What the heck is PCOS? You may be asking yourself this as more and more people are talking about this condition that affects 10-15% of women, maybe that percentage includes you. From hairs on your chinny-chin-chin, to weight gain, to periods as flakey as that guy on tinder. PCOS has symptoms that affect many aspects of your life and body. PCOS is a condition that stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It’s typically rooted in high androgen or testosterone levels and insulin resistance. It can definitely be characterized as a hormonal imbalance condition.
In this blog post, we’ll be covering, what PCOS is and how it presents itself in your body, the best foods for PCOS, and my top supplements to help you manage it.
I’m here to help you with one on one support for your PCOS, make sure you book a free hormone freedom call here!
What the heck is PCOS:
PCOS, as I mentioned stands for polycystic ovarian syndrome. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is characterized by cysts in the ovaries, but don’t let this fool you, many women who have PCOS do not have cysts in their ovaries. Other symptoms of PCOS include:
- higher levels of androgens or male hormones like testosterone (we can see this on a hormone panel that I run in The Hormone System)
- male pattern hair growth around your face, belly button and chest
- thinning hair
- oily skin
- weight gain
- inability to lose weight
- missing periods
- fertility struggles
As you can see, PCOS can present itself in so many ways. Hormone testing and ultrasounds are the most accurate ways to diagnose PCOS.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, just like many other health concerns, has a root cause or a reason for establishing itself in your body. PCOS is often rooted in high levels of internal and external stress, eating the wrong diet for your body, and imbalanced hormone levels. That being said, the symptoms can be drastically reduced by balancing blood sugar levels, reducing stress, using specific supplements, eating a fiber and healthy fat-rich diet, and focusing on gut-healing foods.
Start balancing your hormones today with my 5 Hormone Hacks!
3 Best Foods for PCOS
Nuts and Seeds
These little powerhouses are packed full of fibre, healthy fats, and protein. Whenever talking about hormones, it’s important to remember that hormones are made by the body, but also need to be eliminated from the body. Without proper elimination and detoxification, hormones will continue circulating in the body, causing an excess of hormones. Fibre is key for proper detoxification and elimination.
Fibre also helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and feeds the good bacteria in our gut. Research has shown that women with PCOS often have more bad bacteria than good bacteria, this can contribute to hormone imbalance, high testosterone levels, and weight gain.
My favourite nuts and seeds for PCOS are:
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
- Brazil nuts
Seed cycling is also a wonderful way to get more seeds into your diet using strategic principles. Seed cycling helps to regulate your hormones and modulate your cycle. You can learn more about what seed cycling is and how to do it, here.
High Quality Protein
Protein is key for balancing blood sugar levels, but ensuring the protein you’re consuming is helping and not harming you is very important. Quality when it comes to choosing protein is the most important part of the equation. Since PCOS is a hormonal imbalance, you want to steer clear of conventional, factory farmed meat, fish, and dairy to avoid additional hormones and inflammatory compounds in your food.
My favourite sources of protein for PCOS are:
- Organic Chicken
- Organic beef
- Fish like salmon, mackerel, halibut, trout
- Collagen peptides
Cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, kale, cauliflower, bok choy, and cabbage, contain compounds called Glucosinolate and Glucobrassicin. These two compounds are broken down into Indole-3-carbinol (I3C). I3C is broken down further into Diindolylmethane (DIM) as you digest and food is broken down. DIM is an antioxidant and a phytonutrient, and has been shown to be anti-inflammatory. Studies indicate that Diindolylmethane modulates estrogen in the body and optimizes estrogen detoxification through the liver.
Cruciferous veggies, like the ones I listed above, are super important for PCOS, not just because they help with estrogen metabolism but they are also packed with fibre! Fibre, as we talked about with nuts and seeds is important for PCOS to help eliminate excess hormones from the body.
Incorporating at least 2 servings of cruciferous vegetables daily is a wonderful way to increase fibre consumption and include those amazing hormone detoxifying compounds into your diet!
PCOS can be complicated, to avoid getting overwhelmed, book a complimentary hormone freedom call with me here.
Top Supplements to Include
Inositol: can help improve the body’s use of insulin, reduce sugar levels, regulate menstrual cycles, improve ovarian function, promote egg quality, boost reproduction and fertility, prevent hirsutism, and even reduce the risk of gestational diabetes.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Zinc: prevents the conversion of testosterone to DHT, testosterones more potent counterpart.
Chromium: is a trace mineral that enhances the function of insulin. It can help insulin work more effectively, which can help maintain balanced hormones.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
NAC: aka N-Acetyl-Cysteine is an antioxidant and amino acid needed for overall health, especially important for the endocrine system. NAC has been shown to help with weight loss, hirsutism, free testosterone, insulin levels, and menstrual irregularities.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Vitex: is an herb that helps regulate estrogen and progesterone levels. Vitex has an effect on the hypothalamic pituitary ovarian axis. The pituitary gland is one of the masters of hormone production and tells the ovaries which hormones and how much to produce.⠀
As you probably gathered from this lengthy blog post, PCOS is a complicated condition because it affects so many aspects of overall health. PCOS can also present itself very differently from person to person which is why an individualized approach is going to be the most effective action plan. If you are struggling with PCOS, please know that I see you and hear you. Also know that PCOS is manageable and in some cases even reversible.
I know that PCOS can feel like a life sentence, it can control your life and change the trajectory of what you thought was possible, for example, feeling confident in your body and/or getting pregnant. I have worked with many women who have PCOS and together we’ve optimized their fertility, with successful pregnancy, and used strategic food, supplements, and lifestyle changes to help them lose weight. If this sounds too good to be true, please book a free hormone freedom call. Together, we can create a plan so your PCOS doesn’t control or change your life.