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One of the best ways to help manage PCOS symptoms is to take a look at your diet and see what changes you can make. For the unversed, PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder in women which is characterized by hormonal imbalance. When several hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and androgen start affecting the ovaries, it leads to PCOS.
We know diet is the solution to almost every health problem. Most people, while adopting a healthy diet, cut out herbs and spices from their diet and consider them unhealthy! But is that true? Well, it’s a myth! There is a long list of herbs and spices that are helpful and do not cause any harm. In fact, they can better deal with your PCOS symptoms.
Dr Swati Gaikwad, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Pune says, “Spices and herbs can do wonders for your health. You will be able to manage PCOS symptoms like increased body hair, acne, and irregular or few periods without any difficulty. Before including any spices and herbs in the diet, you will have to speak to an expert who will recommend to you the exact quantity in which you need to have it. Herbs and spices are a natural way to get some much-needed relief from PCOS.”
Let’s find out which herbs and spices you can include in your diet to manage PCOS. Here they are:
Cinnamon or dalchini is a favourite kitchen staple in Indian households and for good reason. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties. Thus it can lower blood sugar and cholesterol and improve insulin sensitivity in women with PCOS. Dr Gaikwad says, “Cinnamon, also known as Cinnamomum Zeylanicum, can be beneficial in managing blood sugar levels, enhance fertility and insulin sensitivity, and regulate menstruation in women with PCOS.”
Apart from this, cinnamon can help increase progesterone production that balances your hormones while reducing the amount of testosterone in the body, helping to balance hormones. Which is necessary to manage PCOS.
How to consume it: You can simply add half a teaspoon to your water, porridge, soups, or juices.
Tulsi is an excellent herb for PCOS. “It is loaded with anti-androgenic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties and control androgens leading to excessive facial hair growth and acne, and lower blood sugar levels,” says Dr Gaikwad.
As per Ayurveda, turmeric helps boost immunity and even has immense healing properties. This yellow-orange spice has several PCOS benefits as it can help in reducing irregular period symptoms, acne, weight gain, fatigue, and even can resolve your sleep problems.
Dr Gaikwad says, “It is anti-inflammatory in nature and contains a compound called curcumin that can be helpful in tackling insulin resistance, high blood sugar levels, and increase HDL or good cholesterol levels in women with PCOS.”
How to consume it: Just add 200 ml cold-pressed coconut oil, 1 cup organic turmeric, and 5 tsp organic black pepper. Mix well and keep it in a jar and use one spoon in your juices, soups, or gravies.
Weight gain or loss, stress, depression, or period cramps are the common symptoms of PCOS. “Women suffering from PCOS tend to have high insulin levels that can cause the ovaries to make more androgen hormones like testosterone. This can lead to excess body hair, acne, and irregular periods. Having insulin resistance can also increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. Using Ashwagandha can reduce the PCOS symptoms,” says Dr Gaikwad.
According to a study published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative medicine, this herb helps in managing stress by reducing psychological and physiological markers of stress, serum cortisol level, and food cravings. This, in turn, improves eating habits and paves the road for weight loss. Ashwagandha can also manage your hair loss problem caused by PCOS and help to control the body sugar level.
How to consume: Ashwagandha is available in the form of powder and tablets which you can have up to 200 grams per day. You can also add the powder to your shakes, and juices.
PCOS patients have high levels of insulin as it remains unused in the body, increasing blood sugar levels. Consuming fenugreek or methi seeds will help to maintain normal insulin levels, which also helps in weight loss.
How to consume it: Soak methi seeds overnight and have it thrice a day on an empty stomach in the morning and five minutes before lunch and dinner.
Asparagus racemosus aka Shatavari is an Ayurvedic herb. Shatavari is found to be very effective in reducing PCOS, improving follicular growth, development, and ovulation in clinical subjects. Also, it holds a key role in maintaining the duration of the menstrual cycles, normalising the cycle and blood flow. It contains bioflavonoids, vitamin B, calcium zinc, which are essential nutrients in women’s health. In addition, it aids in enhancing fertility.
How to consume it: Shatavari powder can be taken with soups, juices and shakes, and green tea.
Dr Gaikwad says, “Ginger contains vital ingredients like gingerol, shogaol, paradol, and zingerone, can allow you to lower inflammation, and relieve period pain. Not only this, it is an effective antiviral, antibacterial and antioxidant spice to keep the immune system strong while having PCOS.”
So ladies, try managing symptoms of PCOS with these herbs and spices.