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Guide to Treating Hirsutism   ( Home | Diet | Foods | Recipes )

12 Best Food Remedies for Hirsutism: From Spearmint to Green Tea

Food Remedies for Hirsutism

Learn how you can prevent and treat hirsutism by incorporating the best foods and drinks for hirsute women into your eating plan! From spearmint tea and green tea to sunflower seeds and wheat germ, the scope of food remedies recommended for hirsuite women is wide and varied. Here's our pick of the 12 best remedies:

#1: Green Tea

Green tea has long been touted for its weight loss promoting properties, but recent scientific evidence suggests that it may also be helpful for treating hormone-related hirsutism. A specific polyphenol found in green tea (the so-called (-)epigallocatechin-3-gallate) has been shown to modulate the production and actions of androgens and other hormones. To maximize the release of (-)epigallocatechin-3-gallate, choose loose green tea leaves instead of tea bags and let the tea steep for five minutes. You may also want to add a bit of lemon juice or other vitamin C rich juice to your tea — research indicates that vitamin C can increase the amount of catechins available to the body.

#2: Cinnamon

Cinnamon has some extraordinary properties that may help increase insulin sensitivity and thus treat hirsutism in insulin resitant women. A mere half a teaspoon of cinnamon per day has been shown to be very effective at normalizing blood sugar levels and reducing food cravings. The main active ingredient in cinnamon is called hydroxychalcone, which is thought to enhance the effect of insulin. Cinnamon also appears to prevent post-meal blood sugar spikes by slowing the gastric emptying rate (GER), which means that the food remains in the stomach longer.

#3: Spearmint

Turkish researchers have found that spearmint may provide relief to hirsute women. They found that women who consumed a cup of spearmint tea twice a day for five days had reduced levels free active testosterone in the blood, which are often responsible for hirsutism. The study looked at the effects of spearmint tea in 21 women, 12 of whom had polycystic ovary syndrome.

#4: Lettuce

Rich in chromium, romaine lettuce is a great food for hirsute women.

Lettuce is a low calorie food that can be used as a basis for light, delectable salads. But it does not always have to be iceberg lettuce! Romaine lettuce offers a multitude of health benefits, particularly for women who suffer from hirsutism. Romaine lettuce is packed with the trace mineral chromium which is a component of the glucose tolerance factor (GTF). The glucose tolerance factor helps maintain normal blood glucose levels by increasing the efficiency of insulin. This will fight insulin resistance which is often associated with hirsutism. Furthermore, chromium promotes weight loss due to its ability to help control hunger and cravings. Deficiencies in chromium are fairly common among people whose diet is based on processed foods, as processing significantly decrease the chromium content of foods. Also physically active people and people who consume lots of coffee, tea, or sugar have an elevated risk of being deficient in chromium. The absorption of chromium from romaine lettuce is believed to be particularly good because it also contains vitamin C which is known to enhance the absorption of chromium.

#5: Crimini Mushrooms

Great news for all mushroom lovers: crimini mushrooms are a great functional food for those suffering from hirsutism. They are one of the best low-calorie sources of B vitamins, particularly of vitamin B2 which is essential for normal thyroid function and metabolism and which can thus help reduce excess body weight. They are also rich in vitamin B3, which helps keep blood sugar on an even keel, and vitamin B5 which may aid in weight loss efforts due to its ability to control fat metabolism. Crimini mushrooms can be served raw or cooked. When serving them raw, you may want to sprinkle them with a little lemon juice to prevent them from turning dark brown.

#6: Apricots

Apricots are a good source of almost all B complex vitamins, but they are particularly rich in vitamin B3, vitamin B5, and vitamin B6. These three B vitamins are thought to be particularly beneficial for hirsute women. Vitamin B3 helps maintain normal blood sugar levels while vitamin B5 may help with weight loss due to its ability to control fat metabolism. Vitamin B6 plays a critical role in maintaining hormonal balance. When buying abricots, it is wise to choose organically grown fruit whenever possible. According to research, conventionally grown abricots often contain high levels of pesticides, including captan, which is a probable human carcinogen.

Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds are supercharged with hirsutism-fighting nutrients.

#7: Sunflower Seeds

If you study the nutrition facts label on a bag of sunflower seeds, you will learn that these little, mild nutty tasting seeds are very high in calories and fat. That should, however, not be a reason to shy away from them. Despite being rich in calories and fat, sunflower seeds can offer a multitude of health benefits — especially to hirsute women — if you consume them in moderation. Sunflower feature vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), a stellar nutrient combo for fighting unwanted body hair. What's more, sunflower seeds are loaded with magnesium.

#8: Licorice Root

Glycyrrhizin in licorice root has been shown to significantly reduce plasma testosterone, which may be good news for women with elevated testosterone levels and/or hirsutism. Researchers in Italy gave healthy women between 22 and 26 years of age licorice containing 120 mg of glycyrrhizin daily for two menstrual cycles. At the beginning of the trial, the average plasma testosterone stood at 27.8 ng/dL. After the first cycle, it had dropped to 19 ng/dL and after the second cycle to 17.5 ng/dL. After the trial period the testosterone levels of the test subjects rapidly returned to the pretreatment values. It appears that glycyrrhizin inhibits an enzyme required for the production of testosterone. If you intend to consume licorice in an effort to keep testosterone-linked hirsutism under control, keep in mind that frequent consumption of large quantities of licorice may cause high blood pressure, edema, depletion of potassium, headache, heart problems, and other health complications.

#9: Wheat Germ

Wheat germ is a great food to include in your diet if you are concerned about hirsutism. It provides a concentrated source of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), with a mere cup of crude wheat germ delivering a whopping 75% of the recommended daily intake for this important vitamin. Wheat germ is also loaded with other B vitamins as well as magnesium. Try adding wheat germ to breads, cereals, muesli, milk shakes, or pancakes — it makes a highly nutritious, yet undetectable addition! When storing wheat germ, keep in mind that it goes rancid fast because of its unsaturated fat content. To optimize the shelf life of this nutritional powerhouse food, store it in a sealed container in a cool, dry place away from exposure to the sun.

Can't wait to jazz up your favorite smoothies, salads, and yogurt with wheat germ? Check out the article Where to Buy Wheat Germ for tips on how to get the most out of your next wheat germ purchase.

#10: Tuna

Inclusion of tuna in the diet can be helpful for hirsute women whose hirsutism is linked to excess body weight. Each can of water-packed tuna contains about 33 grams of protein and no fat or carbohydrates. In comparison to fat and carbohydrates, protein has a very high thermogenic effect (20-30 percent), which means that the body burns a significant share of the calories provided by a protein-rich food, such as tuna, in the process of breaking down and digesting the food. But that's hardly tuna's only hirsutism-fighting property: tuna is also loaded with B vitamins which are important for hirsute women. However, when adding tuna to your anti-hirsutism diet it is important keep it in moderation. Too frequent/high a consumption of tuna and other fish may predispose you to an excessive exposure to certain toxins, such as mercury, contained in fish. Many experts recommend eating only six servings or less of tuna (canned Chunk Light) and other similar fish per month (canned White Albacore should be consumed even less frequently). Especially pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as women who intend to become pregnant should be particularly careful because toxins in fish can be extremely harmful to fetuses and newborn babies.

#11: Barley

Barley has the lowest Glycemic Index (GI) rating of all common grains. Carbs that have a high Glycemic Index (GI) rating are quickly broken down by the body and cause a rapid, large rise in blood glucose levels, which in turn generally triggers the pancreas to release large amounts of insulin. In contrast, low-GI carbs, which take much longer to digest, typically cause only a small, slow rise in the blood glucose and insulin levels. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy, but excess insulin in the bloodstream can lead to a sharp increase in circulating androgen and insulin-like growth factor, which have been associated with hirsutism in women. Hulled barley, the least processed and most nutrient-dense type of barley, is still relatively difficult to find in regular grocery stores, but it is increasingly available in health food stores and online shops (see where to buy whole grain barley).

#12: Skinless Chicken

If you are concerned about hirsutism and excess weight, chicken breast is a good food to add to your shopping list. Skinless chicken breast packs a protein punch but has a very low fat and carbohydrate content, which may help fight excess fat associated with hirsutism. Chicken is also a good source of many anti-hirsutism vitamins, including vitamin B3 and vitamin B6.

For further information on hirsutism and nutrition, see: