By Amy Medling, Founder of PCOS Diva
You eat right. You move it every day. You practice extreme self-care. You are a PCOS Diva! Every positive choice you make improves your health. Unfortunately, there is one thing that many women miss. Environmental toxins in our air, food, water, and even grocery receipts all build up in women with PCOS and work as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), making our symptoms worse. Just like it sounds, these toxins block or mimic our natural hormones and actually disrupt the balance we work so hard to achieve.
While it is impossible to avoid every toxin, there are things you can do today to reduce their impact.
- First, don’t panic. Worrying about every incidental exposure will cause anxiety and stress that can make things worse.
- Second, filter your water and choose your animal proteins and produce carefully. Check out the Environmental Working Groups Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists for a start.
- Third, once or twice a year, do a gentle, whole food cleanse that is balanced enough for women with PCOS. You want a detox/cleanse which lifts the load from your liver so that it can do its job and naturally detoxify your entire body. It should not cause stress to your GI tract or use harsh chemicals, artificial sweeteners, or practice radical fasting. I run the PCOS Diva Sparkle Detox every spring and fall. I designed it especially for those of us thriving with PCOS.
- Fourth, choose foods that cleanse your system all the time. Especially look for high fiber foods. Below are 10 of my favorites, but you can learn about many more in both the Sparkle program and my article, Spring Foods You Should Be Eating.
10 Superfoods for Cleansing with PCOS
Apples – Apples are high in phytonutrients and antioxidants which protect the body from free radicals, and fiber which binds to cholesterol and heavy metals to help eliminate toxins from your GI tract.
Avocados – I love avocados, so the fact that they are cleansing is a bonus. Try mashed avocado as a substitute for mayonnaise on a gluten-free wrap sandwich. Delicious! These fiber-filled powerhouses also contain fatty acids and glutathione. This compound blocks 30 different carcinogens and some fats which cause oxidative damage and is necessary for the liver to do its natural cleansing.
Beets – The deep red color of beets is also their super power. This pigment has powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. Beets have particular effect in the liver where they promote cell repair and regeneration.
Cabbage – I know. It’s smelly, but it is delicious and a powerful detoxifier. Cabbage is loaded with anticancer and antioxidant compounds as well as sulfur (thus, the smell) which helps your body break down toxins so they can be more easily expelled. Helping this process is that cabbage is a natural diuretic and helps flush the toxins your body is sluffing off during the detox.
Fennel – Already high in fiber, fennel is packed with vitamins and anti-inflammatory chemicals. Its high level of vitamin C delivers antimicrobial and antioxidant power.
Flaxseed – I use flaxseed all year long, especially in my morning smoothie. These tiny little seeds are packed with omega-3s and other essential fatty acids. Not only that, they contain a stunning amount of soluble and insoluble fiber as well as antioxidants.
Greens – Kale, spinach, bok choy, collard greens… I could go on and on. There are lots of great greens out there. They are all great sources of glutathione, fiber, and antioxidants. Eat several servings of these per day. Steam them. Put them in soups, salads, or smoothies – just get them in!
Green tea – My love affair with tea is no secret. Its mind/body/spirit healing power makes it a treasured part of my day. While my love is not limited to green tea, I particularly recommend it during a detox. It is richer in antioxidants than most other teas.
Garlic – This versatile bulb boosts production of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant. It is also a broad-spectrum anti-bacterial agent and boasts immune-boosting properties. Use raw for best results.
Lemons – Fresh lemon (not bottled, please) contains vitamin C which boosts the production of glutathione. I start every day with lemon water in order to boost my metabolism and prepare my digestive system for optimal nutrient absorption. It is my daily mini-detox.
All of these foods should be included in a healthy detox/cleanse like PCOS Diva Sparkle, but enjoy them year-round to help your liver naturally detoxify. Food is medicine, and these powerhouses can help!
For information about great supplements for detox, check out Great Supplements for Detoxification with PCOS.
Amy Medling, best-selling author of Healing PCOS and certified health coach, specializes in working with women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), who are frustrated and have lost all hope when the only solution their doctors offer is to lose weight, take a pill, and live with their symptoms. In response, Amy founded PCOS Diva and developed a proven protocol of supplements, diet, and lifestyle programs that offer women tools to help gain control of their PCOS and regain their fertility, femininity, health, and happiness.