Fertility | Lifestyle Advice
I have a few clients that are trying to conceive, and the question I get asked often is
“What can they do to maximise their chances”
So here are some things that you can incorporate into your lifestyle to help get your body into peak health for both men and women, as the saying goes “it takes two to tango”.
To make sure your body is a healthy place for a baby to grow and mature, a diet full of wholesome and nutritious food is a great starting point. By eating regular meals this will help reduce low blood sugar levels, which can interfere with hormone balance.
Cooking fresh meals from scratch, although can be more time consuming, this will reduce the amount of “junk” food consumed and provide all the vitamins and minerals that the body needs.
Eat a variety of fruit and vegetables every day to make sure you are getting all the minerals and vitamins you need.
Try to eat as much organic meat and produce as possible, this will help reduce xeno-oestrogens, which are found in fertilisers and pesticides, and these mimic oestrogenic effects on the body and can interfere with hormone balance.
To combat an excess of oestrogen in the body it’s good to eat foods that contain phyto-oestrogens, which are found in pulses, flaxseed and soya.
We should eat plenty of foods containing the essential fatty acids Omega 3, 6 and 9, which are found in oily fish, flaxseed (linseed), shellfish, hemp oil, pumpkin, sunflower and chia seeds, leafy vegetables and walnuts.
Some extra diet tips for the man in your life:
Brazil nuts contain a rich mineral supply of selenium, and eating just 2 Brazil nuts a day seems to help boost sperm production and improve their swimming ability.
Eating foods rich in Vitamin C can assist in the production of healthy sperm, and reduces their tendency to clump together. Kiwi fruits, peppers, dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, broccoli and guavas are high in Vitamin C.
Another mineral that if deficient in men can cause low or decreased sperm count, and that is Zinc. Amongst other things, Zinc is used to make the outer layer and tail of the sperm, so a deficiency would cause a major problem to your fertility. Foods high in zinc are beef, venison and poultry, eggs, whole grains, seeds such as sesame and pumpkin, dairy and oysters.
There is always a debate on what is a the best source of water, is it tap? or bottled?
With tap water, the problem is that oestrogen’s excreted from women, may not be fully filtered from the water and then you end up with, erm… drinking it! Which can have an effect on both male and female fertility.
The other argument is with water in plastic bottles. Plastic contains a chemical called Bisphenol A (BPA), which can leech into the water in tiny amounts, which you’ve guessed it…. you drink!
Although, not proven, it has been accused of causing health problems such as infertility and miscarriage.
So, to be on the safe side use filtered water and pour into glass bottles, to keep in the fridge.
Being as close to your ideal weight is important when you start trying for a baby. In order to ovulate most women need a body fat of about 20%.
Conversely, being overweight can impact fertility too, as fat cells produce oestrogen, and can cause overweight women to become oestrogen dominant, so if you have an oestrogen sensitive condition such as P.C.O.S. or Endometriosis, together with excess weight this would compound the problem and can cause more hormone disruption and menstrual irregularities.
So in order to lose/gain weight, this should be done slowly (no fad diets!), and by eating healthy and wholesome foods.
I highly recommend you check out James Duigan’s Clean and Lean diet books, it’s a good guide to what foods are good to eat and why certain foods can cause a problem (amazon) (link)
We all know that tobacco is not good for us, and for some women it can decrease fertility, so for those wishing to adopt a healthier lifestyle, it might be an idea for both you and your partner to seriously consider reducing or even eliminating tobacco completely.
Research has mixed results as to whether caffeine affects fertility or not. But it has been found that caffeine can have an effect on oestrogen, causing higher levels in the blood, so again with oestrogen sensitive conditions it might be a benefit to reduce your consumption of caffeine to less than 2 cups of coffee per day, so you can still enjoy your morning cuppa!
I hope this blog post helps you, if you have any other suggestions or comments, please share below.