The struggle with fertility is something that thousands of women face. While the reasons vary, there are some things each woman can do that will help her fertility no matter the cause of the delayed fertility. Here are four lifestyle tips you can start today to help improve your fertility.
There is not a fad diet out there for fertility but following guidelines that will improve the overall health of all of your body’s systems will improve your hormone balance and thus fertile health. Eat a wide variety of vegetables. Vegetables are the best source of fiber and help your liver to filter hormones more effectively leading to improved balance of hormone levels in the body. Aim for 5-9 servings of starchy and non-starchy veggies each day. Improve the quality of the fats and proteins in your diet. Good quality lipids (dietary fats) are important for hormone transfer, helping hormones get to their target cells. Protein is the building block for each of your trillions of cells and is important in how hormones get in and out of cells as well. Add quality proteins to give your body the best tools possible for building and regeneration. Here are some great lipid and protein choices; Butter from grass-fed cows, coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil (low temperatures only) avocados, raw or soaked and dried nuts and seeds, dark chocolate (80% or higher), pasture raised eggs, grass-fed beef, wild caught fish, chicken and pork without hormones or antibiotics. Stick to low sugar fruits like berries, apples, and pears. Eat them with a small amount of protein and fat (a small handful of nuts etc.) to maintain good blood sugar balance. Avoid processed foods and add starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and other root vegetables rather than grains. Strictly avoid refined sugars at least 90% of the time.
Your muscles release hormones when you exercise, particularly human growth hormone (HGH) which helps to slow the aging process fertility-wise and overall. The best exercise plan for fertility includes some body weight, resistance training, and weightlifting. Cardio is wonderful and healthy for you overall but you must strike a balance with weight-bearing exercise to enhance optimal hormone balance.
Sleep quality is directly correlated with optimal hormone balance for fertility. Cortisol levels, in particular, are affected greatly by sleep. Poor sleep can lead to a myriad of symptoms that impact fertility like; blood sugar imbalances, increased blood pressure, and abnormalities in sex hormone production. Give up your screen time 90 minutes before sleeping, the light emitted from these can cause a rise in cortisol that can lead to interrupted and/or poor quality sleep throughout the night. Try to get to sleep around 10 pm, HGH (youth hormone) is released in greater amounts when you sleep between 10 pm and 2 am. Darken your bedroom. Light receptors on your skin as well as your eyes can change sleep hormone levels enough to impact sleep negatively.
Increases in stress can decrease important blood flow to the reproductive system. Be sure to find an outlet for stressors in your life like a walk outside, meditation, spending time with friends/family, or engaging your brain creatively with hobbies. Connecting with our creative selves and with others can greatly reduce stress responses.
CECILY YOUSAF, MA. LAC, MSOM, CLC
Owner of Fertile Ground Integrated Wellness Center Cecily has been helping couples achieve and maintain pregnancy using a blend of Western medical knowledge and Eastern medical techniques in combination with diet, exercise and mind/body practices since 2003.
A special thanks to Natalie Uhling for bringing this post to life.