One in every ten women has PCOS, an endocrine-metabolic condition that causes hormonal imbalance. It can result in acne, weight gain, unwanted hair growth, irregular periods, and problems with fertility.
While there is no cure yet, you can manage PCOS and its symptoms with a balanced diet, which includes high-fibre foods like flaxseeds.
The tiny golden or brown flaxseeds are a magical food for women with PCOS due to their hormone-balancing abilities. While medicines and conventional treatments also help, flaxseeds can be a safe, all-natural remedy for PCOS.
Flaxseeds: An Overview
Flaxseeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fibre, making them beneficial in treating PCOS. The high levels of fibre, lignan, and antioxidants in flaxseeds help keep hormones in check, making them incredibly effective in managing PCOS symptoms.
You can consume flaxseeds directly or use them as an ingredient in salads, cereals, milkshakes and smoothies. You can also take flaxseeds in powder, capsule, or mixed with regular flour to help prevent diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and cancer.
Flax Seeds and PCOS: The Positive Connection
If you have PCOS, your ovaries produce too many male hormones, which can cause various symptoms, including acne, excessive hair growth, irregular or painful periods, and reproductive problems.
Flaxseed contains phytoestrogens, which are plant-based chemicals that can help balance hormones and may help reduce the levels of androgens in your body.
According to a study, flaxseed supplementation for 12 weeks can help reduce body weight, waist circumference, and BMI in women with PCOS. Obesity is one of the leading causes of PCOS, and flaxseed supplementation can help reduce visceral (abdominal) fat and increase fat oxidation in skeletal muscles.
Another study says taking 15 grams of flaxseed powder in milk every morning for three months can lower the number of follicles in polycystic ovaries and improve menstrual cycles.
How Can Flax Seeds Help With PCOS?
While PCOS treatments like anti-androgens, insulin-lowering agents and combination pills can have severe side effects like painful periods, menstrual irregularities, gastrointestinal distress, weight gain and other issues, flaxseeds reportedly have no such side effects. However, overconsumption of flaxseeds can cause a laxative effect.
Adding flaxseed to your diet can naturally improve PCOS and enhance your reproductive health. Here’s how flax seeds may benefit those who have PCOS.
Promotes Weight Loss
If you are obese, you may be at risk for PCOS. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a healthy weight to control PCOS symptoms. Flax seeds are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and fibre, which can help with weight loss.
Fibre digests slowly, which makes you feel fuller for longer and reduces your calorie intake. Omega-3 fatty acids can also help boost your metabolism, aiding in weight loss.
Reduces Cholesterol Levels
Studies show that women with PCOS are more likely to have high cholesterol. Increased cholesterol levels can raise your chance of developing heart disease. So it’s essential to modify your diet to keep your cholesterol levels in check.
Flaxseeds contain large amounts of lignans, which are polyphenolic compounds. Lignans support the removal of excess cholesterol and prevent its absorption into the bloodstream. Regular consumption of lignans lowers low-density lipoproteins (LDL), or bad cholesterol, in the body.
Support Hormone Balance
Flax seeds are rich in lignans (phytoestrogen), a naturally occurring form of plant-based oestrogen. Lignans may assist your body in eliminating extra androgens produced by the ovaries and balancing the level of female hormones, which could help your menstrual cycle become more regular.
Limits Unwanted Hair Growth
One of the most unpleasant symptoms of PCOS is excessive hair growth in undesirable places, especially on the face and chest. By regulating testosterone levels and reducing hyperandrogenism-related symptoms such as hirsutism, regular use of flax seeds may help you limit unwanted hair growth.
The HealthifyMe Note
Flaxseeds, taken as seeds or powder, can improve the androgen profile in women with PCOS. About 12-week supplementation of 15-30 g/day flaxseed powder manages insulin metabolism, body composition, and inflammation in PCOS women. However, talk to your doctor to determine the safe dosages.
Ways to Eat Flax Seeds for PCOS
You can have flaxseeds at any time of the day, according to your preference. However, having flaxseeds in the morning might increase your metabolism and boost digestion. In addition, limit yourself to 1 to 2 tablespoons of flaxseeds a day.
Here are some other PCOS-friendly tips to follow:
- A simple approach to taking flax seeds is to add them to your morning roti and pancake batter.
- Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of flax seeds to your smoothies to increase their nutritional value and flavour.
- Add some flax seeds to your salads and breakfast cereals.
- Grind flax seeds and add them to gravies and curries.
- Make a trail mix with roasted flaxseeds, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds for added benefits.
PCOS is a complex disease that does not have a known cure. However, one can successfully manage it with healthy lifestyle changes, such as a balanced diet and regular exercise.
In addition, flax seeds, which one should consume about 1 to 2 tablespoons per day, can help reduce male hormone levels and improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels among women with PCOS.