Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, also known as PCOS, is a hormonal imbalance in menstruating women. An unwanted spike of male hormones in the female body is the prime cause of PCOS development. At the same time, irregularity in the menstrual cycle is the main sign of PCOS. This endocrine malfunction leads to various diseases. For example, PCOS leads to metabolic disorders like diabetes, obesity, cancer, amongst other key health disorders.
Unfortunately, according to statistics, one in every ten women suffers from PCOS. Therefore, it is a fairly common disorder among women. Though the exact cause of PCOS is still not very clear, lifestyle changes are the most feasible solution for PCOS. Here is the exciting part, with the intervention of tiny seeds in your diet, you can manage PCOs effectively.
With advancements in the medical field, you can treat any condition through medication. But, nutrition is a better way of preventing and managing any disorder. Therefore, dietary changes and a few lifestyle modifications can do wonders in PCOS management.
Natural ways of PCOS Healing
1. Lifestyle Intervention
You should adopt a stress-free lifestyle to regulate hormonal imbalances. Studies suggest that women with PCOS generally have higher rates of weight gain and are at higher risk of developing unhealthy weight, with up to 60% having an unhealthy weight. In addition, some research suggests that hormones involved in controlling appetite and hunger aren’t appropriately regulated in some women with PCOS. Hence, weight management is necessary for people with PCOS as it leads to future complications like obesity, heart ailments and certain metabolic disorders etc. Therefore, it’s important to modify your food and exercise habits to keep your body and mind active to perform any physical activity to keep your body and mind active.
2. Dietary Modification
Several studies suggest that diets rich in vegetables and fruits form a balanced diet. Fibre-rich foods help control many metabolic disorders that come as a side-effect of PCOS. In addition, fruits like berries are rich in anti-inflammatory properties.
You should consume vegetables like green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, sweet potato, broccoli, gouds and other fibre-rich vegetables abundantly to improve health. Foods rich in vitamins and minerals like zinc, magnesium, selenium and copper are mandatory to treat PCOS. Nuts and seeds are super-food groups that women with PCOS should consume in large quantities. Nuts and seeds, which are high in critical nutrients including Omega-3 fats, vitamin E and key minerals that can help regulate hormonal activity and weight fluctuations when consumed regularly.
Seeds for Managing PCOS
- Seeds are loaded with nutrition that aid in managing PCOS. They are small in size but rich in essential nutrients.
- Seeds are rich in fibre, proteins and omega-3 fatty acids. They are also rich in vitamins and minerals needed for treating PCOS conditions.
- Seeds are rich in omega-3-fatty acids that are healthy and essential for our body. However, the human body cannot produce omega-3-fatty acids. You can only take it through dietary supplementation. Seeds are an excellent vegetarian source of these fatty acids.
- Various seeds help in weight management, the main threat in people with PCOS. Seeds are healthy snack options for people watching their weight. They keep the body full due to high fibre content and prevent us from munching on calorie-laden unhealthy snacks.
- The main advantage of including seeds is that they are low in carbohydrates and do not increase blood sugar levels. Research shows that people with PCOS show high insulin levels and insulin resistance. Seeds sort this problem.
- Above all, seeds are helpful in effectively balancing hormones. The addition of the seeds to our daily diet improves health in several ways.
1. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin B, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron. They are also full of proteins and good fats such as monounsaturated fats—these components help balance the hormones. Also, after menopause, these minerals present in pumpkin seeds avoid the risk of osteoporosis, which results in bone health deterioration. Studies show that pumpkin seeds also are a rich source of plant sterols that helps control blood cholesterol levels. You should take pumpkin seeds for boosting immunity.
You can consume pumpkin seeds separately or add them to yoghurt, smoothie and salads. These seeds are very versatile. They can also be roasted and mixed with spices like pepper and cinnamon and eaten together with vegetables and fruits. Here, cinnamon is a valuable herb/ spice in treating PCOS.
2. Flax Seeds
Flaxseeds also contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals essential for a healthy reproductive system. In addition, they are particularly rich in antioxidants. Studies conclude that the omega-3-fatty acids in flax seeds balance oestrogen production. If oestrogen is higher than required, it hinders the normal functioning of the menstrual cycle. Flax seeds can regulate that. These seeds also give relief to other side-effects of PCOS like mood swings, painful periods, muscular cramps, etc.
3. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are rich in iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium. These mainly control the emotional fluctuations that occur during periods. People with PCOS experience uncontrollable mood swings more frequently than ordinary people without PCOS. This condition affects the daily activities of the patients. Thus, chia seeds’ regular consumption controls the hormones and regularises the menstrual flow. Chia is also rich in fibre content. Nutritional data shows that 30 grams of chia seeds contain about 10 grams of fibre.
When mixed or soaked in water, chia seeds create a jelly-like consistency. Therefore, it gives a reasonable volume and richness to smoothies, drinks, etc. In addition, you can also use it as a vegetarian alternative for eggs in the baking process. In a nutshell, chia seeds are a boon for overall health and are very versatile.
4. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are rich in zinc, calcium and magnesium. It also possesses vitamin E, which is essential for fertility. Research shows that these vitamins and minerals regulate the hormone imbalance by increasing progesterone secretion. In addition, proteins in sesame seeds are for overall health. For example, the plant sterols in sesame seeds such as sesamin and sesamolin help control blood cholesterol levels.
You can add sesame seeds to many dishes and combine them with savoury foods and sweet foods. They are a great choice of salad dressing.
5. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are a great source of vitamin E and help in infertility. They also improve PMS (Pre-Menstrual Symptoms). Sunflower seeds are critical in stimulating the production of progesterone hormones. They also help regulate other PCOS symptoms like inflammation, mood swings, etc. Sunflower also has abundant selenium and magnesium. Studies show that sunflower seeds have many plant sterols that work together to provide cardio-protective health. Selenium in sunflower seeds helps in liver detoxification in the liver.
You can add sunflower seeds to salads. You can also combine them with cereals and smoothies. These seeds have a suitable texture when ground and can coat fish or meat while frying.
How to Consume Seeds?
- You can take seeds in raw form. You can consume a handful of seeds as evening snacks.
- Seeds are a healthy alternative, before or after workout sessions. The fibre-rich seeds make you feel satiated for a longer time because of the essential nutrients.
- You can mix seeds in smoothies and yoghurts. Simply can add them to overnight oats for maximum benefits.
- You can add seeds to soups and milkshakes.
- Seeds are so versatile that you can also use them in baking products. They contribute to the texture and also the flavours.
- Seeds also can be cooked or roasted to enhance their flavours.
- You can dry roast and blend them to powder form and mix many foods.
Seed cycling is when you consume certain seeds on particular days of the menstrual cycle. It is also known as a “seed rotation diet”. This method helps in regulating the hormonal balance in the female body. Although it is not a scientific-based approach for PCOS management and treatment, the NUNM report shows its positive effect. Seed cycling has been gaining popularity recently because it is a natural yet effective treatment.
Apart from regulating the period cycle, seeds help when trying to get pregnant. They aid in producing correct levels of progesterone and oestrogen. In the case of seed cycling, you should consume grains by grinding the raw seeds. It enhances the nutrient absorption rates. To see any benefit from consuming seeds, it takes about 3 to 4 months. So be patient and consistent with your effort in improving the nutrient cycle in your body.
Phases of Seed Cycling
- This phase begins from the first day of your period and ends on your ovulation.
- It lasts up to 2 weeks in a regular menstrual cycle.
- Seeds consumed in this phase are pumpkin, flax, and chia seeds.
- You can eat the seeds separately or as a combo, but you should take a mix of both seeds.
- Amount of seed consumed: 1 tablespoon of seeds per day.
- The follicular phase needs more oestrogen to keep the eggs inside the ovaries healthy.
- This phase begins from the first day of your ovulation and lasts until your next period.
- It lasts up to 2 weeks in a regular menstrual cycle.
- Seeds consumed in this phase are sunflower seeds and sesame seeds.
- These seeds can be eaten separately or in combination, but you should take a mix of both seeds.
- Amount of seed consumed: 1 tablespoon of seeds per day.
- The luteal phase needs more progesterone to increase the uterus’ strength and ovulation.
Benefits of Seed Cycling
The main benefit of seed cycling is hormone regulation—the production of hormones essential for good and regular menstruation and reproductive health. The female hormones that play a vital role in menstruation are oestrogen and progesterone.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc. Zinc is an essential component in secreting progesterone in the body. Meanwhile, flax seeds possess phytoestrogen. You may also call them lignans. They are good antioxidants. These lignans react with excess oestrogen and help the body remove it. It regulates or maintains the hormonal balance. Also, flax seeds extend the ovulation period, which increases your fertility window. Chia seeds relieve the pain during periods. They also regulate the mood swings happening during that time. Chia seeds also improve insulin resistance, control other metabolic disorders, and regulate hormones in the follicular phase.
Fertilisation occurs in the luteal phase. The eggs are in fully developed condition and released from the follicles of the follicular phase. If it comes in contact with sperm, fertilisation happens. Sesame seeds are rich in zinc and selenium. They remove excess oestrogen by binding to it. Likewise, sunflower seeds, which are a good source of vitamin E, help in progesterone secretion. In this way, you can achieve a hormonal balance through seed cycling.
Foods to Avoid in Treating PCOS
- Limit consumption of refined carbohydrates. Refined flour byproducts like white bread, pasta, and products are full of processed and refined carbohydrates. These are not suitable for people with PCOS. In addition, these foods tend to increase blood sugar levels and lead to diabetes alongside PCOS.
- You should avoid bakery and confectionary products like cakes, cookies and biscuits to improve overall health. The list also includes ice creams, candies etc. These foods increase the risk of sugar levels along with cholesterol levels.
- Similarly, it would help to cut off sugary drinks and carbonated beverages. These drinks are rich in artificial sugars.
- Fried foods filled with saturated foods are a big no-no for people with PCOS.
PCOS can disrupt women menstrual cycles and challenge the reproductive process. An unfavourable increase in male hormones causes PCOS symptoms. To manage PCOS, lifestyle and nutritional adjustments are essential. Diet and physical activity are two effective methods for losing weight. You can control PCOS with dietary adjustments that include a high intake of fruits and vegetables, herbs, nuts, spices and seeds. Seeds are rich in healthy fats like omega-3 and minerals like iron zinc that help you have a better menstrual cycle.
Roasting and grinding the seeds to powder or soaking them overnight has more benefits. It entails using minerals and vitamins to keep the reproductive organs and hormonal balance. Many women use seed cycling to alleviate PCOS symptoms such as irregular menstrual cycle and fertility problems. If any of these natural methods fail to provide relief, you should seek a doctor’s advice.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: How do I eat seeds for PCOS?
A: There are various ways to have seeds for PCOS. It will help if you eat 1 to 2 tablespoons of seeds daily for PCOS. You can also mix 3 to 4 different seeds.
Q: What nuts and seeds are good for PCOS?
A: Nuts good for PCOS are Walnuts, Almonds, Pista, hazelnuts and pine nuts. Seeds good for PCOS are pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds.
Q: What foods cure PCOS?
A: Fibre-rich foods, vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, and fruits like berries and grapes help improve PCOS related symptoms. Lentils, legumes and fish also help with the same. In addition, you can also have nuts like almonds, walnuts, seeds like pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds and herbs like basil, cinnamon and turmeric.
Q: How does flax seeds help in PCOS?
A: Flax seeds are rich in omega-3 fats that help manage PCOS symptoms. It is also rich in antioxidants called lignan that regulate oestrogen production and control the hormonal imbalance in the body.
Q: Is seed cycling good for PCOS?
A: Seed cycling is an excellent method to regulate hormonal flow in the body. It is a concept of consuming seeds at a particular time of day. It controls hormone production aiding in menstruation, reproduction, or fertility.
Q: Do chia seeds regulate periods?
A: Chia seeds ease the PCOS symptoms. These seeds control hormonal imbalance by eliminating the high oestrogen drive. Flaxseeds also work for the same.
Q: How do black sesame seeds help in PCOS?
A: Black sesame seeds help in managing hormonal imbalance. These seeds reduce the male hormone secretion in the female body. They also ease the symptoms of PCOS.
Q: Is cinnamon good for PCOS?
A: Cinnamon helps maintain the blood glucose levels and insulin levels in the body. They also increase the production of female hormones like progesterone. In addition, they reduce male hormones like testosterone.
Q: Is fenugreek good for PCOS?
A: Fenugreek is an excellent herb to heal PCOS. They improve insulin resistance and control diabetes and cholesterol levels. In addition, you can also use it to dissolve ovarian cysts. Fenugreek is also known as a fertility enhancer.