Is corn good for PCOS? With all the conflicting PCOS nutrition information out there, this is a common question I’m asked as a registered dietitian.
The short answer: yes, corn is a great food choice for PCOS! Similar to other carbohydrate foods though, you’ll want to incorporate it into your diet in a smart way.
This blog post will dive into the benefits of corn for PCOS, how to include it as part of a PCOS-friendly diet, and I’ll also address some of your top questions about corn for PCOS.
Best PCOS Diet
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disorder that affects up to 6-12% of women of reproductive age in the United States. Despite how prevalent this condition is, there is not one best diet or eating pattern that has been established.
You can read about my thoughts on Intermittent Fasting for PCOS here.
PCOS is associated with insulin resistance, chronic inflammation, and high levels of androgens (aka male hormones such as DHEA-S or testosterone levels). This leads to some of those common symptoms of PCOS such as irregular periods, weight gain, cravings, fatigue, hair loss, and hirsutism (aka unwanted hair growth).
Unfortunately, PCOS puts you at higher risk of developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and metabolic syndrome.
A balanced diet that aims to keep blood sugar and insulin levels balanced and include anti-inflammatory foods can reduce your risk factors and your PCOS symptoms. Along with lifestyle changes, this will ultimately reduce insulin resistance and inflammation, leading to improved hormone levels and quality of life.
For more guidance on a PCOS friendly diet, be sure to check this out: A Dietitian’s 7-Day PCOS Diet Plan (PDF Included).
Now, let’s dive into some of the health benefits of corn for PCOS.
Is Corn Good For PCOS?
Corn is one of the starchy vegetables, along with others like potatoes, butternut squash, and peas. These types of vegetables are higher in carbohydrates than some of the other vegetables such as broccoli, zucchini, or tomatoes.
Corn has an impressive nutritional profile. One cup of sweet corn, or 1 large ear of corn, has 125 calories, 27 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein (1).
The types of carbs in corn are complex carbohydrates, meaning corn is a good source of fiber and starch. These types of carbs keep blood sugar levels more stable and are better choices than simple carbohydrates and other sugary foods.
Corn also has some important nutrients for PCOS, such as magnesium, potassium, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin B 3 and vitamin B 6.
While no singular food has the ability to improve or worsen your PCOS symptoms, when corn is included as part of a healthy diet, it can benefit your PCOS.
So, the question: is corn good for PCOS? The answer: yes! Corn can help to:
- lower inflammation
- balance blood sugar levels
- reduce insulin levels
- reduce cravings
- decrease androgens
- improve gut health
- regulate menstrual cycles
- improve egg quality
Let’s talk more about these benefits in detail!
Corn has several antioxidants such as vitamin C, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and quercetin. These antioxidants can lower your inflammation levels, which is a huge benefit since chronic inflammation is a key contributor to PCOS.
Balance Blood Sugar Levels
Corn is a good source of fiber and has a low glycemic index. In other words, corn can help your blood sugar to rise slowly, which is ideal for those with insulin resistance.
Additionally, one cup of corn provides 17% of your daily recommended magnesium intake. Higher magnesium intake can significantly improve insulin sensitivity (2).
To learn more about magnesium benefits for PCOS, check this blog post out: Best Magnesium For PCOS: Benefits, Best Form, & Brands.
Nobody likes to feel hungry, especially right after eating. The fiber found in corn can help to curb cravings, especially carb cravings. This can keep you feeling more full and less snacky as the day goes on.
Regulate Menstrual Cycles
Irregular menstrual cycles are a very common symptom of PCOS. Corn provides you with 10% of your daily needs for vitamin B6. This nutrient can increase progesterone levels, improve hormone balance, and help to shorten up your cycles.
Improve Egg Quality
Inflammation and high blood sugar levels can damage egg quality, which is not ideal if you’re trying to conceive now or in the future. The good news is that your diet can drastically improve egg quality (and sperm quality for men!). Nutrients found in corn, like vitamin C, vitamin B6, and zinc, can improve egg quality and lead to better pregnancy outcomes.
If improving your fertility is one of your goals, don’t miss this one: PCOS Diet Plan To Get Pregnant (Free PDF & Recipes)
If you’re experiencing some of the common outward PCOS symptoms like hair loss, excessive facial & body hair growth, or acne, you probably have high androgen levels.
One recent study found that those who had a higher intake of certain nutrients such as vitamins B3 and B6, vitamin C, and iron had lower androgen levels (3). Another nutrient that has been shown to reduce androgens is zinc.
One cup of corn is a good source of these nutrients.
Improve Gut Health
Digestive issues like bloating, diarrhea, and constipation are common in PCOS. Corn provides resistant starch to your diet, which can feed the good bacteria in your digestive tract. Cooking and cooling corn can increase the amount of resistant starch even more. This is especially important since women with PCOS tend to have less diverse gut microbiomes, which can worsen symptoms and overall health (4, 5).
Now that we’ve talked about the benefits of corn for PCOS, let’s talk about how to actually include it in your PCOS friendly diet.
How To Include Corn in your PCOS Diet
Corn is full of great nutrients that can improve PCOS. But if you just eat corn by itself, it may not be as beneficial as you’d like it to be. To get the full benefits of corn and also keep your blood sugar levels the most balanced, pair corn with other nutritious foods, like a source of protein and healthy fats.
Some lean protein examples are poultry, lean red meat, seafood, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, tofu, and tempeh.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is popcorn good for PCOS?
Popcorn is a great snack for PCOS! It’s a good source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, zinc, and magnesium. These nutrients can manage PCOS symptoms. Mix some pumpkin seeds in for some monounsaturated fats and to make it a balanced snack.
Are corn flakes good for pcos?
Yes, corn flakes are a good choice for PCOS but you may want to change how you incorporate them into your PCOS friendly diet. Corn flakes and other cereals with added sugar are usually high glycemic index foods since they’re mainly carbs without a lot of fiber.
It’s going to be hard to feel full by eating just corn flakes. Most people usually need to eat double or triple the serving size to feel full. I’d recommend including corn flakes with other nutrients like fiber, protein and fat to get more nutrition and benefits. One example would be to add corn flakes on top of Greek yogurt, berries, and chia seeds.
The Bottom Line
Corn is a great food choice for PCOS. It’s a good source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, and essential nutrients. Corn has mainly health benefits for PCOS. It can lower inflammation, insulin resistance, androgen levels, and cravings. It can also improve gut health, menstrual cycles, and egg quality.
Enjoy corn with a source of protein and fat to maximize the benefits.
Disclaimer: This is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute or replace professional medical advice for the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome or any other medical condition. Always consult with your healthcare provider for individualized recommendations regarding dietary changes.