Updated: Feb 23
What can you do if you are suffering with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome? Well, it's all about your diet and getting your weight under control.
Many women simply get told by the doctor that their only option for treating Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is strong meds such as Roaccutane to control their acne, Metformin to control their blood sugar and weight, the contraceptive pill to regulate periods, and Clomiphene if they want to consider conceiving, most likely with the help of IVF.
But there is some much more effective and natural methods out there, without the need for a drugs... Read on to better understand how you can use the best diet and nutrition to manage your PCOS (and weight!).
1. Cut out all sugar, alcohol and caffeine which will all have a HUGE impact on your blood sugar levels.
(you will have heard me mention before that blood sugar imbalance is pretty much the single cause of all female hormone imbalance!)
These three ingredients will spike your blood sugar consistently. If you find you rely on them for energy, or during your period as comfort food, they are doing you more harm than good. The sugar spike gives you a short boost of energy, but then the energy crash that happens afterwards over time will make you feel even more lethargic. In addition, there is some research indicating the effects each may have on iron absorption and bone density, both risky areas for women.
2. Improve your livers' ability to detoxify excess hormones by increasing cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kale and rocket. It also helps to get plenty of antioxidant rich foods and drinks such as beetroot and loose leaf green tea.
Greens aren't the most appealing to some people, but be sure to use your favourite herbs and spices to make each serving more delicious - garlic, lemon and chili always make everything taste better.
3. Take steps to reduce your stress levels with breathing, yoga and meditation. High stress levels will cause havoc with your hormones, insulin and cortisol levels. It will also make you want to reach for those sugary snacks or coffees.
4. Exercise regularly to reduce blood sugar and manage weight. This does mean getting up your heart rate up at least 3 - 4 times a week. Exercise can be the hardest thing to do when you're cramping and tired, but it will do wonders. Even a brisk walk will help curb the sugar cravings, ease any period pain, bring down your cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and wake you up.
(FYI, your fat burning heart rate is about 70% of your max heart rate.)
5. Eat lots of fibre to help build a solid stool which will help the body to excrete excess hormones and prevent them from being recirculated in the blood. This includes all vegetables as well as rice, sweet potato, couscous, oats, seeds and beans.
6. Eat more phytoestrogens which help balance hormones. These are found in soy and some grains, including tofu, tempeh, ground flax and chick peas. Honestly, these are some of the best foods for PCOS and symptom management.
Soy in particular has received bad press in the media for containing oestrogen and the possible effect this may have on people susceptible to hormone imbalances. However, the type it contains - phytoestrogens - are the good guys.
7. Consider Agnus Castus, Chromium, B vitamins and Magnesium as PCOS supplements and herbs. Iron supplements may also be considered if you have low energy, deficient or suffering from anaemia.
(CAUTION: Do not just go out and buy supplements without speaking to a healthcare practitioner first. Taking the wrong combinations of herbs and supplements can be dangerous!)
If you're unsure if you have PCOS, read about some of the most common symptoms in my other blog post.
Confirming PCOS is usually diagnosed via an ultrasound and blood test by your GP.
Interested in learning more about how to naturally manage your hormones and symptoms? Book here for a free consultation on how I can help you with your PCOS today.
Registered Nutritional Therapist
Kelly is a Registered Nutritional Therapist who focuses on positive physical and mental wellbeing, achieved through diet, lifestyle, sleep and exercise. Having struggled for years with IBS and hormonal imbalance, and increasingly frustrated with the lack of support and helpful advice from her GP, Kelly began her own journey of healing the body from the inside out. After seeing huge improvements she quit her job to study nutrition and focus on harnessing the healing powers of food to help other people in similar situations.