I saw in an infertility support group someone asked the question “Am I not getting pregnant because of my bad diet? Or does that even matter?”
Simple answer. Yes. It definitely matters.
Well, that’s a little tricky.
First, I want to give this person some credit.
A. She recognizes her diet is bad
B. She’s looking for information
Other than the health of you, future Mom, as well as the health of your future children, diet plays a huge role in conception (and not just for you, for him too).
All those eggs and sperm go through crucial genetic preparations in the weeks before conception, and you want these to occur under the best circumstances.
You may not know that most birth defects, many preventable, occur between 17 & 56 days after conception - the time before many even know they are pregnant and not all defects occur randomly - its empowering to know you have some control. High level, sperm and eggs need access to nutrients to be able to properly form, and where do nutrients come from? Your food.
It's also easier to continue healthy habits into pregnancy and beyond if they're in place before pregnancy.
The key to any healthy diet, whether trying to conceive or not, is to keep inflammation to a minimum. Mothers, father’s and babies will all benefit from eating real food. So will Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Aunts, Uncles, teenagers, and children. Essentially, anyone who eats can benefit from a less inflammatory diet.
Where does inflammation come from? Many places including food sensitivities, processed, nutrient poor food, sugar and poor quality fats.
When it comes to trying to get pregnant, inflammation is stress on your body, and a stressed body is concentrating on survival and healing, not reproduction.
Chances are this bad diet contains my nemesis, sugar. Let’s talk about blood sugar balance, insulin and it’s role in fertility.
Sugar actually creates a hormonal imbalance in the body. Eat something high glycemic (causes your blood sugar to spike), insulin comes along to shuttle the sugar out of the blood stream – into cells for energy, and when the cells can’t take any more, stored into fat. Fat is actually an endocrine organ and can upset the delicate balance required for procreation.
The spike in blood sugar gives us a temporary high, then it plummets as insulin comes in and cleans up. This causes continued stimulation of our adrenal system; the release of cortisol (the stress hormone) and adrenaline in an attempt to get the sugar levels back up. When this happens repeatedly, the adrenals become weakened, and this can lead to hormone imbalance and a roller-coaster of blood sugar.
Sugar goes up, down too low, then your body wants more sugar to bring it back up, and insulin comes and brings it too low….and so on, and so on. Can you see where your cravings are coming from?
The adrenals are responsible for maintaining proper balance between DHEA, estrogen, testosterone and progesterone. All needed for fertility in both men and women.
Excessive sugar consumption can also lead to insulin resistance – where your cells become desensitized and require more and more insulin to allow the sugar in. Insulin resistance disrupts normal ovulation by preventing the body from ovulating. You can see the problem here?
More insulin in the body depresses the production of Sex Hormone Binding Globulin – this leads to higher amounts of circulating free testosterone which can have unwanted effects on fertility and physiology.
Eating lots of easily digested carbohydrates (like white bread, potatoes, soda) increases the odds that you’ll find yourself suffering from ovulatory infertility. Choosing slowly digested carbohydrates that are rich in fiber can actually improve your fertility!
Carbohydrates determine your blood sugar and insulin levels – when they rise too high they disrupt the finely tuned balance of hormones needed for reproduction – so now is time to cut out those easily digested carbohydrates and stick with Real Food!
When you’re full of the good stuff and aren’t experiencing the spike in blood sugar, your body will respond in kind and not ask for more! Also, there are times when you crave sugar when you are actually dehydrated – so have that large glass of water first before you go for a snack and see if your cravings disappear!
How would you rate your diet? Do you think what you are eating is having an impact on your fertility and health? What is one thing that you can do today to improve your blood sugar balance? Let me know on Facebook and Instagram by tagging me @givepeasachance.ca and hashtag #MyOneThing
If you want to find out more about how your diet and lifestyle can affect your ability to conceive, check out my 12 Week Womb Renovation Blueprint and learn what choices you can start making today to improve the health and the health of your future children!
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