Searching for the best foods to help you get pregnant can be incredibly confusing! Just a few minutes spent online and you will find a huge variety of do’s and don’ts, some of which contradict each other – and others which involve strange new super-foods and supplements!
At The Norwich Natural Fertility Partnership we do not believe in a one-size fits-all-diet. Since most of us eat at least three times every day – food really is a major influence in how our bodies grow and function each month. Every time you eat you are giving your body the raw materials with which to fuel development and function in each and every part of the body, be it the iron of hemoglobin in a red blood cell or vitamin E boosting production of immune B-cells.
The food we eat can also hinder normal functioning of the body. A good example of this is the liver, the amazing organ that allows us to get rid of unnecessary cells – be it toxic substances or excessive levels of hormones. If our liver is working overtime due to poor diet and drinking habits it can struggle to carry on with all its day to day chores of general waste removal that any body will generate.
Keeping the blood sugar levels is essential for women trying to conceive. The pancreas like the ovaries is a gland, and insulin just like oestrogen and progesterone is a hormone. Hormones and glands act as ‘messengers’ within the body, giving instruction to cells to behave in a certain way. Functioning together as the endocrine system, a change within one gland can affect a seemingly unconnected gland. The ovaries, thyroid, pancreas and adrenals work in harmony together – so keeping your blood sugar and insulin levels happy sends a positive message to the rest of the system including your ovaries!
The adrenals are well known for the part they play in the fight or flight response – the hormones adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol all are produced here. However they also play a part in reproductive physiology producing androgens and oestrogen. Many of these hormones share the same precursor cells – so they can develop in one of several ways. By making sure your adrenals are not constantly under stress, these precursor cells can then be directed towards maintaining a hormonal balance and support what is happening with the ovarian hormones.
Interestingly within Chinese medicine the three major organ systems of female reproduction are the Kidneys, Liver and Spleen/pancreas – it is similar to conventional medicine in that harmony between all systems is paramount when trying to conceive. These three meridians run up the inside of the legs before diving deep into the pelvis which is why you often have needles in the ankles or knees with fertility acupuncture.
At the Norwich Natural Fertility Partnership here in Norwich we have 5 Golden Fertility Rules!
1. GO ORGANIC – essential for animal produce, meat and dairy.
2. DRINK 1.5 LITRES GOOD QUALITY WATER DAILY – invest in a good quality water filter or buy spring water.
3. EAT REGULARLY AND INCLUDE PROTEIN AT EACH MEAL – this is the one rule that catches many of my clients out!
4. INCLUDE 7-10 PORTIONS OF FRESH FRUIT AND VEG EVERY DAY – again this is harder than it first appears!
5. MAINTAIN A HEALTHY BMI – I see an equal number of women who are slightly underweight compared to women slightly overweight. You should make sure you are firmly between 19 – 24.9, the research overwhelming supports this as indicator of fertility.
One of the best studies done on diet and female fertility was done by The Harvard Medical school over 8 years and looking at over 17,000 women. Interestingly it found that women who gained more iron from vegetarian sources (without actually being vegetarian) were more likely to have healthy ovulation. At The Norwich Natural Fertility Partnership we work on a diet suited to you, your lifestyle and underlying health conditions.