Integrative Medicine Blog

The Food and Fertility Connection

Rebecca Rice, Licensed Acupuncturist Monday, October 31, 2011

Fertility Foods Basics

When looking at ways to enhance fertility, the diet is one of our most reachable influences.  To improve the diet it is helpful to consider your specific constitutional needs.  A Chinese medical assessment which includes a tongue and pulse diagnosis will give you a framework to work within.

In general foods are best consumed at their freshest state.  These foods have greater vitality which is transferred through nutrients in the body.  Foods that are easy to digest are important as well. Choose lightly cooked vegetables over raw ones.  Choose warm foods over cold ones. Having heat already within the food creates less of a burden on your digestion.

Foods That May Impair Fertility

Eating organic or pesticide/herbicide free produce is optimal.  Pesticides and herbicides contain known endocrine disrupters.  They interfere with female reproductive health by altering the availability of ovarian hormones and altering the binding and activity of  hormones at the receptor level. This can lead to irregular menstrual cycles, endometriosis and infertility.

At least 1 in 130 Americans have a genetic predisposition to Celiac disease and even more are gluten intolerant.  These conditions are present when cells that line the small intestine become inflamed as a result of eating gluten (found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, semolina, cous cous, and gluten contaminated oats).  Intestinal inflammation leads to malabsorption of vitamins and minerals.  Aside from malnutrition there are over 200 possible symptoms.  The most common ones include: abdominal cramps, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, IBS, infertility, joint pain, mouth sores, weakness, and weight loss.  A blood test is available to test for celiac disease.  This determination can be pivotal for those wishing to conceive.

Eating for Wellness

The next time you eat something pay attention to the way your body feels afterwards. Do you feel energized or fatigued? Do you have a headache? Is your mind sharp or foggy?  Everything that goes into your body has an affect, whether it’s observable or not, pleasant or unpleasant. Food affects overall health as well as our fertility.

Resources:

Craig ZR, Wang W, Flaws JA.
Reproduction. 2011 Aug 23. [Epub ahead of print]
Endocrine disrupting chemicals in ovarian function: effects on steroidogenesis, metabolism and nuclear receptor signaling. Source: Z Craig. Comparative Biosciences. University of Illinois,Urbana, United States.

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