Natural Diet Solutions To Manage PCOS Symptoms
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a medical condition caused by an imbalance in the hormone (chemical messengers) in your ovaries and the brain.1 This happens when a hormone called Luteinizing Hormone (from the pituitary gland) or levels of the hormone Insulin (from the pancreas) are very high, which causes the ovaries to make higher-than-normal amounts of the male dominant hormone – Testosterone.
This hormone imbalance can cause hair growth on the body and face. Women with PCOS experience acne, weight gain, hair fall, have irregular periods and find it difficult to get pregnant. PCOS can cause chronic (long-term) health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.
Best Foods And Herbs For PCOS
While PCOS does require treatment from a certified doctor, there are a couple of things that you could do to manage PCOS.
- Make changes to the food you eat.
- Take herbs and supplements that may alleviate/reduce your PCOS symptoms
Foods that do not contain artificial sugar, preservative, artificial sweeteners, and are free from hormones are called whole foods. Vegetables, whole grains and fruits are whole foods that must be a part of your diet. Your body can better regulate your hormones with the reduced burden of working to eliminate toxic additives.
Foods that have a high-fibre content such as cauliflower, cabbages, broccoli, beans and lentils can help combat insulin resistance by increasing the time taken to digest food and thus reducing the impact of absorbed sugar on the blood.
Choose Complex Carbohydrates
Chapattis, brown rice and oatmeal are some complex carbohydrates that must be a part of your diet. Complex carbohydrates are foods that have carbohydrates and have high fibre content.
Paneer, chicken, fish and tofu (bean curd or also known as soya milk paneer) aren’t rich in fibre but they are high on nutritive value and make a healthy dietary choice for women with PCOS.
Foods To Avoid
- Do not eat refined foods such as white breads, sodas, pastries, and foods with added sugar.
- Avoid all processed foods.
2. Herbs and Supplements
Herbs and supplements alone can be of very little or of no help if they aren’t substituted for lifestyle and dietary changes. However, with lifestyle and dietary changes, herbs and supplements can help improve your overall health.
About 67-85% of women with PCOS are believed to have vitamin D deficiency. Low vitamin D can contribute to many PCOS symptoms such as obesity, insulin sensitivity, low luteinizing hormone (LH) levels, infertility and high triglycerides.
Supplementation with vitamin D can improve insulin sensitivity, increase weight loss success, slow ovarian cyst formation, help regulate periods, reduce inflammation, lower bad cholesterol, and reduce androgens (male dominant hormones) in the bloodstream.
Shatavari has plant-based estrogens that is beneficial for women with PCOS. It can help regularize the menstrual cycle and also helps reduce insulin levels as well.
Actually a mixture of three herbs— haritaki, amalaki, and bibhitaki—it helps women with PCOS by reducing inflammation and detoxifying the body.
Giloy reduces tissue inflammation. It also improves the body’s metabolism and lowers insulin resistance. Giloy is classified as a ‘Rasayana’ in Ayurveda. It is believed to have a rejuvenating effect on the mind and body.
Like Shatavari, fennel seeds too are rich in phytoestrogens. They not only help regularize the menstrual cycle, but are also very effective in providing relief from painful cramps during periods.
https://www.sciencealert.com/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-might-start-in-the-brain-not-the-ovaries (Referenced on 11 June 2018)
Salama AA, Amine EK, Salem HAE, Abd El Fattah NK. Anti-Inflammatory Dietary Combo in Overweight and Obese Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. North American Journal of Medical Sciences. 2015;7(7):310-316. doi:10.4103/1947-2714.161246.
Rebecca L. Thomson Simon Spedding Jonathan D. Buckley. Vitamin D in the aetiology and management of polycystic ovary syndrome. First published: 10 May 2012. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2265.2012.04434.x
S. Hahn, U. Haselhorst, S. Tan, B. Quadbeck, M. Schmidt, S. Roesler, R. Kimmig, K. Mann, O. E. Janssen. Low Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Concentrations are Associated with Insulin Resistance and Obesity in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/abstract/10.1055/s-2006-948308
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