Tackling PCOD Naturally
Polycystic ovarian disease or syndrome (PCOD/PCOS) has become one of the most pervasive problems in India today, affecting as much as 36% of women in the reproductive age group. While the stats are in themselves disturbing, PCOD also causes fear because of its categorization as a chronic disease. In other words, there is no permanent cure for PCOD. However, this can be misleading, as PCOD can be effectively managed through natural methods like Ayurveda. In fact, dietary and lifestyle modifications can be so effective at treating PCOS that you can have just as good a quality of life as anyone else. Olympian champion Carissa Gump and global fitness icon Jillian Michaels are proof of this!
Overcoming PCOD with Natural Remedies
Natural remedies for PCOD can include a wide range of herbs, herbal supplements and extracts and Ayurvedic formulations. What’s notable about these natural treatments is that they pose little to no risk of side effects and do more than just treat PCOD symptoms. In addition to addressing the underlying causes of PCOD, natural treatments can also help mitigate the risk of PCOD complications such as infertility, diabetes and heart disease. Seeds like fenugreek and cumin can be used as PCOD remedies as well as added to your diet. Research shows that fenugreek intake may improve hormonal balance, normalize menstruation and reduce cyst formation. Similarly, cumin is believed to help regulate hormonal levels in women with PCOS because of its content of phytoestrogens. It also has proven anti-diabetic and cholesterol lowering effects, protecting against PCOD complications.
Herbs like amla, ashwagandha and tulsi, which are commonly used in Ayurvedic PCOD medications, can also help to treat PCOD naturally. These herbs work through a variety of mechanisms, including their strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects. The anti-androgenic properties of herbs like tulsi can help to restore a healthy hormonal balance, reducing PCOD symptoms. All of these herbs also help to regulate blood glucose levels, increasing protection against insulin resistance and diabetes.
As is often the case, many herbal ingredients can be more effective in precise combinations. You can refer to Ayurvedic texts to prepare your own PCOD formulations or use polyherbal Ayurvedic formulations from reputed brands.
How Your Diet Can Help Treat PCOD
Ayurveda has long emphasized the importance of healthy eating for the prevention and treatment of ailments. This is particularly important when dealing with PCOD and there’s growing recognition for such recommendations. A review published in the journal Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome states that diet therapy can help to improve metabolic and reproductive functions, as well as insulin resistance. These positive changes are achieved both through the quality of nutrition and as a benefit of weight loss or weight management. Researchers point out that in obese or overweight individuals, weight reduction of just 5% can lead to improvement of most PCOS symptoms.
An Ayurvedic diet for PCOS is your best bet, as Ayurveda emphasizes balanced eating and does not recommend restrictive diets. You should instead focus on natural or whole foods, while limiting or avoiding any intake of processed and junk foods. This is in keeping with current scientific literature, which suggests that PCOD is associated with a higher intake of simple sugars, refined carbs, sodium and saturated and trans fats. To get a personalized diet plan it would be best to consult an Ayurvedic physician or dietician with an Ayurvedic background, as some food choices and combinations will depend on your dosha type.
Why Fitness Matters
The importance of weight loss for PCOD management in cases where weight gain or obesity is a problem has already been established. Physical activity and exercise can obviously help considerably in this regard. However, it should be pointed out that regular exercise is also recommended for other benefits. Studies show that regular physical activity can help improve insulin resistance and reduce androgen levels. This means that hormonal imbalances, which are at the root of PCOD can be resolved, while the risk of diabetes is also reduced. Keep in mind that experts recommend low and moderate intensity exercises for PCOD, as over exercising can also disrupt hormonal balance. For this reason, Ayurvedic recommendations for yoga are likely to be most beneficial, along with aerobic exercise and Pilates.