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10 Common Foods That Act As Super Foods In PCOS

Written and reviewed by
Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS)
Dietitian/Nutritionist, Delhi  •  17 years experience
10 Common Foods That Act As Super Foods In PCOS

PCOS is a complex association of endocrine (hormonal) and metabolic interactions, creating an imbalanced hormone profile resulting in ovarian hyperstimulation, which leads to multiple cysts in ovary & infertility and  other symptoms like weight gain, mood swings, delayed or no periods, scanty menstrual blood flow, mood swings, facial hair, insulin resistance and hair fall, leaky gut, bloating etc. Fortunately, it has been shown that improving baseline nutrition & lifestyle and losing weight (if needed) can do a lot to improve both the symptoms and the underlying hormonal imbalance.  

Find below 10 common foods, acting as a superfood for PCOS:

1. Green/raw papaya: Papaya is good for inducing periods or regulating the menstrual cycle. It is rich in vitamin A, calcium, potassium and vitamin B in the form of folic acid, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-1 and riboflavin. Papaya also increases metabolism and improves digestion. 

How to consume: Green papaya is thick and fleshy from inside. Consume it like common foods. Grated papaya flesh can be kneaded in Chapaati flour to make it high fiber and as there is no particular flavor of papaya so it's easy to take it. It can be cooked as a vegetable curry also to have with roti or rice. Raw papaya can be prepared as a salad also.

2. Wheat Grass: It purifies the blood, detoxifies the liver and cleanses the colon and prevents cancer cells to grow. Consumption of wheatgrass helps to balance PH levels in the body to make a more suitable environment for ovary. It increases oxygen levels in the body to improve cell and organ structure. It improves anemia due to its high chlorophyll content.

How to consume: Fresh wheatgrass can be grown in the kitchen garden and grind it with some water to prepare fresh juice. Consume it immediately as you prepare it.  The powdered wheatgrass is the second option which is taken in a dose of three grams dissolved in a cup of water should be taken on an empty stomach every day.

3. PineapplePineapples are loaded with an enzyme called bromelain; an enzyme that can produce some pretty incredible effects when ingested in the right amounts. In fact, bromelain has indications which include acting as a:

  • Pain Reliever

  • Blood Thinner and Anti-Coagulant

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agent

  • Pineapple is a fabulous source of manganese, a nutrient that may help fight against PMS-related irritability. This tropical fruit also contains high levels of potassium, which can fight bloating. And don't forget the sweetness from a fresh pineapple can curb those sugar cravings which are common in PCOS. 

4. Tomatoes: They are rich in a carotenoid called lycopene, which can help fight Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome(PCOS) heart disease and cancer. Lycopene is in greater quantities in a processed or cooked tomato, rather than a fresh one, because lycopene is tightly bound within the tomato’s cell walls. Heat breaks down those walls, thus releasing more lycopene for the body to absorb and use. Cooking tomatoes in olive oil helps to dissolve lycopene and carry it into the bloodstream. Tomatoes are also a good source of chromium which fights with insulin resistance and sugar cravings.

How to consume: Consume it in raw /sautéed salads or you can prepare tomato soup to get maximum amount of lycopene.

5. Flax seeds: Rich in Omega -3, so fixes up mood also. Lignan in flaxseeds helps reduce androgen levels. As a result, when flaxseed is added to your PCOS diet, it helps reduce testosterone levels and improves lipid profile, both of which are helpful in managing and controlling of PCOS. 

How to consume: 1-2 tsp of roasted seeds can be chewed empty stomach. Flax seeds can be added to different food preparations like cereals, can be added to curd in powder form. Take care to chew them well or have it in the form of powder.

6. Fenugreek seeds (Methi dana): It is believed that a phytoestrogen called diosgenin content in fenugreek seeds can affect estrogen. Fenugreek can improve glucose metabolism as well

How to take: Overnight soaked 1tsp seeds in water can be consumed early morning. Add as a spice in cooking. Grow sprouts and add a tbsp to your regular salad.  

7. Kalonji (Black / Nigella seeds): It is a must-have spice in your pantry, Black seeds are a boon to women suffering from PCOS. Humble black seeds boost metabolism, help weight loss and regularize menstrual cycle by balancing stubborn hormones in PCOS. They also reduce blood sugar by enhancing insulin sensitivity. Most importantly, it helps in preventing the follicles from turning cystic

How to consume: Kalongi should be taken once or twice daily 2-3 gm (about ¾ tsp) ideally before breakfast or at night. 

8. Spearmint: High levels of male hormone- testosterone (yes, women do have a small of amount of testosterone in their body!) and other female hormonal imbalances triggers facial hair to grow thicker and more men-like. Spearmint has been proved by research to reduce the levels of circulating male hormone- testosterone and thus help in controlling and reducing the growth of thick facial hair in PCOS. Also, as testosterone triggers loss of scalp hair or balding in women with PCOS, spearmint can also help in reducing hair loss.

 How to consume:  A good quality organic Spearmint (peppermint works fine as well) tea should be steeped for two to three minutes and taken twice daily minimum five days every week

9. Licorice root(Mulethi): It has natural anti-androgen properties. And it also offers hormone balancing benefits.  By maintaining estrogen balance in the body, Licorice helps promote regulated ovulation and improved fertility. Licorice can boost digestive health and treat Leaky Gut, which is not uncommon in PCOS patients. It limits the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut. This further improves the health.

How to consume: licorice(mulethi) powder (3 gm) can be brewed in a hot cup of water and sip it while relaxing once or twice in a day.

10. cinnamon(Dalchini): Cinnamon has been seen to reduce insulin resistance significantly. Insulin resistance is considered as the number one cause of both diabetes and PCOS. Cinnamon also reduces the occurrence of Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH,) which also contributes to the occurrence of PCOS.

How to consume:

  • Cinnamon tea: Start your morning with a cup of cinnamon tea. Cinnamon can be added to both milk tea and black tea. Try to have it without sugar as it could reduce the effectiveness of cinnamon.
  • Powder: Sprinkle some cinnamon powder on your yogurt, smoothies and shakes. Cinnamon is a versatile spice that adds flavor to everything from curries to desserts.

Note: This information is given in general. Always ask your dietitian or naturopath before starting any food or herb in particular for any specific recommendation based on your hormones levels and your body constitution.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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