Fertility and miscarriage issues are on the rise, and a source of great distress for couples who dearly want children. Head Nutritionist of the New You Boot Camp, Mary-Lou Harris (FdSc, Dip ION, ITEC) has a particularly successful rate in this area, when her clients commit to changing their food habits and lifestyles. Mary-Lou typically finds that stress levels are a key factor in fertility problemsâ€¦more particularly for the women. These ladies move from stressed and reactive endocrine (stress hormones) health to a calmer internal environment that is able to conceive, by eating Stress-busting foods like eggs, oily fish, brown rice and pumpkin seeds, Furthermore, by managing blood sugar levels Stress levels are managed better in the body. This is achieved by changing white refined carbohydrates to unrefined vegetables and low sugar fruits, replacing sugary and canned drinks for low sugar fresh juice and water, and caffeinated drinks and alcohol for herbal teas and sparkling water or Elderflower type drinks, and stopping smoking,
There is a lot of research suggesting the link between stress and infertility and here is a great article we found http://www.parents.com/getting-pregnant/fertility/boost/fertility-conditions-stress-and-fertility/
Fish is an often misunderstood area when it comes to pregnancy and fertility. The omega 3 rich oily fish are outstanding to improve fertility in both men and women. The confusion kicks in with the subject of PCBs, which are a type of banned chemical. Unfortunately, enough remains in the environment to accumulate in fish, so Mary-Lou (who has lovingly been nicknamed The Fertility Witch by one of her clients, suggests reducing or avoiding the large fish that eat other smaller fish (e.g. fresh tuna, swordfish, shark, marlin) as they will contain higher levels of these chemicals, similar to the toxic mercury levels. Have at least 4 portions of smaller oily fish (e.g. wild (not farmed or even organic) salmon, mackerel, sardines, kippers, herring) a week.
Vitamin D deficiency is implicated in lowered fertility, so get at least 20 minutes of sun exposure a day where possible (even on overcast days) eat cod and take a good vitamin D3 supplement in winter.
Antioxidant vitamins C and E, minerals zinc and selenium and other antioxidants are vital for male and female fertility. Nuts (not peanuts or soy) and seeds, fresh organic vegetables of varying colours, like red, yellow and orange peppers, kale, spinach, organic eggs, and oily fish are all Fabulous Fertility Foods.
If you must have dairy products, she says keep them organic as Bovine Growth Hormone is commonly added to commercial dairy and have been implicated in male fertility problems.
Non-fermented soy products (miso, tempeh and tamari sauce are all fermented) are loaded with hormone-like substances and can be disruptive as they mimic oestrogens. This can lead to reduced fertility in men and hormone imbalance in women. Mary-Lou and the New You Boot Camp vegetarian and vegan clients do not eat soy at all. A healthy and diverse range of foods consisting of pulses, seeds, nuts, brown rice and non-cow dairy, eggs and fish for pescetarians more than adequately provide delicious and balancing changes to their reproduction profiles.
MSG (E number E621) is an additive in food that makes it taste savoury. Commonly found in crisps and sauces and salty tasting foods (Mary-Lou urges you to read the ingredients) as MSG has been linked to reduced fertility.
Fluoride has long been a controversial topic. Found in abundance in the water supply, it has been linked to lower fertility rates, low sperm counts and hormone disruption. It is also a known thyroid disruptor, which is essential for fertility and pregnancy management. fluoride free toothpastes are readily available in conventional health stores and filtered water is highly recommended. Companies like Brita now have easy to use water bottles that filter the water as you drink it from the bottle.
Mary-Lou is clear that the fertility problems are not exclusively about stress and low nutrients status. She makes clients aware of the difficulty with chemicals, and helps her clients conceive with lifestyle changes as well.
Recent studies have confirmed suspicions that BPA (Bisphenol-A), a common ingredient in plastic, is also in the lining of most canned goods and even many cash register receipts) is affecting male fertility, primarily by reducing semen quality. The biggest source of BPA contamination is food packaging, which is why Mary-Lou advises her male clients to eat plenty of fresh organic food where possible, in order to reduce plastic packaging as well as the pesticides that are known to lower sperm count. Research finds that higher urine levels of BPA are significantly associated with a decrease in sperm vitality and motility, sperm concentration, and total sperm count.
Avoid harsh chemical; products as another aggressive chemical called Phthalates, are commonly found in hair spray, nail polish, shampoo, soap, deodorants, fragrances, and detergents, and as pointed out by MSN, even sex toys!
Studies on men who agreed to make and maintain lifestyle changes for three months prior to fertility treatment, showed that 11% of them achieved pregnancy naturally, without IVF treatment.
It is astonishing how quickly many people conceive after making these changes, when they have had previously sad stories to tell. It does not have to be the hopeless case many people believe it is, and Mary-Lou says it is, most encouragingly, more within your control than you may have realised