Fertility specialist, Dr Mahesh Koregol explains how a lack of nutrition can impact your fertility rate. Find out more.
Our eating habits can affect fertility through ovulation and a poor diet can impact our hormones, which in turn, can lead to ovulatory issues. Studies have shown that women with irregular or absent ovulation change their diet habits, those who changed five or more aspects of their diet and exercise, reduced their risk of infertility by 80 per cent!
Food-led hormonal imbalances
Most women are aware of the hormones like progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone but when it comes to diet and fertility, insulin is the hormone we need to focus on. Excess insulin in the body can interfere with ovulation by stopping eggs from developing properly and increase the chances of an ovarian cyst. Women will often have high insulin levels if they consume a carbohydrate dominant diet with lots of sugar and starchy foods such as white bread, white flour, potatoes and white rice. This type of diet forces the pancreas to release more insulin to help the body metabolize as a large number of carbohydrates are being consumed.
Nutrition impact on male fertility
Unexplained male infertility has been related to lack of nutrition in some studies. The type of diet impacts sperm quality, quantity, and motility. Fertility is influenced by a lot of factors and not all kinds of nutrients are good for one’s sperm quality. Zinc is an extremely rich source and low zinc content in the body will lead to low sperm count. Folate is important for the body. It is one of the key nutrients and is important for creating genetic material. Lack of vitamin E leads to low sperm count.
Dietary changes can benefit fertility
A nutritious and well-balanced diet can help support overall health, including reproductive health, in women. Nutrients play a vital role in female fertility because several nutrients of major diets also affect the implantation of a normal embryo. For instance, the fallopian tubes are blocked, preventing sperm from reaching an egg, dietary changes will not remove the blockage and open the tubes.
The easiest rule is to limit the intake of anything containing sugar, along with foods high in trans fats that can all raise insulin levels and impair ovulation. The safest way to avoid these kinds of foods is to consume ‘real food’ that has not been processed but is grown on the farms, like vegetables, eggs, and meat. Doctors keep suggesting consuming a good quantity of fatty acids like omega-3 is also recommended, as it contains a good amount of hormone pre-cursors, therefore helping to stimulate ovulation. In terms of what someone should consume, one must not forget to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. One of the most common causes of insulin excess is the regular intake of sugary soft drinks and carbonated drinks. These need to be eliminated from the diet. Intake of herbal teas and full-cream milk are much better options in terms of beverage consumption.
Deficiencies in iron, vitamin D, selenium, and iodine are all linked to lower ovulation rates hence it is recommended to consume food that contains these or supplements that can provide these elements. While pregnancy-specific multivitamins are recommended for pregnant mothers trying to conceive, they should not consume them instead of a wholesome diet. Good nutrition is essential for a healthy body and reproductive system that will increase the chances of getting pregnant. Eating a nutritious and healthy diet, making positive lifestyle changes like doing regular exercise, quit smoking and reducing alcohol intake can all help boost fertility and prepare your body for pregnancy. If you are trying to conceive, it is vital to start making healthy nutrition and lifestyle choices. Do not let stress and worry get you down. Consulting with a fertility expert is advisable to know the best options.
About the author: Dr Mahesh Koregol, IVF Fertility Specialist, Nova IVF Fertility Koramangala, Bengaluru.
Your comment has been submitted to the moderation queue