Every day food ingredients from the kitchen are home remedies for several conditions. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) being a condition with varied symptoms from person to person, natural home remedies can provide symptomatic relief. Irregular periods, excessive facial or body hair, hair loss, acne, weight gain, feeling sluggish and mood swings are the many common symptoms of PCOS that controlled through lifestyle changes. While diet and exercise are still the frontline measures to manage PCOS, natural kitchen remedies can be considered for relief from unwanted, inconvenient symptoms of PCOS.
Food nutrients that are known to have a beneficial impact on relieving symptoms of PCOS are:
Inositol – a B vitamin that can enhance insulin response & promote ovulation to regulate menstrual cycles. Citrus fruits other than lemon, wheat bran, brown rice, corn and sesame seeds are some kitchen ingredients that contain Inositol.
Vitamin D and Calcium – high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency has been found to be associated with metabolic disturbances in PCOS. Milk, eggs and certain fishes such as salmons are good sources of calcium and vitamin D.
Chromium – helps balance insulin levels in the body, thus correcting sugar metabolism in the body. A high amount of chromium is found in vegetables like broccoli, potatoes & green beans and fruits like apple, banana & grapes.
Zinc – enhances fertility and strengthens the immune system. Unnecessary or undesired hair growth can also be cured with regular intake of foods rich in zinc. Zinc consumption can be increased by eating more legumes, nuts, whole grains & meat.
Probiotics – are useful in managing weight gain in PCOS. They can also decrease pain associated with menstruation. Best sources of probiotics are fermented foods such as traditional buttermilk, yogurt and kanji.
Fenugreek – Consuming fenugreek leaves or seeds is an age old practise to help maintain normal insulin levels. Fenugreek improves glucose tolerance in the body and also helps in weight loss. Fenugreek seeds soaked overnight can be had thrice a day — on an empty stomach. Micro-greens and leaves of fenugreek are equally good to control insulin levels.
Cinnamon – This bark has the ability to stabilize blood sugar level and reduce the insulin resistance. There are studies that support that this spice increases chances of conceiving. Cinnamon can be consumed with milkshakes or yogurt, bake them into cakes and muffins or just sprinkle them over a cup of tea.
Flax seeds – Is a protein that reduces the quantity of available testosterones in PCOS. These seeds are very good source of fiber, omega-3, omega-6 fatty acids and lignans that help reduce the symptoms of Acne and hair loss. Flax seeds also help in utilizing the glucose and insulin in the body, cancelling out most of the side effects of PCOS. The seeds can either be powdered and added to everyday foods such as Indian flat breads, porridge or even mixed with soup or juices. It can also be consumed by simply adding them to drinking water every day.
Indian Basil – This herb can control androgens and moderate insulin levels. It is also an excellent antioxidant. These properties can reduce excessive facial hair growth, acne and also help conceiving.. Chewing at least 10 leaves early in the morning on an empty stomach or Consuming the water boiled with basil leaves on a regular basis can be highly beneficial.
Honey – Has the ability to feel full and reduce hunger pangs. Obesity and PCOS are by-products of each other. PCOS mess up hormones in the body, and this leads to obesity. One tbsp of honey with lemon and lukewarm water had on an empty stomach early in the morning aids in losing weight.
Bitter gourd and Ivy gourd – They are common vegetables that are prescribed to diabetics to bring the insulin and glucose level under control. The leaves and the vegetables of these climbers can be consumed by women with PCOS. They can be cooked normally and had at least five times a week. Alternatively, it can be ground and consumed in the form of juice.
Goose berry – The Indian gooseberry is a fruit that is recommended for controlling blood sugar levels and improving fertility in women. This fruit is also rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. It also works as good cleanser; that flushes out the toxins in the body and thus promote weight reduction. Goose berry eaten raw or the extract mixed with lukewarm water and consumed are best ways of intake.
Apple Cider Vinegar – Regular ingestion of this vinegar regulates insulin levels in the body and thus can help control the symptoms of PCOS. Apple cider vinegar is to be diluted with warm-water and consumed.
Green Tea – Catechins, the potent antioxidants present in green tea can help reduce the levels of the hormones that cause ovarian cysts and related symptoms. They also help control insulin levels. Every day drinking of green tea may also impact the weight gain that is commonly seen in PCOS and help loose this excessive weight.
Palm Jaggery – Is an healthier option than regular white sugar because of its ability to regulate insulin and blood sugar levels. It also possesses a low glycaemic index and boosts energy levels. This unrefined type of jaggery can significantly impact health in women with PCOS when substituted for white sugar.
Caraway Seeds – These seeds possess a plethora of medicinal properties. It contains thymoquinone that can help relieve PCOS symptoms.
Chia Seeds – As sources of dietary fiber, healthy fats, protein, minerals and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is an omega-3 fatty acid they can help reduce the risk of heart disease, control cholesterol and blood pressure levels. They can be added to smoothies, muffins or yogurt for daily intake.
Sesame Seeds – They contain nutrients beneficial for women in treating oligomenorrhea, a condition characterized by infrequent menstrual flow which is often associated with PCOS.
Fennel seeds – Anti-hirsutism properties are said to help in treating PCOS symptoms as they help decrease androgen (male hormones) levels.
Pumpkin Seeds – Hypoglycaemic properties can help manage blood sugar levels. They also contain beta-sitosterol that can reduce the levels of androgens that help reduce the symptoms of PCOS such as hirsutism, acne and weight gain.
Dark chocolate – Propels the secretion of happy hormones in the brain and thus helps to fight the psychological symptoms of PCOS.
Overall risk of developing long-term health problems from PCOS can be greatly improved by following the above home remedies using easy available kitchen ingredients. The approach of the home remedy along with main line treatment in PCOS must be to reach specific goals such as improving insulin resistance, metabolic and reproductive functions that will be possible through the design of low-calorie diet to achieve weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight, limit the intake of simple sugars and refined carbohydrates and intake foods with a low glycaemic index, reduction of saturated and trans fatty acids and attention to possible deficiencies such as vitamin D, chromium and omega-3.