Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is said to be the most common hormone abnormality among women in the United States. It causes infertility, menstrual dysfunction, weight gain, acne and more. Many women suffer from it and have no idea. As most of you know, I was diagnosed with PCOS last year, but have since healed it. Today, I wanted to share 5 holistic and natural things that I did to rid myself of it. This information will not only help PCOS sufferers, but also anyone who deals with endocrine, autoimmune or inflammatory issues.
1. Cut back on meat, dairy and processed foods.
A recent study showed that women with PCOS had higher levels of AGEs in their body. AGEs have been shown to cause inflammation in the body so this isn't just bad for people with PCOS. Watch this video to find out how to cut back and which methods of cooking are best if you're going to still eat foods high in AGEs.
2. Get rid of plastics!
Many people don't realize that plastic containers leach hormone disrupting chemicals into our food. If you're using plastic containers I would suggest switching to glass, bamboo or stainless steel because even the BPA-free plastics still have other chemicals in them that aren't good for the body. One of the biggest changes I made was throwing out all my plastics. I stopped drinking out of plastic water bottles and switched to using a glass one. I now store all my food in glass containers. I store my veggies in these reusable bags. If you do need to use plastic bags, make sure to use the ones that say they are BPA and PVC free. You can find those at health food stores like Whole Foods.
3. Add more hormone healing foods in your diet.
Foods like blueberries and avocados have been shown to have beneficial effects on hormones. I would add wild blueberries to my smoothie almost every day. This was my go-to smoothie when I was healing. Another herb that has been shown to help with PCOS is Marjoram. You can see how in this study here. I have not personally used it, but if I were still dealing with PCOS I would definitely add this in to my salads or figure out other ways to eat it. I talk more about foods to eat and those to avoid for hormone balance here, but honestly, eating more of a plant-based diet will help tremendously!
4. Cut the refined sugars and artificial sweeteners
The first thing I want to say here is I'm NOT talking about sugars from fruit! I'm talking about things like pastries, cookies, donuts that contain refined sugar. The sugar in fruit is good for us and has been shown to have many healing properties – especially for hormones. This is one mistake that people with diabetes make as the fiber in fruit has shown to help control blood sugar levels. This study shows that people who were made to eat 20 servings of fruit a day had no adverse effects on their weight, blood pressure and insulin levels. Even things that aren't “desserts” do have sugar. Did you know the food industry even puts sugar in things like peanut butter and pickles? Crazy, right!? If you're looking to eat healthier always, always, always read the ingredient label on packaged foods! It's much more important than reading the nutrition label.
It should be a no brainer that artificial sweeteners are not good as studies have shown their link to cancer, weight gain and more. The one I was surprised to find out about was stevia, which is said to be a healthier sweetener option. After I finally got off toxic birth control, I didn't have a period for over a year. When I stopped using stevia my period came back two weeks later. Even though organic raw stevia (in small amounts) is a better sweetener option than most – if you're dealing with hormonal issues I'd suggest cutting it out as well.
5. Eliminate stress wherever you can.
I know we've all heard this before and it's a lot easier to say, but honestly it's so important to try to eliminate stress in any area of our life that we can. Something else I took up after finding out I had PCOS was meditating. Every morning I would meditate for at least 10 minutes. I suggest starting with 10 minutes and then working your way up. I also used guided meditation tracks, which helps to keep the mind still especially when you're new to meditating. Also yoga, walking and breathing exercises can tremendously help to reduce stress. This study shows how practicing slow breathing can help a number of medical and emotional disorders. You don't need a strenuous hardcore work out to be fit and healthy
Please note – these are things that have helped me with PCOS. I am not trying to medically advise you, but wanted to share my story and information that I have learned from being a holistic nutritionist. You should consult with your doctor or holistic provider. If you know of anyone that suffers with PCOS, endocrine, autoimmune or inflammatory issues – please pass this information on to them. You can read more about my journey and hormonal health here.