PCOS affects approximately 5 million women every single year, and many women have no idea how to go about fighting PCOS without medication. PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a hormonal disorder that is caused by an imbalance of estrogen and androgens in the body. For this reason, a female may not have a normal menstrual cycle, impairing her to have children, and she will also struggle with weight gain, acne, and even hair growth abnormalities. There are medications that can help fight PCOS, but in regards to a more natural approach, certain dietary choices to fighting PCOS may be all a woman needs to manage her condition without prescription drugs. These same certain healthy dietary approaches for fighting PCOS can even ward off the condition permanently as well. By eating to control hormonal imbalances, and for optimizing female hormone production, while inhibiting too many androgens in the body, women can often find relief from PCOS quickly, all by what they eat, and what they don’t.
1. Avoid Sugar
Sugar is one of the most detrimental foods any of us can ea, and one of the first steps for fighting PCOS is to get rid of it in your diet however possible. Sugar causes hormonal swings. Too much insulin causes an excess output of androgen, which leads to the imbalance leading to PCOS. Eating sugar might make you feel good temporarily, but often soon after, you feel horrible, needing more sugar to cope. This leads to a vicious cycle that taxes the hormones in every single part of your body, including your ovaries. The dietary choice to eliminate sugar can completely take away every single PCOS symptom you ever have.
2. Eliminate Refined Grains
For the same reason you should eliminate sugar in your diet, refined grains or products made from refined grains should also all be eliminated. This includes anything made with enriched wheat or other refined grains. Unless the product is a 100% whole grain product, you should avoid it. It may also help to reduce wheat in the diet, since it can also lead to glycemic issues and strong food cravings for sugar. Stick with oats, quinoa, and wild rice for the absolute best choices for whole grains. Brown rice is also good, as is buckwheat, amaranth, and millet. Eliminating refined grains helps reduce the rate at which insulin enters and exits the cells, which slows down your blood sugar, and helps balance out your hormones.
3. Increase High Quality Protein
Protein is one of the most misunderstood nutrients in the human diet today, even more so than fat surprisingly. When it comes to PCOS, however, protein is essential, if not preventative all the way around. The quality of protein does matter, however. In terms of managing PCOS, it is important to choose high quality proteins whenever possible. Protein helps balance out your hormones, slow down insulin, and also improve your overall hormonal production system. Be sure to choose hormone-free choices when it comes to animal protein. Animal protein is often better for some women with PCOS since it is easily digested, with the best choices being wild fish, and organic, pastured eggs. Be sure to select proteins with all essential amino acids. Amino acid optimization is important to prevent hormonal swings that lead to imbalances that cause PCOS. It can also combat sugar cravings, fatigue, and even weight gain influenced by PCOS.
4. Eliminate Fried Foods
Fried foods should be something everyone should avoid, but especially people with PCOS. The type of fats that form in fried foods, such as trans fats and rancid fats, cause an imbalance of insulin in the body in the same way as sugar. It is also one of the worst foods to predispose the body to prediabetes and diabetes, conditions often coexisting alongside PCOS.
5. Eliminate Alcohol
Alcohol is something most women should avoid when it comes to hormonal balance, but especially those with PCOS. Alcohol causes hormonal swings that can influence the way androgens and estrogens are produced in the body. It can also cause an increase risk for stroke, diabetes, and heart disease, along with weight gain.
6. Healthy Fats
Healthy fats should not be feared, especially when it comes to healthy hormones. Healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocados, fish, coconut, and even dark chocolate can all be lifesavers to someone overcoming sugar addictions. Healthy fats help fuel the metabolism, increase heart health, and satiate the appetite longer, which slows down blood sugar and increases metabolism.
Fiber is essential to a woman with PCOS. Fiber slows down the rate at which food is digested, which helps slow down blood sugar levels, which optimizes insulin production. As you can see, lowering insulin is the key to preventing excess androgen in the body that leads to PCOS. You don’t want to eliminate insulin, since it is a necessary hormone, but you do want to slow its transit time, which is just what fiber does. Fiber can also ward off sugar cravings, mood swings, and let’s be honest - it keeps you regular and we all know that makes us feel better! The easiest to digest sources are winter squash, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, quinoa, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin, rice, bananas, papaya, spinach, carrots, and oranges. All sources of fruits and vegetables, along with 100% whole grains are excellent choices though.
You should also be sure to exercise regularly if you have PCOS. Exercise helps combat low insulin in the body and can even improve insulin levels on a regular basis all the time. Exercise also improves hormonal balance, improves blood flow, and can reduce weight gain associated with PCOS. Be sure you stop smoking if you do, and see your doctor to discuss further options. Though birth control and medications are available, I’ve seen huge improvements in women I have counseled with PCOS, just with dietary changes alone, along with for myself. For more information on PCOS and diet, along with symptoms and predispositions, you can check out the helpful women’s health link below. Do you have PCOS? Know someone who does? Have a PCOS tip to share?