8 Natural Ways You Can Manage Your PCOS
I know the frustrations you have with your PCOS because I've been there too. I know the conflicting information about what to do for PCOS can be confusing. But there is in fact natural ways you can treat your PCOS to reduce and reverse the symptoms of PCOS.
I feel so frustrated when my clients tell me they keep being told "just lose weight" or "just come back when you want to get pregnant". None of this is helpful, none of it addressing the symptoms you're currently experiencing, and none of it helps to reduce the long-term health risks of having PCOS.
Research shows a number of effective nutrition, supplementation and lifestyle strategies that are effective for managing and even reversing the symptoms of PCOS.
8 NATURAL WAYS YOU CAN TREAT YOUR PCOS
THIS ISN’T AN EXHAUSTIVE LIST AS THERE ARE A NUMBER OF OTHER TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR PCOS, DEPENDING ON YOUR UNDERLYING CAUSES.
1 | BALANCE BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS:
Managing blood sugar levels and insulin is key for hormonal balance and PCOS symptom reversal. Studies show that 70-80% of PCOS women have some level of blood sugar dysregulation and insulin resistance, which impacts ovulation and causes the ovaries to increase testosterone and androgen production. High androgens and testosterone cause PCOS symptoms such as irregular cycles, excess hair growth, thinning hair on the scalp, oily skin, acne and skin breakouts.
But even for women without insulin resistance, blood sugar balance is essential as it impacts the body’s stress response. This causes the adrenal glands to release cortisol (stress hormone) and DHEAs, another type of androgen that causes PCOS symptoms. In many PCOS women, the stress response stops ovulation and disrupts hormonal balance causing irregular and/or anovulatory cycles, fatigue, weight gain, difficulty sleeping, sugar and food cravings and more.
Macronutrient balanced meals are essential for blood sugar balance and energy. This means your meals should be balanced with the right ratios of protein, low GI carbs, fibre and healthy fats. Eating regularly spaced meals throughout the day and avoiding long periods of fasting or skipping meals (except overnight) also promotes blood sugar balance.
2 | INOSITOL:
Inositol is a B vitamin-like compound that can be supplemented as well as found in some foods like citrus, buckwheat, beans and brown rice. Studies have shown inositol can improve egg development and quality, ovulation, menstrual cycle regularity and insulin sensitivity in PCOS women. Studies used inositol in combination with other supplements, including folate. Inositol should be considered for PCOS women with irregular cycles, insulin resistance and when trying to conceive.*
3 | ZINC:
Zinc is important for hormone production, thyroid function, and has been found to lower the conversion of testosterone to DHT, which causes symptoms such as acne and skin breakouts, excess hair growth and thinning hair on the scalp. Zinc also helps with skin healing for those PCOS women with skin concerns. Zinc can be found in foods such as oysters, red meat, shellfish, pumpkin seeds, eggs and wholegrains.
4 | NAC (N-ACETYL CYSTEINE):
NAC is the supplemental form of the amino acid cysteine and it helps produce our powerful master antioxidant, glutathione. NAC has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation, lower testosterone, improve egg quality, improve ovulation and increase pregnancy rates in those with PCOS.* In this way, NAC can help improve menstrual cycle regularity and ovulation, help to heal the skin, reduce sugar and carb cravings, and be a consideration for those trying to conceive with PCOS.*
5 | ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS:
Inflammation is common in PCOS, particularly in those with insulin resistance, high testosterone, digestive symptoms such as bloating and food intolerances, acne or skin breakouts. Increasing your intake of anti-inflammatory foods may help reduce inflammation over time. Anti-inflammatory foods include oily fish (salmon, sardines, tuna), berries, dark leafy greens, green or matcha tea, turmeric, ginger, extra virgin olive oil and cinnamon.
6 | MAGNESIUM:
Magnesium plays a role in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body so it has widespread effects. It’s also a common mineral deficiency that PCOS women have. Magnesium helps to improve insulin sensitivity, carbohydrate metabolism, reduces stress, improves sleep, reduces fatigue, reduces anxiety and may relieve symptoms of PMS (such as pain, bloating, cramping, irritability, sugar cravings, mood changes leading up to your period). Magnesium is a key mineral for hormonal balance. Our soils are quite deficient in magnesium which means food may not provide adequate amounts. However, magnesium is highest in foods including dark leafy greens, dark chocolate, wholegrains, beans and legumes, pumpkin and chia seeds, quinoa and almonds.
7 | REGULAR EXERCISE:
Daily movement and regular exercise is key for PCOS women, but the right types and amounts are key for both hormonal balance and weight loss. Gentle exercise such as walking, pilates and yoga is great for reducing stress and promoting a healthy nervous system for hormonal balance. These types of gentle activities should be done regularly or everyday. Weight training improves insulin sensitivity and metabolism (by improving body composition - increased muscle mass and reduced fat mass) to help with weight management and hormonal balance. Cardio exercise can be good for improving fitness, however is best kept to shorter session. Long bouts of intense exercise (such as HIIT) or prolonged cardio (>45 mins) can increase too much stress on someone with PCOS.*
8 | VITAMIN D:
Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that is actually more like a hormone than a vitamin. It is a key nutrient for PCOS as it is needed for hormonal production, can help lower testosterone, improve the development of ovarian follicles to improve ovulation and menstrual cycle regularity, improve triglycerides, improve insulin resistance, help with mood and improve fertility. Vitamin D is best synthesised in your skin by daily sunlight exposure, however this is hard to do in Winter months or in the Southern Hemisphere, so testing your levels and supplementing should be considered.* Food sources don’t provide a lot of vitamin D but include oily fish, egg yolk, sunbaked mushrooms and cod liver oil. Your vitamin D levels should be well above deficient levels (<20ng/mL is considered deficient), with optimal levels around 80-100ng/mL.*
*This is NOT medical or treatment advice and is for information purposes only. Any supplementation or dietary and lifestyle changes should be discussed with a qualified healthcare practitioner.
HOW CAN A NUTRITIONIST HELP YOU ON YOUR PCOS JOURNEY?
Whilst there are a number of evidence-based treatment options for PCOS women, there is no one-size fits all solution.
That’s why I’m so dedicated to helping people with my unique approach with PCOS by addressing your underlying causes, guiding you to understand your unique body, establishing daily habits to eat for symptom reversal and balanced hormones without diets, and creating a supportive lifestyle to sustain long-term success so you can thrive!
If you're feeling uncertain and would like to learn more about how I can help you gain clarity and control of your PCOS with nutrition and lifestyle, book your complimentary wellness discovery call and let me answer your questions.
Ready for a holistic approach to your nutrition and lifestyle, to transform your health and life?
Discover how Tris can guide you on your journey through nutrition consultations and programs ...
5 Essential Steps to Naturally Balance Your Hormones
Learn the 5 key steps all females must do to restore hormone balance, nourish their body & feel their best, without overwhelm or restriction.
We will never share or spam your email.