Are Oats Good for PCOS?

Are Oats Good for PCOS?

Are Oats Good for PCOS?
by Tallene Posted March 15, 2024

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal condition among women of reproductive age. There are lots of natural ways Cysters living with PCOS reverse their symptoms and heal their bodies. One of the main ways they do that is through a balanced diet! 

However, when you start any diet, the question is: What can I eat and what can I not eat? With PCOS, this is delicate, because you’re not just trying to lose weight, but also feel better! You want symptom relief! So, you don’t want anything that’ll compromise your overall healing goals. 

The easiest way to know what to eat is to download The Cysterhood app for PCOS-friendly meal plans and recipes that are delicious and pack a bunch of health benefits. But, will you find oats in any of those recipes? That’s what I’m discussing today! I’m going to break down whether or not oats are healthy and then give you some tips for enjoying this timeless treat. 

Here’s what you need to know:

oat benefits for pcos

Are Oats Good for PCOS?

Yes, you can eat oats with PCOS. In fact, they’re great for you and your PCOS health goals! Though many think of oats as a carb, and therefore bad, oats are made of “complex carbs,” which are actually good for you. These complex carbs contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, plenty of vitamins and minerals, and lots of plant-based protein. All this means oats are a great addition to a balanced diet and can actually help relieve some PCOS symptoms! Moreover, incorporating oats into your meals can contribute to managing symptoms and promoting overall health for individuals with PCOS.

Here are some potential PCOS benefits of oats:

Lowers bad cholesterol. 

Oats are great for your lipid profile. The soluble fiber (beta glucan) and healthy fats inside binds cholesterol to your digestive tract to help trigger the liver to pull LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) from your bloodstream. This reduces the amount of bad cholesterol in your bloodstream! So, adding oats to your diet is a smart choice for Cysters who often experience elevated LDL cholesterol levels, which can increase the risk of heart disease.  

Reduces insulin resistance. 

You might be surprised to hear that research shows that oats can help lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity! The high fiber content is great for glucose and insulin responses. Insulin resistance is a root cause of many PCOS symptoms AND it contributes to hormone imbalance and inflammation (which also cause plenty of PCOS symptoms.) 

Improves gut health. 

Oats have ingredients that are great for regulating bacteria in the gut. The ingredients are prebiotics and antioxidants, which have positive effects on digestion as a whole! Additionally, these components can support gut health and promote overall digestive wellness. Moreover, if you’re thinking, “What does gut health have to do with my PCOS?” The answer is, a lot!

It’s a difficult cycle. Initially, food, insulin resistance, stress, and imbalances of bacteria in the gut lead to inflammation. Consequently, that inflammation overworks your adrenal system. Subsequently, those extra hormones from the overworked adrenals increase insulin levels and insulin resistance. That increase in insulin resistance then worsens inflammation and gut health further, restarting the whole cycle! 

Getting your gut health taken care of can help you see relief from headaches, joint pain, weight gain, fatigue, food sensitivities, digestive issues, and more! Additionally, addressing gut health may have positive effects on various aspects of your overall well-being. Here’s more on PCOS and gut health

Helps with weight loss. 

Honestly, the points I’ve made so far are all beneficial for weight loss! However, there are more ways oats can help with losing weight with PCOS. Fiber is a type of carb that is slowly digested, so it keeps you feeling fuller longer! This is great for weight loss, because it helps you curb cravings and avoid feeling hungry between meals! However, oats can really raise blood sugar if you don’t know how much or how to eat it. That’s why it’s so important to discover your personal carb tolerance range, which you can do in The Cysterhood App.

The importance of carb tolerance? It helps you navigate how many carbs you can eat in order to prevent cravings, reduce insulin resistance, all while staying full and satisfied with each meal! For example, 1/2 a cup of cooked oats is around 20g of carbs, which is a good amount for breakfast…so in order to get that, you would need to measure and cook 1/4 cup of dry oats. If your overall carb tolerance for the day is 90g, you have another 70g of carbs you can eat throughout your day!

Gets you more of your daily nutrients! 

Oats are just healthy! Moreover, they’re dense with vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function optimally. Furthermore, manganese, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, folate, thiamin, pantothenic acid, and more are all packed in, and each one of those is essential to support a Cyster’s body through her natural healing journey!

How To Eat Oats For PCOS

There are several ways to eat oats with your PCOS diet . . . and they’re all delicious! You can find over a dozen recipes that include oats on The Cysterhood app where I have PCOS-friendly meal plans, workouts, and resources to help you naturally reverse your symptoms and heal! 

But before we dive into recipe ideas, let’s talk about how to keep your blood sugar stable while eating oats! Oats can really raise blood sugar if you don’t know how much or how to eat it. This was me in college and struggling with PCOS. I read that oatmeal is good for you so I made myself a HUGE bowl (true story). And I had no idea about any of the tips I’m sharing here today… hence why it took me a while to manage PCOS!

But hopefully that’s not the case for you! You’ll see in each Cysterhood recipe that we follow small guidelines to ensure that you don’t eat a delicious breakfast followed by cravings or an energy crash. For example, you can always pair oats with nut butter! This is a healthy fat that prevents a blood sugar spike. Don’t drizzle honey on top of oats, because this is sugar. Another tip? Sprinkle in some collagen for protein, use cocoa nibs instead of chocolate chips, and use a dairy free milk like coconut or almond milk. And of course, discovering your carb tolerance as well.

Check out this Cyster who is part of our community and tried my lemon poppy seed overnight oats recipe:

jinnice testimony on her cysterhood recipe
Overnight Oats

So, is oatmeal good for PCOS? YES. Overnight oats is one of my favorite ways to eat oats! I LOVE this option, because you can make it the night before, and like Jinnice said, look forward to eating your healthy breakfast. It’s the easiest way to get a nutritious PCOS-friendly breakfast no matter how busy your mornings are. Below I’ll share a base overnight oats recipe, but you fan find more in The Cysterhood App, like these Chocolate Orange Overnight Oats!

Overnight Oats for PCOS
Cauliflower Oatmeal Bowls

If you like oatmeal, but have a lower carb tolerance and would rather avoid eating lots of carbs for breakfast, use half oats and half cauliflower. Riced cauliflower has similar benefits with lots of fiber, but doesn’t have carbs, so it’s a great companion to oats! Here’s more healthy PCOS-friendly breakfast recipes to save for later! 

Cookies and Desserts

Even if you’re on a PCOS diet, there is plenty of room for delicious treats and desserts! Oats can be used in lots of desserts to make them more filling and nutritious. Additionally, they add a wholesome texture and flavor to sweet treats, making them a versatile ingredient for healthier dessert options. On the app, I have a recipe for red velvet oatmeal bake and cranberry pecan oatmeal cookies! Both are super tasty and won’t compromise your health goals!

Desserts for PCOS

Instead of using almond flour as the starch for your pancakes, you can use oats! They are a healthier carb that’ll keep you feeling full and give you plenty of much-needed nutrients. Plus, incorporating oats into your diet can help support sustained energy levels throughout the day. If you need a recipe, download The Cysterhood app and check out my high-protein pancakes recipe!

Base Overnight Oat Recipe For PCOS

Base Overnight Oat Recipe For PCOS

  • 1 ⅓ C rolled oats or steel-cut oats, gluten free (I don’t recommend instant oats)
  • 2 scoops of gluten-free protein powder
  • 3 tsp xylitol
  • 1 C almond milk (or other dairy-free milk
  • 1 ¼ C dairy-free greek yogurt 
  • 1 TB of chia seeds 
  • Desired mix-ins and toppings:
    • Cinnamon 
    • Cocoa powder 
    • Cacao nibs
    • Almond butter or other nut butters
    • Peanut butter 
    • Vanilla
    • Honey
    • Maple syrup 
    • Raspberries
    • Strawberries
    • Apples
    • Pears 
    • Peaches 
    • Other fruits with a low glycemic index (GI)
    • Orange zest
    • Pumpkin and pumpkin spice 
    • Raisins or dried cranberries 
    • Lemon 
    • Unsweetened shredded coconut 
    • Nuts
    • Decaf instant coffee powder 
    • Matcha 
  • Add the oats, protein powder, and xylitol into a lidded jar or container and stir. 
  • Pour in almond milk, dairy-free yogurt, and chia seeds and stir. 
  • Mix in your toppings! (Except for fruit. Save those for the morning.) 
  • Refrigerate overnight. 
  • In the morning, stir and add more mix-ins or toppings if you like! If it’s too thick, add a little more almond milk and stir. Continue until it’s the desired consistency. 
  • Enjoy! 
Oats are PCOS-friendly, delicious, and super healthy! 

If you’re playing your PCOS meal plan for the week, consider adding an oat recipe to the list! Whether you want a hearty breakfast or a nutritious snack, oats are a great choice. They won’t compromise your health goals in fact, they’ll help you reach them!

For more on PCOS-dieting, check out the PCOS Weight Loss blog and the A Cyster and Her Mister podcast. Every week my husband Sirak (a PCOS personal trainer) and I dive into all things PCOS to help you reverse your condition and live symptom free!

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