Fenugreek (Methi seed)
In women diagnosed with PCOS, insulin secreted by pancreas is not efficiently utilised by the tissues and this leads to obesity and production of excess testosterone. Consuming fenugreek leaves or seeds will help in maintaining normal insulin levels. Says Mallika Quereshi, a gynaecologist, “Methi improves glucose tolerance in the body, which helps in weight loss. Soak methi seeds overnight and have it thrice a day — on an empty stomach in the morning, and five minutes before lunch and dinner. You can also consume cooked methi leaves.”
According to Swastik Mishra, a diabetologist, “This condiment is a proven cure for type 2 diabetes. It also has the ability to stabilise blood sugar level and reduce the insulin resistance. Studies also state that this spice increases the odds of conceiving.” Mix cinnamon with milkshakes or yogurt, bake them into cakes and muffins or just sprinkle them over your cup of chai. Since it pretty much has no calories, you don’t have to worry about piling on kilos.
“These seeds are very good source of fibre, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and lignans, a protein that reduces the quantity of available testosterones in our body. Flax seeds help in utilising the glucose and insulin in the body, cancelling out most of the side effects of PCOS,” says nutritionist and dietician Anusha M. The seeds can either be powdered and added to your breakfast or mixed with juices. You can also add them to your drinking water every day.
Mallika says, “The androgens are not utilised because the ovulation process does not take place. Also, the SHBG protein produced by liver is also pretty low. This is why women have excessive facial hair growth and acne, and trouble conceiving. Tulsi can control androgens and moderate insulin levels. It’s also an excellent antioxidant. Chew at least 10 leaves early in the morning on an empty stomach. Consume boiled tulsi water on a regular basis.”
Obesity and PCOS are by-products of each other. PCOS mess up hormones in the body, and this leads to obesity. If no steps are taken to reduce weight, it could lead to higher order of diseases like arthritis and heart ailments. Anusha adds, “Honey reduces hunger pangs and keeps you full. Mix one tbsp of honey with lemon and lukewarm water and have it only on an empty stomach early in the morning. This aids in losing weight. Do not heat the honey or have it anytime later than, say, 7.30 am, as it can lead to weight gain.”
Bitter gourd and Ivy gourd
Bitter gourd (karela) and ivy gourd (tinda) are prescribed to diabetics to bring the insulin and glucose level under control. The leaves and the vegetables, both, can be consumed by women with PCOS. They can be cooked normally and had at least five times a week. Alternatively, you can also beat karela and consume it in the form of juice.
The Indian gooseberry is a fruit that is adept at controlling blood sugar levels and improving fertility in women. Amla is also rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. Anusha says, “It’s also a very good cleanser; it flushes out the toxins in the body and thus, aids in weight reduction. Take an amla and squeeze out its juice in a glass. Add lukewarm water and consume it. You can also add amla in a cup of yogurt to make raita or eat it raw, minus its seeds.”