhealthy fats. Processed foods, sugary drinks, and unhealthy fats are high in calories and low in nutrients. They can also worsen inflammation and insulin resistance. Limit caffeine and alcohol too, because they interfere with blood sugar control.

5. Fibre

Eat plenty of fibre. Fibre keeps you feeling full and can also help improve insulin sensitivity. Good sources of fibre include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

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