Boost Fertility with These 5 Tips

Research published this past year in Fertility and Sterility revealed that nearly one out of every six couples doesn’t get pregnant—even after a year of trying. (1)

In a Reuters Health report, Dr. Sacha Krieg from the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City agrees that infertility rates are on the rise.

She speculates that this may be because women are waiting longer to have children. Or, it may be because of the possible effects of environmental toxins—which includes food toxins and stress. (2) Research shows that women with chronic, low-grade vaginal infections are more likely to be infertile.

Women are not the only ones affected by infertility. Studies show that men also deal with infertility. As it turns out, oxidative stress affects both sperm count and sperm motility. (3)(4)

5 Must-Read Tips to Fight Infertility

A number of factors contribute to infertility, including environmental toxins and women waiting longer to have children. Key nutrients can boost your fertility and increase your odds of successful conception.

A number of factors contribute to infertility, including environmental toxins and women waiting longer to have children. Key nutrients can boost your fertility and increase your odds of successful conception.

While the statistics are daunting, here are some helpful tips to enhance fertility:

1. Eat More Meats, Beans, and Greens.

These three foods groups are uniquely rich in B vitamins. I emphasize the importance of vitamin B6, B12, and folate when trying to conceive.

“B6 is one of the most important nutrients for optimal fertility.”

This is because it increases progesterone. Progesterone is very critical in the second half of our cycle, when we’ve hopefully ovulated and conceived. Progesterone needs to be in good amounts for the next steps of fertilization, implantation, and the continuation of the early pregnancy. B6 naturally increases progesterone.

If you decide to supplement, choose a whole food full spectrum B-vitamin complex or P5P, the natural and bioactive form of vitamin B6. Food sources include poultry, egg yolks, nuts, seeds, and avocado.

When taking folate (sometimes confused with folic acid), opt for methylfolate for greater absorption. Food sources are beans, lentils, and leafy greens. Fermented Spirulina is an excellent whole food source of B vitamins.

2. Add Zinc to Your Diet.

Zinc is a mineral and a micronutrient that supports the immune system, mental development, and fertility. (5)(6)(7) Zinc is equally important for both men and women.

While you can find zinc in grain-like seeds—millet, quinoa, and amaranth—the most abundant source of zinc is meat. This means that those who are at risk for low levels of zinc are vegetarians and vegans.

The chelated form of zinc is best absorbed.

3. Try Fermented Foods Daily.

Fermented foods like cultured vegetables and probiotic beverages promote the growth of healthy bacteria. Not just in the gut—but also along other mucosal surfaces, like the vagina.

When we have a good pH vaginally and it’s inhibiting bad bacteria, we have optimal cervical mucus. When you’re harboring bad bacteria vaginally, it can reduce the cervical mucus so much, you’re not going to have a good chance of conceiving.

And in fact, research shows that women with chronic, low-grade vaginal infections (like bacterial vaginosis or chlamydia) are more likely to be infertile. (8)

4. Improve the Quality of Your Eggs.

Detoxification is incredibly important to balance hormones, boost fertility, and improve egg health. Naturally detoxify the body while rebalancing the inner ecosystem.

What you eat, what you focus on, and what you clear out of your system can dramatically improve the quality of your eggs. The better quality those eggs, the better chance that a pregnancy will occur.

Specific foods that may influence egg health are:

  • Broccoli
  • Berries
  • Leafy greens
  • Wild halibut and wild salmon
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Eggs
  • Avocado

Herbs that influence egg health are ginger and turmeric.

5. Avoid Soy, Coffee, and Alcohol.

I also recommend avoiding soy. Soy favors estrogen. Estrogen can oppose or inhibit progesterone. And progesterone is kind of the name of the game in terms of conceiving and preventing miscarriage.

Small amounts of fermented soy may be okay, but if you are struggling with fertility—it may not be worth it.

If you want to conceive, I also recommend cutting out caffeine and alcohol. “When you look at the research, it’s mind-boggling. It can reduce chances of conceiving or affect miscarriage anywhere from 20%–90%.” For example, one study reports that, “Two cups of coffee a week could increase miscarriage by 50%. And that also means an early miscarriage.”

What To Remember Most About This Article:

A staggering number of couples aren’t able to conceive—one in six couples can’t get pregnant, even after a year of trying. Both men and women can be affected by infertility, which may be related to environmental toxins, advanced maternal age, or countless other factors.

You can use these 5 essential tips to fight infertility and increase your chances of healthy conception:

  1. Eat more meats, beans, and greens. These foods are rich in B vitamins; vitamin B6 is one of the most important nutrients for optimal fertility since it increases progesterone. Fermented Spirulina is a recommended source of whole food B vitamins.
  2. Add zinc to your diet. Zinc will support mental development, immune health, and fertility for both men and women. The chelated form of zinc is recommended for the best absorption.
  3. Try fermented foods daily. Enjoying cultured vegetables and probiotic beverages on a daily basis will support healthy bacterial growth in the gut, as well as the vagina. A good vaginal pH encourages optimal cervical mucus for conception.
  4. Improve the quality of your eggs. Detoxification can balance hormones, improve fertility, and enhance egg health. Consider guidance to naturally detoxify and boost egg quality as an added bonus.
  5. Avoid soy, coffee, and alcohol. Soy favors estrogen, which can inhibit progesterone necessary for conception. It’s also recommended to cut out caffeine and alcohol when trying to conceive to improve chances of conception and reduce the risk of miscarriage.

Leona

REFERENCES:

  1. Thoma, M. E., McLain, A. C., Louis, J. F., King, R. B., Trumble, A. C., Sundaram, R., & Buck Louis, G. M. (2013). Prevalence of infertility in the United States as estimated by the current duration approach and a traditional constructed approach. Fertility and sterility.
  2. Pittman, Genevra. (2013, Jan 11). Almost one in six couples face infertility: study. Reuters Health. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/11/us-couples-infertility. Retrieved 08-04-13.
  3. Tremellen, K. (2012). Oxidative Stress and Male Infertility: A Clinical Perspective. In Studies on Men’s Health and Fertility (pp. 325-353). Humana Press.
  4. Naher, Z. U., Biswas, S. K., Mollah, F. H., Ali, M., & Arslan, M. I. (2013). Role of Glutathione in Male Infertility. Bangladesh Journal of Medical Biochemistry, 4(2), 20-25.
  5. Ibs, K. H., & Rink, L. (2003). Zinc-altered immune function. The Journal of nutrition, 133(5), 1452S-1456S.
  6. Bhatnagar, S., & Taneja, S. (2001). Zinc and cognitive development. British journal of nutrition, 85(2), S139.
  7. Netter, A., Nahoul, K., & Hartoma, R. (1981). Effect of zinc administration on plasma testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and sperm count. Systems Biology in Reproductive Medicine, 7(1), 69-73.

Eating with the Seasons: Summer Edition

Your grocery store may have strawberries in October. But if you live north of the equator, chances are that these strawberries are not local, and they are not seasonal.

Summer is the perfect time to cleanse.

summer berriesWhen you decide to eat with the seasons, you make a conscious choice to only pick those foods that the season naturally produces. Fruits and vegetables are at their peak, both in flavor and in availability. This may mean sweet gourds in the fall, hearty greens in the winter, and berries in the summer.

Fresh summer berries have a naturally cooling and cleansing effect.
Even better, they will support the body with antioxidants to protect against free radical damage.

As it turns out, the human body—like the natural world around it—naturally changes with the seasons. You may not notice these changes at first. But with summer in full swing, you may find that:

  • It is harder to fall asleep or stay asleep.
  • You feel mentally restless or irritable.
  • You feel dizzy more often, and your blood pressure is higher than normal.
  • Signs of irritable bowel or gut distress show up more often.
  • You experience more frequent urinary tract infections.
  • A day out in the sun triggers a herpes breakout or a flare-up of acne.

Chinese medicine tells us that we can prevent disease before it begins by using seasonal foods to balance the body.

Cooling Foods for Summertime Heat

The body is naturally more fortified during the summer, so we can focus on cooling and cleansing foods. It’s the time to eat less and focus on brighter and moisture-rich foods.

Cooling foods bring water to the body. They guide heat out of the body. And they flood the body with antioxidants that help to prevent free radical damage.

Maybe it is no mistake that summer is notorious for ripe, juicy fruits—exactly what the body needs as temperatures begin to soar.

This is our opportunity to not only cleanse, but nourish with all these antioxidant and nutrient-dense foods that come out during the summer. It helps to strengthen our immune system as we roll into the fall and winter.

Fruits to look out for this summer season include:

  • Berries, like strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Granny Smith apples

When it comes to vegetables that are at their peak during summer, I emphasize the cleansing value of vegetables.

I suggest that we pay special attention to:

  • Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower
  • Cucumber and summer squash
  • Fresh salad greens

If you like incorporating fresh herbs in your salads or blended smoothies, I recommend using peppermint, spearmint, or cilantro.

The Dirty Dozen

You can buy local. You can buy organic. And you can buy seasonal. But what does each label mean? And—when it comes to your health and the health of your family—what should you really focus on?

Many seasonal summertime fruits and vegetables are also on a list called the Dirty Dozen. The Dirty Dozen is a list compiled by the Environmental Working Group. It includes 12 fruits and vegetables that have been tested to have the most pesticide residues.

The Dirty Dozen are:

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Cherry tomatoes
  4. Cucumbers
  5. Grapes
  6. Hot peppers
  7. Nectarines, imported
  8. Peaches
  9. Potatoes
  10. Spinach
  11. Strawberries
  12. Sweet bell peppers

The list has since been expanded to include kale, collard greens, and summer squash in the Dirty Dozen Plus.

When it comes to the Dirty Dozen, you really want to emphasize organic fruits. This is the time to get them organic, they are available and the price is reasonable.

And the best time to take advantage of farmer’s markets—which sell local, seasonal, and organic produce—is during the summer.

The Power of Sun Teas

If you enjoy herbal teas, I recommend homemade sun teas. Sun teas are such a great thing to make during the summer, because you don’t want to heat up the house. You can make a really nutritionally dense tea. A really great sun tea is a nettle mint combination.”

For example, using nettle during the summertime is “a great way for a lot of people to mediate allergies. It has a neutral to cooling effect.”

The sun tea I recommend for my patients that have summer allergies consists of nettle, chrysanthemum, and mint.

Sun Tea Recipe:

  • Add 1 tablespoon of each herb to cheesecloth. If using fresh mint, add a handful to the cheesecloth or metal tea ball.
  • Tie cheesecloth and place into a 2-quart clear glass container filled with water.
  • Set your brew out in the sun for at least 2 hours. Better yet, set the tea out in the morning and bring it back indoors at sunset. 

What To Remember Most About This Article:

When you eat with the seasons, you can enjoy naturally produced fruits and vegetables in peak flavor and availability. Just like the natural world, the human body changes with the seasons. You may feel more restless or dizzy in the summer; you may also experience frequent urinary tract infections or irritable bowel flare-ups.

According to Chinese medicine, you can support your health by eating seasonally to balance the body. Cooling foods are a perfect remedy for summertime temperatures to move heat out of the body. The body can cleanse and rejuvenate to strengthen the immune system for fall and winter seasons.

Recommended summer fruits and vegetables include berries, cherries, cucumbers, summer squash, and fresh salad greens. Fresh herbs like spearmint, cilantro, and peppermint can be incorporated into summer dishes. Summer is also the perfect time to make homemade herbal sun tea for a potent dose of nutrients; nettle, mint, and chrysanthemum sun tea can be used to combat summer allergies.

Leona


Your Refrigerator is a Medicine Cabinet

basket of fruitby Leona West  – originally published by Celebrity Society

“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”  –Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.)

FOOD AS MEDICINE

Whether we realize it or not, we are creating our bodies, our inner health, outer appearance, our mood and energy levels with every meal every day. The good news is that foods considered the most beneficial for our health are also some of the most delicious and enjoyed foods around the world. Some of these foods are wild fish like salmon; berries, tomatoes, organic yogurt; whole grains like quinoa; vegetables like spinach and broccoli, onions and garlic; beneficial fats from almonds and walnuts, avocados and extra virgin olive oil; as well as herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, oregano, green tea and even small amounts of dark chocolate and red wine! Read More


Eating Your Way to Stronger Immune Function!

by Leona West

Maintaining a healthy immune system can be as straightforward as diet.

Eating for immunity can be as simple as eating local and seasonally available foods.

When we eat according to the season, we eat fruits and vegetables that are naturally abundant during specific times of the year.

For example, in the cooler months of the year we see more hearty greens, yams, and gourds. Whereas in the summer, foods that naturally complement warm weather, such as watermelon and strawberries, are more common. Read More


Understanding Your Blood Work: 4 Important Levels to Monitor for Health

by Leona West

Functional medicine is a form of medicine that views the body as one whole, integrated system.

In conventional medicine, deficiencies and steps leading up to a disorder are often overlooked.

Unlike conventional Western medicine, which divides the body up into multiple systems, functional medicine looks at how these systems relate to one another.

While functional medicine excels at treating chronic disorders, it is also used in preventative care. Read More


Functional Medicine: A Whole Body Approach to Autoimmune Disease

by Leona West

Functional medicine is a form of Western alternative medicine that views the body as one whole, integrated system.

Unlike conventional Western medicine, which divides the body up into multiple systems, functional medicine looks for the root cause of a collection of symptoms.

Oftentimes, multiple symptoms of disease can arise in several places at once. This is especially true of chronic diseases, which can take years, usually decades, to fully develop. Read More