Food and Infertility: Is There a Link?

Food and Infertility: Is There a Link?
Monday, 28 December, 2020

Food and Infertility: Is There a Link?

If you are a perfectly healthy couple and yet have not been blessed to see a positive line when you conduct a home pregnancy test you might want to consider your diet before moving on to more serious lines of treatment. Infertility is defined as not being able to conceive ever after at least a year of actively trying without success.

A common cause for not conceiving is ovulatory disorder. The term is used to refer to a condition in which ovulation does not occur or fails to occur at regular intervals. Ovulatory disorder is one the leading causes of infertility in women and no one really knows why it occurs. Scientists believe that a possible reason for ovulatory disorders is a poor diet and an unhealthy lifestyle.

So let’s take a look at how men and women can improve their diet and lifestyle to increase their chances of conceiving.

Men and Infertility

In the last 40 years, sperm count in men have been steadily on the decline, according to Dr. Edwin McDonald IV of the University of Chicago. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine (May 2020) suggests that 50% of infertility cases can be due to issues with the male partner. Further, some studies show that in the last 38 years sperm quality has deteriorated by 50% to 60%.

Occupational impacts such as emotional stress, excessive exposure to high temperatures, tight clothing, environmental pollution have been seen to have an effect on male fertility.

Moderate exercise is essential for healthy living and hitting the gym is popular these days. If you’re not working out regularly, a brisk 30- to 45-minute walk is essential. A sedentary lifestyle is associated with low sperm count. And of course, avoid taking anabolic steroid that are used to enhance sports performance as these can adversely affect fertility in men. Avoid smoking cigarettes, as well as excessive alcohol intake.

Tips to boost fertility in men

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables and beans like rajmah. These plant-based whole foods contain CoQ10, vitamin C, and lycopene – micronutrients needed in small quantities but associated with higher sperm concentration.
  • Avoid trans-fat which cardiologists link to increased risk of heart disease but a 2011 Spanish study has also associated unhealthy consumption of trans-fat to low sperm count.
  • Go moderate on soy intake. It is common for non-vegetarian households to meet their need for protein intake with soy nuggets. Some men take soy protein supplements as pre- or post-workout nutrition to build muscle mass but studies show that too much soy intake may reduce sperm concentration.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly to remove pesticides. BPA and chemicals within pesticides can wreak the same kind of havoc on sperm concentration as soy.
  • Hold off on the mozzarella (found in cheesy pizzas!). High-fat dairy products have been linked to decreased fertility.
Women and Infertility

By the time a woman reaches the age of 35 her ability to reproduce is on the decline. Fertility in women can be impacted by occupational stress, domestic problems, giving in to emotional eating, yo-yo diets, and extreme eating. Both obesity and low weight can have an adverse impact on the reproductive system. Stay away from cigarette smoking as it has been linked to altering hormone levels.

Regular exercise is beneficial for general health and is particularly seen to reduce the risk of ovulatory infertility. Alcohol consumption may decrease fertility so it is recommended that alcoholic drinks are consumed in moderation.

Tips to boost fertility in women

Micronutrients can play a role in fertility. It is not uncommon to see when deficiencies in folic acid, vitamin B12 or iron have been treated, fertility is restored in many cases.

  • Eat more vegetables, particularly green leafy vegetables like spinach (palak) and fenugreek (methi).
  • Eat more healthy fats found in coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, eggs, and nuts. Avoid trans-fat mostly found in processed foods. It’s a good idea to eliminate processed foods (even processed dairy products) totally from your diet and rely on wholesome meals cooked at home.
  • Get an adequate intake of protein in your diet. Eat an egg every day and include dal and low-fat curds in your diet. If you are non-vegetarian you may include chicken and fish more regularly in your diet.
  • Maintain a low-carb diet. It is said that maintaining such a diet can increase conception by 5 times. Obtain necessary carbohydrates from vegetables, some fruits and starchy sources like sweet potatoes.
  • Eat foods that are rich in fiber.
  • Avoid maida and sugar. These are found in bakery products such as pastries, cakes, and donuts.
  • Go low on caffeine consumption. Coffee, green tea, coke all contain good amounts of caffeine. Drink in moderation – less than 3 cups of coffee a day.

In more than a third of infertility cases, a male factor is identified along with a female factor. The trend to have children later in life also makes it difficult for some couples to have children. Erratic work hours and stress also contribute to this condition.

Keep a healthy diet and lifestyle, follow the tips above and if your pregnancy kit still does not show a positive, call us at Xenith. We are here for you when you’re ready.

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