The best natural remedies for PCOS
You or some of your female friends maybe having that irregular menstrual cycle or even a prolonged one!!
Waiting and planning events according to the so-called “periods” may be of no use to them as they might not get their menses on expected date. Yes, they might be suffering from hormonal imbalances or PCOS.
PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) is a hormonal disorder usually seen among females at their reproductive age. It is usually signalized as
- Infrequent or prolonged menstrual cycle- It can be less than 8-9 periods a year or abnormally heavy bleeding too!!
- Excessive production of male hormones (androgen) levels which exhibits symptoms like excess facial and body hair or even male pattern baldness
- Weight gain and difficulty to shed off those extra kilos.
However, it is not difficult to manage PCOS and ease your symptoms through few lifestyle changes and diet supplements. A nourishing and healthy diet can help regulate those hormonal imbalances and your menstrual cycle too
1. Prefer whole grains
Whole foods are loaded with fibre and as close to their natural and unprocessed state as possible.
They are free from artificial sugars, and preservatives thus helping your endocrine system regulate your blood sugar levels.
You can incorporate whole fruits, salads, whole grain cereals like wheat, bajra, jowar, Ragi
2. Look out for anti-inflammatory
According to Reproductive Health Research Centre, Tehran University of medical sciences, Iran, PCOS is described as a low-level chronic inflammation.
Thus adding anti-inflammatory foods in your diet can be of great help. Don’t hesitate adding colours to your plate.
Consider adding tomatoes, colorful bell peppers, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fatty fish to fight inflammation.
3. Limit the caffeine
Caffeine consumption is linked to changes in oestrogen levels. Instead of grabbing the cup of coffee, you can try reaching out on green tea and herbal teas.
Green tea improves insulin resistance and helps in weight loss too!!
4. Improve your iron and magnesium levels
Heavy bleeding during periods causes blood losses further adding up to iron deficiency anaemia.
So do not hesitate consulting a doctor before starting iron supplements.
Adding iron rich foods like dates, spinach, eggs, raisins, rajma, beetroot, pomegranates, jaggery can up your iron levels.
Also, almonds, spinach, cashew and bananas are all time PCOS friendly foods rich in magnesium.
5. Try increasing protein intake
Eating protein stimulates your body to produce insulin. On the other hand, unprocessed, high carbohydrate foods improve insulin sensitivity.
Try switching to plant based proteins like nuts, whole legumes and pulses, seeds.
Consuming Methi leaves and tulsi will help in maintaining insulin levels too, as PCOS patients usually have high insulin levels
6. Watch your Soy intake
Women with family history of oestrogen related cancers like breast cancer should stay away from excessive soy consumption.
Always consider a doctor or a dietician before adding soy to your meal plans. Adding too much soy in diet can also disrupt your endocrine system.
Popularly known for maintaining a healthy gut, probiotics also play a salient role in treating PCOS.
It has a wide contribution in regulating sex hormones like androgen and oestrogen and reducing inflammation too!!
Adding curd, buttermilk, bananas, onions or even taking probiotic supplements should be an everyday routine
8. Maintain a healthy weight
According to studies done by Department of gynaecology and obstetrics, Denmark, gradual and a healthy weight loss acts as a promising first line of treatment for PCOS.
Healthy weight reduces insulin resistance and regulates your menstrual cycle too thus keeping PCOS symptoms at a bay.
9. Move more
The more physically active you are, the more balanced weight you will sustain. Indulge into gentle and light exercises like yoga, light aerobics, swimming or regular walks.
Long distance running and other heavy exercises can also be performed for short intervals. Focus on lower abdomen exercises to shed down the belly fat.
10. Sound sleep
Early to bed and early to rise makes a person healthy, wealthy and wise. This popular proverb fits perfectly for the treatment of PCOS.
Sound sleep reduces stress, makes you refreshed and helps regulate cortisol to balance your hormones. Sleep for 7-8 hours a day.
Always remember, high carbohydrate foods, high sugars and fatty foods at bedtime disturbs sleep. So, its time to ditch those late-night waffles, ice-creams and cheese rolls (specially if you suffer from PCOS).
11. Remain stress free
Take time away far from the maddening crowd. The rut and the routine can do all the damage in PCOS patients.
Doing deep breathing, pranayama, meditation, spending quality time with friends and family and enjoying your life on a lighter note can be a great stress buster.
The take a way
PCOS is a world-wide complicated syndrome. There is not complete cure. But these above-mentioned lifestyle changes and conventional, alternative treatments can help manage symptoms.
Regular communication with doctors or dietician regarding lifestyle modifications should be done, to ensure that all the concerns and issues are addressed.
It is said that Prevention is better than cure. This is true for PCOS too!!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sneha Jain, Dietician
Sneha is a Post graduate with specialization in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a university topper and holds 5+ years of experience in Apollo hospitals, VLCC, slimsutra and first cry fit-kids . She has successfully counselled clients all over India for weight loss, weight gain, diabetes, hypertension, PCOD, hypothyroid, Pregnancy and lactation and growth charts for children. She has her own diet consultation e-clinic (diet_diariez)
She believes in customized diets and eating local and seasonal foods. Her counselling not only involves diet planning, but also lifestyle modification and stress relief strategies.