Author: Dr. Angeli Chitale, BSc ND
The Fertility Diet
The Fertility Diet is based on solid scientific data from an eight-year study of more than 18,000 women – part of the landmark Nurses’ Health Study. These guidelines are not only for couples seeking to improve IVF, GIFT, ICSI outcomes. It can be used by anyone who is trying to get pregnant now or in the future (such as with egg or embryo freezing). The Fertility Diet can work on its own or help augment assisted reproduction technologies.
Why Improve Pre-Conception Health?
- Improves chances of a successful IVF, IUI, Embryo transfer or any reproductive technology.
- Benefits the heart, bones, and rest of the body throughout pregnancy and after.
- Offers a healthy start to a pregnancy for mother and child – which means less complications for child birth and delivery later.
To Improve Your Pre-Conception Health:
1: Avoid inflammation promoting trans-fats, the artery-clogging fats found in many commercial products (cookies, crackers, cereals) and fast foods (deep fried) because they impact hormone regulation in a negative way.
TIP: Use omega – 3 oils found in fish, flax, nuts and seeds instead to support hormone production.
2: Eat more vegetable protein to support the good bacteria which improve nutrient absorption, immune and reproductive health.
TIP: Eat beans, nuts, legumes (50 % of protein). If they give you gas, consult a healthcare provider to have your bowel function improved.
3: Eat less animal protein which has pro-inflammatory arachidonic acid and saturated fat.
TIP: reduce 50% or less of your protein intake from animal sources.
4: Eat full fat dairy for the beneficial bacteria, calcium, magnesium and other minerals which feed the nervous system – and support reproductive system.
TIP: Have ½ cup of full-fat yogurt every day (with no sugar, no fruit)
5: Avoid “low fat dairy” this has a negative effect on insulin regulation – which interferes with ovarian hormone production in women seen in conditions such as PCOS.
TIP: trade in skim milk and low or no-fat dairy products for their full-fat versions by keeping a food intake log or diet diary
6: Get your body into the “fertility zone” for weight and physical activity. Think of time in 3 month chunks and not month to month especially for those doing cycle monitoring and working with a fertility clinic.
TIP: Keep a physical activity log and monitor your interest in sex. For women, sexual interest heightens close to their ovulation time. Subtle cues such as buying new clothes, wearing more makeup, going to the spa, having your hair done, flirting, dressing more sexy are often related to ovulation hormonal fluctuations we are not conscious of.
7: Express gratitude and uphold a positive mental attitude. Learn to manage stress levels in a healthy way through exercise, mindfulness, walking, socializing, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is well studied for addressing and removing mental blocks between thinking, action and desired outcome.
TIP: Keep a thought record or diary reflect how much of your thoughts are rooted in real experiences vs. habitual reactions to situations
8: Get adequate rest – rather than limiting yourself to a number, ex. 7 or 8 hours, do what feels right for your body. Where there is no rest, there is no healing.
TIP: Relax and allow your nervous system recovery time rather than being “on” all the time. Practice sleep hygiene (low lights, quiet time, silent prayer, no media zone, use bedroom for rest and sex only)
9: Hydration: Are you someone who pees a lot when you drink more water? If so, you are not absorbing water. It is just going through you. Hydration is not drinking more water, but making sure electrolytes get into cells. This depends on caffeine consumption, activity level, how much you sweat and your bowel health.
TIP: Add ½ tsp of himalayan salt to 1 L of water. Reduce caffeine to 200 mg per day or less (1 cup max) Avoid hard liquor (beer and wine is fine) max 1 per week.
10. Supportive Therapies: Consider massage for stress reduction and improved circulation throughout the body and in the reproductive organs. Acupuncture can help with removing blockages to chi and balancing yin and yang energies in the body.
Reference: Jorge E. Chavarro, M.D., Walter Willett, M.D., and Patrick J. Skerrett
Do You Need Fertility Support?
There are many nutritional and lifestyle changes you can do on your own. Sometimes it can get too overwhelming and you may need the support of a trained and experienced Naturopathic Doctor to:
- Receive treatment for grief and the apparent emotional set-back of an unexpected loss.
- Identify food sensitivities and receive a framework and support for eliminating offending foods. Chronic inflammation interferes with hormone regulation. Many have had success simply by eliminating offending foods. Inflammation down = better hormone regulation.
- Have you been exposed to heavy metals? Heavy metals tend to be stored in the body fat after exposure. Heavy metal toxicity (lead, aluminum, arsenic, mercury, uranium etc) interferes with cell communication. It can also cause mineral deficiencies of essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc which are important for metabolic function and hormone regulation. Hair mineral analysis is the most effective way to find out.
- Have your adrenals, thyroid, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels and their metabolites checked. The best method is DUTCH hormone testing, which provides useful information on which pathways are blocked and not functioning optimally, leading to symptoms. DUTCH hormone testing pinpoints exactly which hormone supportive therapies will benefit you the most, taking the guesswork out of nutritional and herbal supplementation.
What about Men’s Health?
Lastly, New research shows us that men’s health (stress, diet, nutrition, hormone levels) are as important in conception as female health. A bird needs two wings to fly so to speak. Two of you are in this together, so optimizing your partners health gets you in 100%. By working together, you can support healthy changes for each other.
Dr Angeli Chitale is a Naturopath with additional training in hormone health with extensive experience with pre-conception treatments. Dr Chitale is now certified in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy or CBT. CBT is a psychological tool used to help people work through and change their hard-wired pattern of thinking, feeling, and action so it is aligned with what they want in life (their goals).
Want to find out more? Ask the expert on us! Book your FREE 15-min meet and greet appointment. Contact Pure Body Health: (778) 265-0043.
Dr Angeli Chitale BSc ND