Eating For Conception-Part 2

It has been proven repeatedly in myriad arenas that the way we eat has a profound effect upon our health. That is not news anymore. The Nurses' Health Study involving more than 18,000 women, who confided they were trying to conceive, brought out the fact that diet and lifestyle can make the difference for some women when it comes to conceiving a pregnancy. The findings of this study and the eight-year follow-up program are being used to determine factors that affect infertility. Of special interest is the effect of diet upon ovulatory infertility.

Counting Carbs, The Right Way

For many years carbohydrates made up the fundamental platform of the food pyramid. White bread, white rice, and pasta-all of which are easily digestible-constituted the mainstay of the American diet. Simple carbohydrates such as these, are quickly turned to sugar in the blood and insulin levels are then affected. When blood insulin levels get too high, they skew the balance of hormones in the body that are necessary for reproduction. The changes alter ovulation, which in turn can cause infertility. The best carbohydrates to eat are the slow burning type, such as high-fiber vegetables, whole grain breads, brown rice and high fiber fruits.

Protein Comes From Meat And Plants

The love affair of North Americans with meat is well known. Beef, chicken, and pork have been the main course on America's dinner plates for decades. Fish has begun to gain popularity, as its value for Omega 3 fatty acids has become better known. However, the obvious lack of plant protein in the diet may have a powerful effect upon fertility. Women with the highest intake of animal protein were 39 percent more likely to suffer with ovulatory infertility than those who had the lowest intake of animal protein. The reverse was true of women who had higher levels of plant protein intake. They were less likely to have infertility issues than women who ate more meat.

Fat Isn't Bad

We have learned a lot about fat over recent years. We know that trans fats are very bad for a person's general health, and now we know they are also a big deterrent to ovulation and conception. Body fat and energy stores figure prominently in reproduction. Women with either too much or too little body fat have trouble conceiving. The right kinds of fats are good for you. By eating less artificial fat (trans fats) and adding healthy unsaturated fats (such as olive oil), fertility gets a big boost. Trans fats are found in fast foods, snack foods, processed and prepared foods, and should be avoided.

Anyone For Ice Cream?

Many women avoid dairy products because of a notion that they are very fattening. An abundance of anything, even good things, is not good for the body. In a bid to cut out the fattening quality of dairy, women have opted for skim milk and low fat dairy products. However, the Nurses' Health Study found that two servings daily of whole milk and foods made with whole milk seemed to provide some protection against infertility. Skim milk and low fat milk produces seemed to do the opposite. When fat is removed from dairy products, the balance of sex hormones is significantly reduced and this affects ovulation and fertility. A word of caution-we are talking about two small servings a day, not a gallon of Haagen Dazs!

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