Staying hydrated is something you’ve been told is a pillar of wellness all your life—from your (clued-in, although you’d probably never admit it to her) mother to countless health articles (cough). But it’s particularly essential if you’re dealing with PCOS (AKA polycystic ovary syndrome).
Roughly one in ten women deal with the hormonal condition, which means you may have cysts on your ovaries, infertility issues, and other health problems like imbalanced hormones. That includes women’s health specialist Nicole Granato, who learned that what she ingests plays a major influence on her struggle with the condition.
“What I really noticed after being diagnosed is that so many of your symptoms can really be managed by doing the healthy basics,” she says. In particular, Granato realized that drinking enough of the right fluids affected her body’s ability to function at its best.
“We’re primarily water, so if you don’t have enough liquid in you, everything gets affected.”
“Hydration leads back to everything at the root of your body,” she explains. “We’re primarily water, so if you don’t have enough liquid in you, everything gets affected—from your tissues to your body’s ability to fight disease and digest properly. Without proper hydration, your body is more susceptible to being attacked by viruses.”
The best things to drink? Besides water of course (the OG and most fundamental form of hydration), it’s all about what keeps things flowing within your body—which includes certain teas and vinegars that can help break up cysts or bacteria that’s lingering inside, according to Granato. “This way, your body can bring in essential nutrients, which is essential for hormonal imbalances and PCOS,” she says.
And as crazy as it sounds, the health specialist insists that some women have even seen their cysts exit the body. “This can occur naturally by drinking healing and powerful plants,” she adds. Yet another winning case for what’s found in nature.
Here are 5 beverages to reach for if you’re dealing with PCOS.
1. Aloe water
If it feels like aloe water is water times 10, that’s because the healing plant basically is. “Aloe hydrates deeply and provides extra lubrication within your body to help support the removal of buildup of chemicals,” says Granato. “Since much of the toxicity you consume builds up in your bowels, drinking this plant helps get things moving to release anything your body’s trying to let go of.”
Aloe is also known for its antibacterial properties, which helps to clean out the digestive tract (and if you have PCOS, you want that). “Aloe is really great to take in the morning,” Granato says. “After waking up from a fast, it goes through your system as a sort of cleanse as you start your day.”
Yes, fruity tea is delicious—but sometimes it comes with an added health boost. “Raspberry leaf tea is great for improving fertility,” says Granato (studies back her up on this). Drinking this powerful herb is good for clearing the congestion in the feminine organ area, which is key. “It focuses on the ovaries and uterus, which is important—with PCOS, you’re trying to break up any stagnation in that area, so this tea helps with that.”
This tart multitasker is revered by wellness gurus for its alkalizing powers, which balances your body’s pH (among many other LinkedIn-worthy abilities). No surprise that it’s also an essential drink for hormonal imbalances. “In an alkaline environment, disease can’t survive—so with PCOS, improving your digestion with apple cider vinegar makes sure the cysts don’t have anything to feed and won’t be able to survive on,” claims Granato. “They’ll actually slowly start getting smaller.” Though there aren’t yet studies to back this up, plenty of homeopathic remedy advocates swear by its capabilities—just drink it diluted in water, not in shot form (as this editor, who drank ACV for a week, learned the hard way).
“Chlorophyl is essentially the blood in plants,” Granato explains. “It has a lot of iron, magnesium, and vitamins that help build up your blood and oxygenate it so that it’s more pure.” She recommends adding one tablespoon to a cup of water—it’s surprisingly simple to make the buzzy green drink for yourself.
The MVP of the soothing beverage world not only helps calm your nerves, but it also turns down the level of anxiety experienced by the systems within your body. “Chamomile is really amazing for the nervous system and keeping it calm,” says Granato. “That’s important with PCOS because it’s such an emotional issue—your emotions can take over what’s going on in the body and cause damage within your immune system. So this tea helps relax all of that.”
Beverages are powerful in so many ways—here are 6 teas to drink for radiant skin. And this adaptogen superherb provides skin, hair, and sex-drive benefits.