The symptoms of PCOS vary person to person. They often include weight gain, irregular menstruation, infertility, acne, and a male-pattern hair growth, called hirsutism. As most of us with PCOS know,
without treatment, the combination of these symptoms can have devastating and life-changing effects.
To make matters worse, the root cause of PCOS is still unknown. It cannot be prevented or cured. The best we can do is treat the symptoms, and this is where PCOS and
flaxseed come together.
Flaxseed is a superfood. It is hyper-rich in nutrients. Flaxseed has been used in medicine as far back as at least the ancient Egyptians. More recently, it has also been used to help men with prostate cancer. Its healing power comes from the plant chemicals found inside the seed’s hard shell.
Flaxseed, especially when milled, is high in fiber, high in omega 3 fatty acids, and contains essential amino acids. Best of all, it is full of plant-based estrogen called lignans.
Controlling the Symptoms
While doctors may take some satisfaction in prescribing powerful pharmaceutical drugs to treat the symptoms of PCOS, these drugs can have equally powerful side effects. That’s why we believe that the most important step in controlling our PCOS symptoms is understanding food’s power to help or hurt us.
When it comes to PCOS and quality of life, a proactive approach to health and wellness can produce impressive results. This truly is the first step in understanding how to treat PCOS naturally. Making the right dietary changes can produce a greater impact than medication, without the headaches, dizziness, cramping, bloating, nausea, or diarrhea, typical of many pharmaceutical treatments.
How to Treat PCOS Naturally
Food is more powerful than medicine when it comes to eliminating the symptoms of PCOS. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that a PCOS diet is the best place to start. And while a PCOS diet is a major change for most women, the health principals are similar to most of the diets already popular today. Only the stakes are higher with PCOS.
High protein, low dairy, healthier oils, less wheat, less gluten, and plenty of fresh vegetables are what’s going to help rebuild our muscle, balance our moods and support our detoxification. If you’re new to this, don’t worry. We’re together on this. Plus, there’s a link to a free PCOS Diet Jumpstart Guide at the end.
The hormonal imbalance of PCOS most often leads to insulin resistance. This means that the body’s natural hormone, insulin, becomes less effective in lowering blood sugar levels.
As if PCOS wasn’t bad enough on its own, insulin resistance is linked to metabolic syndrome—a group of risk factors for diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems. Because of this connection, women with PCOS are at a greater risk of developing abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, abnormal sugar levels, high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels.
Our Friend Fiber
Fiber is an essential dietary addition for women with PCOS. Fiber not only reduces the absorption of cholesterol into our blood stream, it also slows the absorption of glucose into the intestine, as well. These two powerful facts lead to lower cholesterol levels and reduced insulin resistance.
Not surprisingly, as insulin resistance is reduced, so too are the symptoms of PCOS.
Onward and Upward with Omega 3s
Inflammation is believed to be the underlying cause of PCOS, so we also need to increase our omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3s are very heart healthy. They help reduce inflammation and normalize our heartbeat. When combined with the right amino acids, they can also lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, and prevent clogging of the arteries.
The Hormonal Rebalance of PCOS and Flaxseed
If you haven’t guessed already, the easiest way for us to add fiber, omega 3s, and essential amino acids to our diet is with flaxseed. This natural health supplement is inexpensive, readily available, and has a relatively appealing taste, mellow and nutty. Although available in whole, milled, or liquid form, linseed oil, we find the most beneficial to be the milled variety. When ground, you receive the benefits of both soluble and insoluble fiber, instead of just one or the other.
Best of all, however, and the reason why scientists have granted flaxseed its status as a superfood, is the presence of its lignans, as mentioned earlier. So what’s the big deal about lignans?
First of all, these plant chemicals act as a powerful antioxidant. They reduce inflammation and lower plaque build-up in the arteries by up to seventy-five percent. In people with elevated blood sugar levels, they can lead to noticeable improvements.
The most significant benefit of these lignans, however, is their ability to help manage the hormonal imbalances in those of us with PCOS. Lignans are phytoestrogens, or plant estrogens. When absorbed into the blood stream as food, these plant estrogens help make up for the hormonal imbalance of PCOS. They significantly reduce the high testosterone levels that are the leading cause of infertility and hirsutism in women with PCOS. The extra testosterone is effectively carried out of the body by an increased number of hormone-binding globulin produced by the flaxseed.
The Potential Impact of Flaxseed on PCOS
Recent studies, such as a clinical case study conducted at Duke University, have found that daily flaxseed supplementation may reduce testosterone levels in PCOS patients as much as eighty-nine percent. This is a two to four times greater reduction than seen with other dietary supplements.
In this particular study, a patient with PCOS was prescribed a 30g daily dose of flaxseed over a four month period. By comparing before and after exams, the study reported significant decreases in androgen, testosterone, and hirsutism. During the study the patient also lost 2 lbs and demonstrated an increase in insulin levels.
How to Treat PCOS Naturally with Flaxseed
When fighting the war against PCOS inside our bodies, the best place to start is a PCOS diet. The best, easiest, cheapest, and most beneficial supplement to our PCOS diet, however, is flaxseed. Its fiber, omega 3s, amino acids, and lignans will work to rebalance our bodies as only a superfood can do.
Besides, incorporating 2 or more tablespoons of milled flaxseed a day into our diet couldn’t be any easier. Dust it over a crisp green salad, stir it into a soup, or mix it into a grain-free cereal. Incorporate it into baked goods by simply sprinkling it into the recipe. Best of all, blend it into a raw juice, fresh smoothie, or PCOS-friendly shake. Our taste buds hardly notice it’s there, while our bodies are already soaking up all the inner goodness of the ground flaxseed.
After only a few months of consistent use of flaxseed as a supplement to your PCOS diet, I think you’ll agree that PCOS and flaxseed are an inseparable duo.
Further Reading: with Flaxseed
How to Treat PCOS Naturally: PCOS and Flaxseed | PCOS Insulite Health
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