Polycystic ovary syndrome, also called PCOS, affects 1 out of every 5 women in India. It is a reality that must be accepted with a pinch of salt. In women of reproductive age, it is one of the most common endocrine complications that leads to hormonal imbalance. The condition is not really a disease, but rather a medical condition. PCOS can be managed with lifestyle changes that include clean, plant-based nutrition and holistic living.
PCOS: What causes it?
The main reason PCOS syndrome is not considered a disease is that it is only a cluster of symptoms that can occur due to hormonal imbalances in the body. There is no known cause for PCOS; however, medical professionals across the globe cite genetics and environmental factors as the main contributing factors. Women usually have a small amount of male sex hormones, such as androgens, in their bodies. However, in this condition, large amounts of male sex hormones are produced by the ovaries.
The disease manifests multiple symptoms like a large number of cysts in the ovaries, excessive hair growth, acne, obesity and disrupted menstrual cycles, among others. Occasionally, ovulation can even stop completely. Such extreme situations make childbirth very unlikely. The body can create insulin, but it isn’t able to use it effectively, resulting in insulin resistance. Long-term, this can lead to type-2 diabetes. However, PCOS symptoms can be controlled quite well. To start, you should switch to a clean, plant-based, and healthy diet as soon as possible.
The following 6 dietary and lifestyle changes can help you deal with symptoms of PCOS naturally:
- Grain and whole-food: Choose foods that digest slowly to decrease your insulin levels. Whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and oats are a good choice. Consume plenty of legumes, pulses, nuts, seeds, and raw fruits.
- High protein intake: Weight loss is attributed to protein. You can control your weight and fuel your body with energy and strength by adding clean protein to your diet. Protein should be consumed by a healthy adult in amounts of at least 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. If you weigh 60 kgs, you should consume at least 0.8 x 60 = 48 grams of protein per day.
- Berry and greens: Fresh fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals, so they make a great addition to your diet. Numerous studies have shown that women with PCOS have vitamin B deficiency. Kale and spinach contain high levels of vitamin B, which can be greatly beneficial to your health. You should also include raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries in your PCOS diet.
- Herbs and herbal extracts: Our ancestors used herbs like Ashoka and Shatavari for treating PCOS. In women with PCOS, Shatavari helps to maintain hormonal balance, while Ashoka facilitates estrogen production and is beneficial to skin health.
- Anti-inflammatory foods: Healthy fats like olive oil can be consumed to combat PCOS-induced inflammation. The inflammatory effects of highly processed foods and sugary drinks can be further aggravated by them.
- Holistic and clean living: It is extremely important to follow a lifestyle that puts human health and mental well-being first. Additionally, ensure you do some type of physical activity for at least 30 minutes per day while eating clean, plant-based foods. Exercise, such as running, yoga, or any other form of exercise, can help lower insulin levels in the body. Stress management techniques such as pranayama and meditation can be helpful in reducing stress levels.