Did you know that your diet plays a major role in your fertility? Inflammatory foods can wreak havoc with your hormones, leave you more susceptible to illnesses and play a factor in infertility.
Here are some of the top inflammatory foods and why you may want to avoid them if you're trying to boost your fertility.
Processed, refined and simple sugars are highly inflammatory and spike blood sugar. Diets high in sugar are linked to inflammation that impacts fertility, causes insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, an increased risk of infection, and weight gain. Interestingly enough, research from the American Society of Reproductive Medicine links high sugar diets with reduced IVF success!
Processed Foods/Convenience Foods
A 2018 Australian study in Human Reproduction showed that women who ate fast food 4 or more times weekly had an 8-16% increase in risk of infertility. These are foods like chips, packaged foods, cereals, snack bars, condiments, frozen meals, and even some canned foods. These all contain ingredients known to increase inflammation. Look for products free of added sugar, salt, preservatives, hydrogenated oils, artificial colors and flavors and anything that has a chemical name you have to sound out to pronounce!
Saturated + Hydrogenated fats/ Most Vegetable oils
Healthy fats help fertility by supporting hormone production and hormone balance. However, the wrong kind of fats mess up your hormones, trigger inflammation and can cause fertility issues.
Trans fats, saturated fats, vegetable oils, and margarine are on the hit list. Studies show that fertility issues and insulin sensitivity increase as the consumption of trans fats increases.
Pesticides & GMOs
Regulations allow for the use of pesticides/herbicides on most food crops. Unfortunately, these chemicals are linked to inflammation and fertility problems in men and women. Women with higher chemical exposure have a 40-70% increased risk in developing endometriosis. Men have lower sperm counts. Unfortunately, the use of these chemicals is so wide spread that even buying organic doesn't eliminate your exposure to them. But, even though you can't avoid them completely, it does help lessen your exposure, and that makes a huge difference!
So What Can You Do?
While looking at the list of foods that can impact fertility may seem daunting (I mean, these ingredients are in just about everything!) there are things you can do to ensure you're eating a healthful diet loaded with nutrients to support fertility.
Focus on organic, whole foods, whole fruits & vegetables, and whole grains.
Enjoy clean (pasture-raised) proteins (wild-caught salmon is a fabulous choice for fertility).
Hydrate properly and make sure you are getting enough fiber to produce 3 healthy bowel movements (1 bowel movement per major meal) daily. This alone can help your body detox and balance hormones.
Reduce refined sugar. You can avoid added sugars by abstaining from foods that contain high fructose corn syrup, fructose, sucrose, dextrose, maltose, glucose, lactose, brown sugar, rice syrup, agave, malt syrup, raw sugar, turbinado sugar and fruit juice concentrates (yes, that is quite the list!)
Avoid unhealthy fats. The easiest way is to focus on using healthy fats like avocado, nuts, nut butters, coconut, ghee, avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, & raw coconut oil.
Avoid non-organic, CAFO raised animal products, items on the Dirty Dozen list, farmed fish, and GMO foods (corn, soy, canola, wheat and rice).
Simply switching from processed foods to whole foods and increasing your (clean) water intake will make a HUGE difference. This is because when you make the switch to whole foods, you automatically eliminate foods high in sugars, trans fats, and other toxic ingredients. And increasing your water intake helps your body better eliminate toxins that are stored in your body, helping to reduce your toxic load and support healthy hormone balance.
There are many factors that can contribute to your fertility, and inflammatory foods is just one of them. In my DIY course, Fertility & Preparing Your Body for Pregnancy, you'll address all aspects of your life that may be affecting optimal fertility.
Fertility journeys are different for everyone. They range from those who just want to optimize their overall health before pregnancy to those who have been diagnosed with infertility. Wherever you are on your fertility journey, this course will empower you with the knowledge, tools, & support necessary for you to create your path into Motherhood.
Not ready for a full on course? Check out my free 3-Day Fertility Detox. You'll learn the importance of detoxing to restore hormonal balance, how hormones become out of balance in the first place, what you can do to maintain hormone balance, PLUS a 3-day nutrition plan to support your 3 day detox.
As always, I'm wishing you health & happiness on your journey.