Is Your Diet Holding Your Fertility Back ?

Is Your Diet Holding Your Fertility Back ?

Did you know Fertility and a healthy menstrual cycle are controlled by the balance of our hormones?

“Hormones” is an umbrella term that includes three different systems:

  • Sex hormones
  • Adrenal (stress) hormones
  • Thyroid hormones

Together they form a triangle and when one corner is under or over functioning, it directly affects the other two. For the purpose of this article, I am going to focus on female sex hormones, as these are the guardians of our fertility and menstrual cycles.

Common symptoms & conditions associated with disrupted female hormones are...

  • Lack of periods
  • Pre-menstrual tension
  • Period pains
  • Endometriosis
  • Very light or very heavy menstruation
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Ovarian cysts (PCO and PCOS)
  • Hormonal acne

What does diet have to do with this?

Well, I am going to share with you how simple changes in your diet create a harmonious environment for your body to find its own optimal hormonal balance. All it takes is a desire to fall in love with nourishing foods and be willing to make some shifts in your kitchen.

Food as a philosophy

I encourage women to approach food with a philosophical rather than instructional attitude.

Restrictive and prescriptive diets take away the art of nurturing oneself. You may love a strategic plan, and that’s totally okay, but let yourself be guided by a sense of nourishment and nurture. When supporting hormonal balance or preparing your body for pregnancy there are some foundation building blocks to consider.

A simple, unfailing mantra is

Clean,  Whole,  Colourful,  Unprocessed,  Variety,  Joyful.

Let’s see what that looks like…

Go organic where it counts

In an ideal world, there would be no need for chemicals to create our food. But it’s a reality of modern living. Taking a moderated approach can be achievable and not cost a fortune. The meat, egg and dairy industries use a lot of hormones and antibiotics in their animals’ food as it encourages fast growth. Those hormones are transferred straight onto us, giving our body an extra burden to detoxify (Cohen, 2007).

Increase fermented foods

Your gut bacteria plays a huge role in hormonal balancing. Eating fermented food and/or taking a good quality probiotic can help enormously. Natural yogurt (with no sugar), sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir are all easy to incorporate into your meals. They’re even a lot of fun to make yourself.

Goodbye refined grains, hello whole grains

Refined grains include all white flours. They are empty calories; not offering the body much more than easily available energy. If you avoid processed food, you by default avoid refined grains.

Wholegrains are teaming with fiber and nutrients. My favourite way to have them is to be adventurous at the bulk food store or health food aisle. Explore quinoa, amaranth, millet, different coloured rices, barley, farro – the list is extensive!!

A rice cooker makes it oh so easy – simply add the correct ratios and it does the rest for you. For ladies who want to take it to the next level, soaking your grains overnight makes them easier to digest.

Sweet partings

Leave the white sugar and artificial sweeteners behind and welcome natural sweetness. The adverse health effects of sugar and artificial sweeteners are now well known and documented. Natural sources of sweet are aplenty. Fruits, dried fruits, honey, and stevia when consumed in wise amounts keeps the sweetness of life alive without creating hormonal havoc.

Salt of the earth

Replace table salt with whole salts, including Celtic, sea or Himalayan salts. Whole salts are made up of a large variety of nutrients. These other nutrients, such as magnesium and iodine are all essential for smooth hormonal functioning.

Make tea time a healing ritual

Sorry ladies, this means no black tea or caffeinated coffee. I hope I’m not sounding like a scrounge! Why do the tea and coffee have to go?

Well, the caffiene content stimulates the hormonal glands that sit on your kidneys (the adrenals). When the adrenals are working overtime, the female hormones (a.k.a fertility) take a back seat.

Instead, embrace the world of herbal teas! MaterniTea has developed beautiful herbal fertility and pregnancy teas to not only replace black tea and coffee but to actually support the body and hormonal balance.

Not only do herbal taste beautiful, the actual act of a mindful cup of tea is a gorgeous way to nurture yourself and support your body.

Happy Fats

Margarine, copha and poor quality vegetable oils (including peanut and canola) are fats that promote inflammation in the body. Fats that come from extra virgin olive oil, chia, flax, almond, hemp, coconut, organic butter, and ghee are filled with anti-inflammatory compounds and provide the body with slow, clean burning fuel.

If you love your margarine, create a healthier version by blending 1 part softened organic butter or ghee with 1 part extra virgin olive oil. It will stay nice and spreadable and it much better for you and your hormones.

What to do now?

  1. Schedule in a kitchen revamp!

Gather together all the foods you want to cut out and create a shopping list with all the food you want to welcome in. Setting time aside each week to sketch out a meal plan and do some food preparation can do wonders!

If you’re short on time, look into what fruit and vegetable box schemes are available in your local area. It’s an easy way to bring variety, seasonality and colour into your diet.

  1. Get started with MaterniTea

MaterniTea has the world’s only complete pregnancy tea program, providing specially formulated 100% organic and caffeine-free herbal tea blends, designed to support women at every stage of their pregnancy. From fertility, each pregnancy trimester and post-birth recovery.

  1. Consider getting specific one on one guidance tailored to your lifestyle

Find a naturopath or dietician who specialises in helping women enrich their diets with medicinal whole foods to overcome health challenges and optimise their health. 

Good luck ladies. Remember every women’s journey is different.

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