Diet, Exercise & Infertility

July 17, 2008

Diet Affects Everything

It's no secret that we are what we eat - and that our lives are much better when we're taking good care of our bodies.  Heart disease, cancer and diabetes are but a few of the many health issues that have been impacted by simple changes in diet and lifestyle.  Now, the concept is moving to another level and women who have been struggling with infertility issues are being introduced to a new way of handling the problem.

Recent studies by Harvard researchers Dr. Jorge E. Chavarro and Dr. Walter C. Willett, along with findings from a very large Nurses' Health Study, have come up with some diet ideas which may well revolutionize the thinking around infertility.  One of the factors which became clear in the Nurses' Health Study, involving over 18,000 women over an eight-year follow-up program, was that there are definitely food factors which can impact fertility - even preventing and reversing ovulatory infertility which is the underlying cause of more than a quarter of all infertility cases.

The Fertility Diet

"The Fertility Diet", the book published by Drs. Chavarro and Willett, shows very persuasively that exercising, eating vegetables, drinking lots of water and indulging in whole milk products, including ice cream, can very well be the key to conceiving.

Good Carbs

Eating the right kind of carbohydrates, like the slow burning variety found in high fiber fruits and vegetables and whole grain products, are important in helping to keep blood sugar and insulin levels in check.  When these levels rise too much then the reproductive hormone balance is disrupted and ovulation is out of sync.  Simple carbs such as white rice, white flour and sugar are metabolized too quickly and turn to sugar which then is stored as fat.

Plant Proteins

The right kinds of proteins are equally important and the interesting finding regarding protein is that a shortage of plant protein has a profound effect upon fertility.  It's good to have animal and fish proteins, but the Study indicated that the instance of ovulatory infertility in women who ate meat as their primary source of protein was 39% higher than those who did not rely on meat as their main protein source.  Conversely, women who relied on plant protein were less likely to suffer with infertility.

Healthy Fats

A healthy BMI for women is between 20 and 24.  Women who measure below 20 have problems conceiving because the lack body fat while women with a BMI of over 30 are considered obese and have difficulties as well.  Maintaining a healthy weight and consuming healthy fats helps most women to ovulate regularly as well as helping minimize complications such as gestational diabetes should pregnancy occur.  Trans fats should be entirely avoided, whether trying to conceive or not.  Unsaturated fats are considered good fats and give fertility a boost.

And Ice Cream!!

Dairy is the final part of the equation.  It was found that whole milk and whole milk products were significant aids in fertility while low fat and skim milk products did just the opposite.  So, by eating well and even enjoying some ice cream, a woman can increase her chances of beating infertility.

 

 

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