To resolve PCOS naturally, you’ll have the best success
with a combination approach that helps restore hormonal balance naturally. This
path to wellness includes enriched nutrition, regular exercise, targeted nutritional
supplements, effective hormonal support, and attention to emotional health.
Women who use this method can often normalize insulin levels and regain their periods
and get back to their lives.
Dietary changes: the foundational factor for healing PCOS
A low glycemic-load diet is the most useful tool when you are using food to restore
healthy hormonal balance. This old standard is still the best way to be able to
rank foods and compose meals and snacks according to their potential to increase
your blood sugar and insulin levels.
These are the most important principles to consider when creating a diet to relieve
- Reduce your intake of simple carbohydrates and refined sugars.
This is absolutely crucial because these foods quickly exacerbate any preexisting
metabolic and hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS. By limiting or eliminating
simple carbohydrates (white breads, pasta, potatoes, high-fructose corn syrup, sugar,
and white flour) you can normalize the amount of sugar in your bloodstream.
For many women with PCOS, this single measure can restore regular menstrual cycles.
- Eat lower carbohydrate meals balanced with fiber and healthy
fats. The ideal amount of carbs depends on your body type and activity level.
Choose complex carbohydrates like root vegetables, legumes, fruits and whole grains.
Healthy fat choices include olive oil, nuts and avocado.
You’ll also need to keep eating lean proteins like beans, hummus, eggs, fish, chicken,
and vegetarian meat substitutes. Other key diet changes that support hormonal balance
include adding in leafy greens, vegetables like peppers and spinach, flax seeds,
a quality multivitamin-mineral supplement, and
omega-3 fatty acids.
Lifestyle changes make a difference for women with PCOS
With PCOS, little daily habits can add up to big trouble. That’s why a few small
shifts in lifestyle and diet can help you achieve healthy hormonal balance, and
put your PCOS in the past.
Concentrate your efforts on these goals:
- Clear detoxification pathways using food and physical activity.
For optimal, and natural, hormone production, metabolism, balancing and recycling,
avoid as many common endocrine-disrupting chemicals as possible. Start eating more
foods that are rich in phytonutrients like beans, broccoli, cabbage, collards and
kale. Consider trying a
good multivitamin-mineral complex to support the hormonal transformation
pathways in the liver. It’s important to find a type of exercise that makes you
sweat — one that you can commit to doing regularly. Sweating is an essential part
of your natural detox processes.
- Turn to natural hormonal support. Certain medicinal
herbs promote the innate healing mechanisms that work “upstream” to prevent potential
imbalances before they lead to symptoms. (Consider a
formula with chasteberry to help naturally balance your sex hormones.) Another
natural hormonal option, which you‘ll need to discuss with your practitioner, is
bioidentical natural progesterone. This can help offset a progesterone deficit and
counter the effects of estrogen and androgens to relieve many PCOS symptoms and
promote more predictable periods.
- Create a personalized low-glycemic load diet. Spend
some time tailoring the traditional
low-glycemic diet to fit your tastes. In terms of numbers, aim to limit
your carbohydrate intake to about 16 grams per meal, and 7 grams each for two snacks
a day. Again, you may need to adjust a bit here and there depending on your body
type. Just know that the more closely you stick to low-glycemic foods, the better
for improving your hormonal balance.
- Tend to your emotions. Emotional turmoil is one of
the less familiar symptoms of PCOS, and it’s often missed by practitioners. Let’s
face it — being told you have PCOS is stressful! But at the same time, stress reduction
is an important component when you need to reduce any form of insulin resistance.
Be proactive and seek out emotional support as you work to restore hormonal balance
and relieve insulin resistance. One of our favorite PCOS support sites is PCOS Diva because it focuses on healthy foods and offers
tips for good self care.
Remember, since your own PCOS picture may not look like anyone else’s, it’s good
to make a plan to see a healthcare professional to discuss your concerns. Make sure
you ask about all the effective, natural treatments available so you can find the
right combination of steps for your individual situation.
You can take action to heal PCOS — and the sooner you get started, the sooner you
will see a difference!
Berent-Spillson, A., et al. 2011. Insulin resistance influences central opioid activity
in polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertil. Steril. [Epub ahead of print.] URL (abstract):
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21486668 (accessed 04.27.2011).
References for key points:
1 Moran, L., & Teede, H. 2009.
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