Fertility is important to all of us who want to start a family. This article gives a few simple ways to help improve fertility using natural approaches that can be applied immediately.
1. Good nutrition
For optimum fertility, your diet should consist mainly of the following foods, preferably organic where possible:
You should reduce your intake of the following:
- Saturated Fats: these are known to stimulate over-production of a hormone that can compromise fertility. For detailed information on saturated fats refer to the article on Nutrition Basics: What Are fats?
- Caffeine: studies have shown that excessive consumption of caffeine can reduce fertility.
- Genetically Modified Foods: There are risks associated with altering the DNA of food. Soya is one of the best-known GM foods and is found in more than 60% of processed foods (like bread, biscuits, baby food) under various names. Manufacturers are not always obliged to label foods containing GM ingredients so we need to educate ourselves on how to avoid them.
- Simple carbohydrates: These include all refined foods, especially sugar, which has no nutritional value whatsoever. But don't be tempted to replace sugar with artificial sweeteners; these are proven to be carcinogenic- see article Artificial sweetener aspartame Is Carcinogenic.
The food you eat has a big impact on your fertility and on your general health, so it makes sense to be well-informed about what your food really contains.
2. Get Your weight in Check
Fertility can be affected by your weight, whether you are underweight or overweight. Body Mass Index (BMI) is a good indication of how much of our body tissue is fat. This is important because oestrogen (the fertility hormone in women) is produced from fat cells.
A BMI of less than 20 is considered underweight. This can cause problems because the body does not have enough fat stores, and as a protective mechanism in women this can disrupt or stop ovulation and menstruation.
A BMI of over 25 is considered overweight. This can also cause fertility problems by causing hormonal imbalances resulting in irregular menstruation.
An ideal BMI is in the range 20-25.
To calculate your BMI refer to the article Calculate Your Body Mass Index (BMI) Value.
3. Reduce Environmental Hazards
We are constantly being bombarded with harmful chemicals and toxins all around us, from our food, water, household products, etc, sometimes without being aware of it. These could be having an adverse affect on fertility as some studies have shown.
We are exposed to radiation on a daily basis from microwaves, mobile phones, radar, computers, televisions, etc. Studies have shown that the levels of radiation emitted from these devices can have harmful effects on health and fertility.
Other environmental hazards include xenoestrogens (environmental oestrogens) found in pesticides and plastics, and toxic metals found in our water supply and household products as well as the many other hazardous contaminations we are surrounded by in our everyday life. Hormone balance is important for optimum fertility, and xenoestogens are one of the main causes of hormonal imbalance. It is therefore best to reduce your intake of these harmful chemicals.
4. Take Regular exercise
Moderate exercise on a regular basis will help keep your weight in check and optimize your health by improving heart function, cholesterol levels and reducing blood pressure. Exercise can also help to reduce stress levels and boost endorphins, the feel-good hormones.
5. Keep Cool
This is one for the men. For optimum fertility, sperm need to be kept a couple of degrees cooler than the rest of the body. It is therefore a good idea to wear loose-fitting underwear and avoid excessively hot baths and saunas. Men should also not sit cross-legged or sit for long periods of time.