This makes PCOS one of the most common health conditions affecting women’s health and quality of life.
There are 3 features of PCOS, which may suggest you have this condition :
- Irregular Periods
- High androgen (“male” hormones)
- Polycystic ovaries (small follicles surrounding your ovaries)
The PCOS symptoms that you may experience include irregular menstrual cycle, infertility, hormonal imbalances, acne, increased facial hair, weight gain, blood sugar issues, metabolic syndrome, and others.
Even though this condition cannot be reversed or cured, there are various treatment methods that can be used for effective management of symptoms. And while popular treatment may include intake of prescribed medication (e.g., Metformin), hormonal birth control pills, and anti-androgen drugs, there are various natural methods that can help you improve PCOS symptoms. 
This article will guide you through the lifestyle changes, the holistic methods, and foods that can help PCOS patients manage the symptoms of their condition.
Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
Natural treatment plans for PCOS
Generally speaking, there are 4 kinds of PCOS depending on what combination of concerns you have. Depending on what combination of concerns you have, you will fall into 1 of the 4 categories. This is why we can’t treat every PCOS patient the same. There are some general things that would be helpful in most cases, ie moderate exercise, but when it comes to supplements, medication, herbal medicine, and even specific dietary interventions, it is best to take an individualized approach.
That being said, once you have figured out your own unique risk factors, PCOS is a very treatable condition!
Unfortunately, the exact cause for PCOS is not known. Yet, there are various factors that may increase the predisposition to this health condition: genes, high androgen levels, insulin resistance (which may lead to prediabetes), and obesity.    
That being said, making suitable lifestyle changes (mainly affecting physical activity, diet, and weight loss) can really make a difference in the wellbeing of PCOS patients.
Evidence suggests that exercising may improve body composition (reduce body fat) of PCOS patients, as well as balance the regularity of menstrual cycles and ovulation. Besides, working out regularly may improve the insulin sensitivity of patients with insulin resistance and PCOS. 
Furthermore, exercise is one of the best things you can do for improving insulin resistance and regulating our blood sugars. This is important because 70-95% of the \'overweight PCOS\' people also have insulin resistance.
But what are the best exercises for PCOS? According to a 2020 study published in the Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology, vigorous aerobic exercises may improve insulin resistance, while yoga, resistance and strength training may balance androgen levels. 
According to a 2017 review paper published in the Nutrients Journal, weight loss is often recommended as first-line PCOS therapy, as it may positively affect all PCOS features (hormones, menstrual cycle regularity, and ovary condition.)  The source suggests that weight loss may reduce the risk of metabolic and fertility complications, resulting from PCOS.
Yet, PCOS patients may find weight management more challenging than healthy individuals, as hormonal imbalances may trouble the efficiency of weight loss results.
Knowing which affliction you are dealing with allows you to customize your weight loss plan and achieve better results.
Specific supplements may be an effective complementary treatment method. Yet, they are unlikely to significantly improve PCOS symptoms when used alone (when not in combination with diet, weight loss plan, or regular exercising.)
According to a 2018 review paper published in the Journal of Turkish-German Gynecological Association, specific nutrient deficiencies may worsen PCOS symptoms and increase the risk of complications.  The source suggests that supplementation with the following compounds and nutrients may improve PCOS symptoms associated with insulin resistance:
- Vitamin D
- NAC (N-acetyl cysteine)
- Alpha lipoic acid
Furthermore, the supplementation with the following nutrients was suggested to support PCOS recovery related to metabolic and fertility issues, as well as hyperandrogenism (too much “male” hormones):
- Vitamin A
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- NAC (N-acetyl cysteine)
- However, it should be noted that more research is needed to define the safety and efficacy of long-term supplementation.
According to a 2014 paper published in the BMC Journal of Complementary Medicine and Therapies, specific herbs (when used in right amounts and concentrations) may positively affect the wellbeing of PCOS patients. 
- Monnikspeper (Vitex agnus-castus) and Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) were found to positively affect fertility and period regularity.
- Chinese cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia) was associated with improved metabolic hormones in PCOS patients.
- Spearmint and flaxseed have both been shown to lower androgens (ie testosteron) in women with higher than normal levels.
Furthermore, a 2019 study in the International Journal of Women’s Health and Reproduction Sciences suggests that the supplementation with cinnamon alone (or in combination with other herbs) may positively affect fasting blood sugar, fasting insulin, triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL (bad cholesterol), malondialdehyde, total testosterone, and free testosterone levels- markers closely associated with PCOS. This way, cinnamon may improve PCOS symptoms. 
Weight loss being the primary goal of PCOS patients, diet based on caloric deficit (consume less calories than you burn) is highly recommended. Of course, such a deficit depends on multiple factors, including resting metabolic rate (burning between 60-80% of daily calories), lifestyle, and physical activity. Furthermore, there are no specific dietary guidelines for PCOS patients.
The suggestion for tailored dietary plans for PCOS patients is also supported by other pieces of evidence. However, these evidence imply that fiber-rich foods, foods with low-glycemic index (like bamboo shoots) and low in saturated fat content (substituted with polyunsaturated fats instead) can be a good foundation for PCOS diet guidelines. 
Foods to eat with PCOS
As mentioned, PCOS diet includes mainly whole fiber-rich foods, foods with low glycemic index, and polyunsaturated (healthy) fats. Below you’ll find examples of suitable foods:
- Leafy vegetables (e.g., cabbage, kale, lettuce, spinach, brussels sprouts)
- Root vegetables (e.g., carrots, celeriac, radish, turnip)
- Squash (e.g., courgettes, cucumber, squash, pumpkin)
- Stalk vegetables (e.g., asparagus, celery, leeks, spring onions)
- Legumes (beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas)
- Soy **Organic only
- Citrus fruits (oranges, tangerines, grapefruits)
- Berries (strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, etc.)
- Whole grains
- Brown rice
- Low fat dairy
- Skimmed milk
- Yogurt and kefir without added sugar
Meat and poultry
- Chicken (without skin)
- Lean cuts of meat (occasionally)
- All fish
- Crab and lobster
- All nuts (except cashew)
- Olives and olive oil
- Unrefined vegetable oils