6 ways to prevent PCOS
You’ve likely heard of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a health condition characterized by irregular periods, thinning hair, weight gain, acne, increased facial hair, elevated insulin levels, ovarian cysts and high estrogen levels.
While one in eight women experience this condition, which can affect fertility, hormones, blood vessels and overall appearance, the good news is that there are many ways to prevent it.
Here are a few steps to take:
Stock up on supplements. There are tons of natural supplements that can help bring your body back into balance and optimize your health, such as zinc, vitamin D, calcium, folate and vitamin B12 to support normal menstruation and fertility, healthy blood sugar balance, and reduced testosterone in women with PCOS. They have also shown to improve glucose tolerance.
Get iron levels tested. Many women with PCOS experience heavy bleeding during their menstrual cycle, which can lead to anemia. Get your iron levels tested to ensure you’re getting enough, and if you’re low, purchase an iron supplement and up your intake of iron-rich foods, such as spinach, broccoli and eggs.
Optimize liver health. Women with higher levels of inflammation caused by a poor diet, environmental toxins and stress can all lead to excess burden on one of our main detoxification organs – the liver. Our liver is one of the most important organs in the body for detoxification. Keeping the liver healthy and supporting its ability to break down hormones efficiently is essential for treating PCOS and reducing excess androgens and estrogens. I recommend eating liver-enhancing foods, such as dark leafy greens and cruciferous veggies like broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts and cauliflower. I also suggest taking supplements to support liver health, which contains effective ingredients that support healthy liver detoxification, which in turn promotes healthy hormone balance. Milk thistle, curcumin, green tea extract, lycopene, rosemary extract and DIM, calcium-d-glucarate, indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane support healthy liver detoxification and in turn eliminate the build up of elevated estrogens and androgens.
Incorporate healing herbs and spices. I recommend upping your intake of cinnamon to balance insulin resistance, turmeric to reduce inflammation and adaptogenic herbs like maca, ashwagandha, licorice root and holy basil to help your body balance its hormones. Add these herbs to your morning smoothie, homemade goods, or nighttime tea for an easy way to incorporate them into your daily routine.
Adopt an anti-inflammatory diet. Reduce your intake of processed foods, refined sugars, dairy, gluten, caffeine and alcohol, and increase your consumption of whole foods, specifically dark, leafy greens, fish, fruit, veggies, and olive oil.
Manage and reduce your stress. Stress can cause inflammation in the body, and as discussed previously, inflammation can create a burden on the liver. Do your best to manage the stress you currently have in your life, or reduce it as much as you can. I recommend incorporating daily self-care practices, such as yoga, meditation, exercise, time in nature, or creative outlets to help nourish yourself. Even if you have a busy schedule, start simple by taking ten minutes a day to do something kind for yourself. I can’t emphasize enough how important self-care is if you want to optimize your health and wellness.