“When did you last meditate into the feminine body of being? Let yourself be in a practice of body awareness. To bring attention to the spiritual heart and flow into the lower body of the womb and reproductive organs of life. Let awareness guide YOU into healing the womb for conception, in pregnancy, postpartum, motherhood, and into the wise sage”.
Women today may have a harder time getting pregnant than ever before. This could be because women are now waiting longer to have children; or it could be a result of the increase in environmental toxins, consumption of processed foods, celiac disease, and obesity, not to mention the constant pressure of the always-on digital world in which we live. In all likelihood, women are struggling to conceive due to the confluence of all of these factors.
Recently, awareness about our health and physical body’s needs is surfacing and people are now stopping to take the time to make sure the foods they are consuming are of no harm to them, and even catching up with nutrients that might be lacking from their diet. What many of these people over look are nutrients like Omega-3, which aids in maintaining healthy heart and brain functions; magnesium, which helps to maintain normal muscle and nerve functions, keeps bones strong, promotes a regulatory blood pressure, and supports a healthy immune system; and iron, which many people around the world are deficient of and have a hard time correctly stabilizing their intake.
Start taking prenatal vitamins at least two months before conception. The birth defects of the spine and brain can occur if the mother does not get sufficient folic acid during the first few weeks of her pregnancy.
One of the best ways to boost fertility and have a healthy pregnancy is to make careful food choices. Nothing is more intimate than to swallow something and then digest it so that it becomes part of you. Yet most of us give little thought to what we eat. In today’s fast paced lifestyle it’s critical that we also find tips that are practical so that people can incorporate healthy changes with less effort. That’s why when a good study comes along, I feel compelled to share it.
Last week a study was presented at the American Chemical Society that revealed the potential health benefits of popcorn. Researchers found that popcorn contains more concentrated healthy antioxidants. Whole grains contain a group of chemicals called polyphenols which are able to capture free radicals and therefore protect your DNA and the proteins in your body from damage. More noteworthy, since these polyphenols are not soluble in water, they are more concentrated in dehydrated foods like uncooked popcorn so you get more of them with fewer calories. These are the same chemicals that make wine, tea and chocolate of interest to healthy conscious foodies.
What prompted researchers to investigate popcorn is that now that we know grains contain high concentrations of healthy chemicals and dietary fiber. In fact, popcorn is a completely unprocessed whole grain. As a result, one serving provides people with more than 70% of the minimal recommended daily intake. That’s more than most people get on a daily basis! So that’s another health benefit of this easy to find snack.
It is important to pay attention to how popcorn is prepared since that can be its downfall from the wellness promotion aspects. Using too much oil or covering it with the unhealthy fake butter—a.k.a. “movie theatre style”—are the worst ways to prepare a serving of popcorn. Air popped popcorn is best since it is lowest in calories. Microwave popcorn often contains unhealthy trans fats as well as more calories. A healthy compromise is to cook popcorn on the stove in healthy canola/olive oil blend; about half the calories and the addition of some healthy omega-3. Enjoy
Popcorn naturally contains beneficial amounts of L-arginine, an amino acid needed for healthy sperm production. As research shows, increased consumption of L-arginine appears to improve sperm count and quality in men with slightly impaired fertility. Plus, air-popped popcorn contains no sodium or sugar, is naturally high in fiber and low in calories and fat, making it a sound snack option for anyone.
Picking a bell pepper for your next meal can give you folate (important for sperm production and preventing early pregnancy birth defects), fertility-boosting B vitamins, beta carotene (a precursor to vitamin A), and vitamin C, another antioxidant vitamin that may help prevent DNA damage in reproductive cells. Some research shows that vitamin C intake could help clomiphene fertility drugs work more efficiently.
Studies have shown that eating too many trans fats, those unhealthy "bad fats" found in hydrogenated oils, may put women at greater risk for ovulatory fertility disorders. The best way to avoid the trans-fat trap? Switch to olive oil. Free of trans fats, olive oil is a rich source for monounsaturated fatty acids, which are not only good for your heart and cholesterol levels, but also help you maintain a balanced and healthy endocrine system.
Studies have found that eating protein from plant sources, like beans and peanuts, is associated with increased fertility in women, as opposed to women who get their protein solely from other sources. Plus, beans are also high in iron and B vitamins, other nutrients that are helpful for fertility.
Crunch your way to conception success! Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables—cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts—contains some natural compound that believe helps to balance the body's estrogen levels and improve fertility.
Rich in antioxidants, iron, vitamin E, folic acid, and other B vitamins, just one serving a spinach provides your body with so many of the key nutrients you need for a healthy reproductive system. Layer spinach leaves in sandwiches, eat it steamed, or blend a handful of spinach in with your next smoothie. It could be your fertility superfood?
You may miss the most fertile time if you time intercourse to occur just after your day of egg release. The egg can live in the reproductive tract for about 36 hours. Sperm can live there for up to five days. "If you have intercourse for the five days preceding and on your day of ovulation, you maximize your chances of conceiving because the sperm are physically near the egg as it's being released."
Women attempting pregnancy need to take a multivitamin with folic acid, which is crucial to the normal development of the baby's spine. Ideally, start taking the recommended amount of folic acid—.4 milligrams (mg)—three months before trying to get pregnant.
Green leafy vegetables and fortified cereals are common dietary sources of folic acid. During preconception and pregnancy, eat a common sense diet—well-balanced with lots of fruits and vegetables. Avoid fast foods, snack foods, and refined sugars. Also, if you're undergoing fertility treatments, research has found that a Mediterranean diet may boost your chances of getting pregnant.
You can’t eat your way to getting pregnant, but maintaining a balanced diet and a healthy weight can make a difference. Both obese and underweight women take longer to conceive. Obesity is associated with menstrual dysfunction, decreased fertility and increased risk of miscarriage. In men, obesity is associated with abnormal semen parameters and may also adversely affect fertility.
A body weight above or below average can affect fertility. A large study looking at more that 2,000 pregnant women established that time to pregnancy was 4 times longer for underweight women (BMI<19 kg/m2) and 2 times longer for overweight women (BMI>25 kg/m2) in comparison to women with a normal weight.
It's important to get enough sleep when you're trying to conceive. Most sleep experts agree that seven to eight hours of sleep each night is a good target for the average adult. If you are falling short of this recommendation, try setting up a bedtime routine that includes a warm bath before bed and some downtime, like reading or journaling, rather than watching television.
Researchers found that men taking antioxidant supplements were more than four times more likely to get their partners pregnant than men who did not take antioxidants. Over all, antioxidants were associated with more than a five-fold higher rate of live births.
And don't forget to eat your veggies! The easiest way to get a heaping serving of antioxidants at every meal is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, foods that are rich in vitamins C and E and other naturally-occurring antioxidant compounds.
In women, researchers found that maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D helps to balance sex hormones and regulate ovulation by increasing levels of progesterone and estrogen. In men with low levels of vitamin D, taking in more of the nutrient increased sperm count and improved sperm quality and testosterone levels.
Zinc. High levels of zinc are found in the testes and prostate, and providing infertile men with zinc has been shown to improve their sperm count and motility, according to research. Zinc is also found in poultry, beans, nuts, and seeds.
Vitamins C and E. Vitamin C's antioxidant properties can protect the sperm's DNA. However- suggest not to exceed the RDA (recommended daily allowance) of vitamin C, as large doses of it have been implicated in fertility problems for both men and women. Examples of foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, broccoli, potatoes (with skin), strawberries etc.
Take care of your unborn baby.
The sole purpose of these blogs is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, prevention or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained doctor/health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained Ayurvedic expert, call us or e mail.
Dr Unnati Chavda
(Promoting pregnancy wellness)