BALANCED NUTRITION TO ENHANCE FERTILITY (Part 1) 

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After such a concentration on the clinical side of infertility, this week, we will take a look at Nutrition and its vital role in fertility.

Maintaining a healthy diet is essential at every point in a person’s life but it is especially important and recommended for all couple trying for conception, via natural process or Assisted Reproductive Techniques such as IVF. According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), approximately 1 in 10 women will experience infertility. While there is no such thing as magical fertility diet, our nutrition plays a vital role to the body’s functions, fertility and general wellbeing. Adequate nutrition will promote optimum weight, hormonal balance which eventually enhances spontaneous ovulation for the female and quality sperm production for the male.

Numerous studies have shown that specific changes to diet can improve fertility, prevent recurrent miscarriages, support a healthy pregnancy and enhance delivery of a live healthy baby.

WHAT IS FERTILITY DIET?

A fertility diet contains natural balanced food products that are known to support your body in its reproductive functions. It includes foods which are dense in some specific nutrients needed for hormonal production/ function and balance, fetalhealth development, egg / sperm health, blood health and much more. It is a diet that is designed to help your body to balance fertility issues that may exist, build up nutrition stores and provide all of the building blocks for a healthy child.

WHY EAT A NATURAL FERTILITY DIET? DO YOU KNOW:

❖ The foods you eat today impact the health of your sperm and eggs 90 days from the day eaten?

❖ Hormones build themselves from the ingredient you provide through your diet?

❖ There are specific nutrients that are needed by the young fetus (growing baby in the womb) before you can even detect pregnancy and deficiency of these nutrients can cause serious birth defects?

❖ The number one treatment for balancing Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and getting pregnant despite PCOS is majorly diet?

❖ One major cause of infertility is anovulation (lack of ovulation) and that it can often be corrected by changes in our diet?

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THE BENEFITS OF EATING RIGHT FOR EFRTILITY

❖ Provides antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which help to protect eggs and sperm health from the damage caused by free radicals.

❖ Helps the body maintain  hormonal balance by providing the fat necessary for hormonal production and function

❖ Provides the body with the abundance of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants necessary for optimal health

❖ May decrease the chances of miscarriage resulting from insulin resistance and damage from free radicals to the eggs or sperm and DNA

❖ Support  a healthy reproductive system and helps to build important nutrient store for pregnancy

❖ Promotes energy and vitality

DIETARY INTAKE /FOOD SOURCES TO BOOST FERTILITY

❖ Water

Drink lots of clean water daily. Approximately 1.5-3 Liters recommended

Avoid fizzy, sugary drinks.

❖ Antioxidants, Minerals and Vitamins 

  • COQ10: This enzyme is necessary for energy production at the mitochondrial level, improves eggs and sperm health and motility.  Protect cells from free radical thus preventing DNA damage. COQ 10 amount in the body declines with age, hence supplementation of the prepared doses of about 200mg or more daily may be recommended after age 30 in humans where percentile depreciation of health is more visible.

Food sources: Sea foods from clean/fresh water sources and organic meat.

  • Selenium:this is an antioxidant that helps to protect the eggs and sperm from free radicals which can cause chromosomal damages known to be a cause of miscarriages and birth defects. It is an essential vitamin for sperm creation.

Food sources: liver, cod, shrimp, mushroom, turkey, Brazil nut, tuna fish, salmon fish, sardine fish.

  • Zinc: In women zinc works with over 300 different enzymes in the body to maintain body functions and processes. Without it our body cells will not divide properly, and may create imbalance between the female fertility hormones (oestrogen-progesterone) and this alters reproductive function. Research has proven that low level of zinc was associated with early pregnancy loss. Zinc can be damaged by cooking so it is important to eat some food high in zinc in their raw forms.

Food sources: calf liver, oyster, beef, lamb, pumpkin seeds, yoghurt, green peas, shrimps, turkey

  • Lipoic acid:A very important antioxidants that improve female reproductive organ, sperm quality and motility. Also it helps the body to continually re-use the antioxidants in the body.

Food sources: Small amount is obtained from potatoes, spinach and lean red meat.

  • Vitamin B5: It is one of the most important vitamins for human life, it is necessary for making blood and helps convert food eaten into energy. It is useful for production of sex hormones and stress counteringhormones from the adrenal glands

Food sources: Mushrooms, eggs, avocados, oily fish,beef, chicken, turkey, lean pork, cheese, and sweetpotatoes.

  • Vitamin B6: Useful as a hormone regulator. It may also help to regulate blood sugar, alleviate pre-menstrual syndrome and may be helpful in relieving symptoms of morning sickness.

Food sources: Banana, tuna fish, salmon fish, liver, spinach, cabbage, garlic, broccoli, peppers, turkey, cod, mustard greens.

  • Vitamin B9 (Folic acid/folate):This is the best known vitamins for pregnancy. It prevents birth defects like neural tube defect, congenital heart defects, cleft palate, cleft lips, limbs defect, and urinary tract abnormality in the developing fetus. Deficiency of folic may increase the risk of preterm labour, fetal growth retardation (baby stops growing suddenly), low birth weight baby and can predispose to other complications for the mother such as spontaneous pregnancy loss, placenta abruption and pre-eclampsia.

Food sources: Liver, lentils, pinto beans, spinach, kidney beans, black beans, green leafy vegetable

  • Vitamin B12: Improves sperm quality and production. It may also help to boost the preparation of the endometrium lining (baby bed), boost fertilization and decrease the chance of miscarriage. Deficiency has been proven to increase the incidence of irregular ovulation and in some cases cessation of ovulation.

Food sources: Fish, meat, egg, milk, liver, sardines, tuna, fortified cereals, clams.

                   …………………………………….…………………………………………………..TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK