Guest blog by Rose from Stomach Kind.
Stomach Kind is a website created to share advice for a healthier digestive system, based on personal experience with bile-reflux, gastritis and stomach ulcers. The blog shares all of the advice collected over 3 years. It’s honest, practical and supportive.
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Can you improve your fertility by improving your digestion?
Over the last year, I have made a huge recovery from chronic stomach problems (gastritis mostly). Whilst recovering, I learned more about the stomach, and especially about the wider role of the digestive system in my overall health. It may not come as much of a surprise to you – but your digestive system is your best friend when it comes to improving your overall health, and in turn, your fertility.
My fiancé and I have had many laughs over some of the health books I read, from which some of the advice is best taken with a pinch of salt. But the funniest bit ever was from a book on the role of your digestive system and digesting nutrients – and there was a chapter in there on fertility. It said we had to “Nourish the soil” with a great diet, “ready for conception” – bleaugh!! That’s almost enough to put anyone off eating healthily…. I hope my article is less – well – disgusting. No-one should have a licence to use that kind of cringey language
Now, let’s not beat around the bush here – I have never tried to get pregnant and I don’t have children – and I’d hate for you to think I don’t have the right to comment. But if you are trying to conceive, you’ll probably feel like trying anything! I hope this article helps.
The main point I’ve noticed is: there are so many do’s and don’ts around trying to conceive – it can get confusing and even start to make you feel like you are going crazy…..and that won’t help you relax! J The most important thing is – everything in moderation. Your happiness is key…..try to improve your overall health and understand what you can do to help, but it won’t do you any harm to have a glass of wine and some chocolates once in a while.
The tips below are taken from my research – and although most of the tips are designed to improve your general health, please please talk to your GP before trying these, so you know if it is safe for you or not.
So, let’s begin:
- Foods to avoid:
- Anything high in saturated fat – so this includes junk food, ready meals
- High amounts of sugar and salt, which deplete the body of nutrients needed for conception
- Wheat is high in phytates, chemicals that block the absorption of some minerals, so it’s best to reduce this.
- Friendly foods:
- Any good protein (chicken breast, egg whites, cottage cheese are just a few examples)
- Magnesium (found in mackerel, pumpkin seeds, spinach, kale, lentils, avocados, brown rice, bananas, and dried fruit)
- Have a full health MOT and check the side effects of any prescription drugs you may be taking – some medication could temporarily reduce your fertility.
- You could switch to organic foods – or if this doesn’t appeal to you, either try growing your own or at the very least wash your fruit and vegetables very well before you cook with them (or even better, peel them, as the pesticides are more concentrated on the skin).
- Acupuncture has been believed to increase fertility in both men and women – so it is worth investigating this with a qualified practitioner.
- Start using a water filter instead of drinking direct from the tap.
- Limit your exposure to chemicals in household cleaners, toiletries, fake tan, hair dye, room sprays and perfumes.
- Deal with any stress in your life. This means finding the root cause of any stress and either reducing it or coping with it via exercise or meditation.
- Gentle exercise is best for improving fertility – so think less of running and aerobics, and more of swimming, walking, Pilates and yoga.
- Aiding Nutrient Absorption:
You need to start to take proper care of your digestive tract so that you properly digest all of the vitamins and minerals you need…..Aloe Vera juice is great at soothing the gut, so I often have a tablespoon diluted with a little water about 20 minutes before dinner every day. Liquorice is also great at soothing the digestive tract – so if you like the taste, liquoriceteas or supplements are perfect for this. Word of warning – do speak to your
- doctor before eating lots of liquorice as it raises blood pressure.
- If you want to take a multivitamin, try one that’s super easy to digest and goes straight into the blood stream – like one that you can spray underneath your tongue, or one that dissolves in your mouth (as opposed to a massive tablet you swallow with water).
So can you improve your fertility by improving your digestion? In summary, a poor diet low in nutrients, food additives, smoking, alcohol, stress and urinary tract infections will all contribute to lower fertility…..so although there are many factors, to ignore the role of your digestive system in fertility would be irrational. I’ve included the references for both of the most useful books I found on the role of diet and fertility……& have a look in your local library and you’ll probably find many more!
I hope this is useful for you……I have many more tips and pieces of advice I have found, so if you have any specific questions please do not hesitate to contact me and I can direct you to a good book or give you my two-pence worth.
Finally, a word of thanks to Smiles and Trials for being kind enough to host my guest blog! Thank you!
Emma Cannon, The Baby-Making Bible: Simple Steps to Enhance Your Fertility and Improve Your Chances of Getting Pregnant, Rodale, 2010.
Hazel Courtney, 500 of the Most Important Health Tips You’ll Ever Need; An A-Z of Alternative Health Hints to Help over 250 Conditions, CICO Books, 2011.