The Fertility Diet: Natural Ways to Boost Ovulation
Take a moment to think about your body and how you nourish it. The food that you eat provides you with all of the nutrients that your body needs to function properly. A properly nourished, healthy individual with a good diet should have a well-functioning immune system, the ability to neutralise toxins, and well-balanced hormonal responses.
Like all complex disorders, infertility can arise from a wide variety of different reasons and there is no ‘one-size fits all’ solution. However, good nutrition can help to improve your chances of conceiving naturally, and in some cases, it could contribute to solving the problem.
In 2007, a group of researchers followed 17,544 married women who were participating in the Nurses’ Health Study II at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The researchers devised a scoring system based on lifestyle and dietary factors that had been highlighted as causing infertility in women1.
The study results
The study clearly showed that diet and lifestyle choices had a significant impact on the fertility rates of the women being studied.
The risk of ovulatory disorder infertility (women who can’t conceive due to ovulation problems), was found to be lower in women who:
– consumed higher amounts of monounsaturated fats and avoided the trans-fats commonly found in processed margarines and baked products.
– ate a predominantly plant-based diet.
– consumed mainly high fibre, low-glycaemic index (GI) carbohydrates rather than refined carbohydrates with a typically higher GI.
– had a high non-heme iron intake (consumed iron from vegetarian sources).
– ate full fat dairy products.
The fertility diet
Ovulation is the result of a series of perfectly timed hormonal responses that allow an egg to mature, be released from the ovary, and travel down the fallopian tube into the uterus to await fertilisation. The hormone response in the body must be balanced in order for this process of ovulation to occur, and the hormonal response is controlled and coordinated by the endocrine system.
Poor nutrition can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies and/or dehydration, all of which affect the functioning of the endocrine system and as a result, the delicate hormone balance of the body. Chemical food additives, refined sugars and obesity, also disrupt the natural balance in the body and reduce fertility.
Non-dietary related factors affecting fertility include stress, genetic make-up and smoking.
Low GI complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables and monounsaturated fats, eaten at regular intervals throughout the day, help to keep the endocrine system functioning properly and keep the hormonal responses balanced.
The healthy body is comprised of a multitude of complex hormonal interactions. Ovulation is regulated by the endocrine system which controls the natural hormone balance of the entire body. The body’s hormonal balance can be disrupted by poor dietary choices that result in mineral and vitamin deficiencies; or upset the body’s natural balance due to consumption of refined carbohydrates, sugars and chemical preservatives.
A clean eating diet, comprised of well-balanced, low glycaemic index meals can improve your fertility, especially if your infertility is the result of ovulation problems.
About the author:
Sonia Nicholas is a Biomedical Scientist; Freelance Clinical Science Writer & Editor; and Founder of The Green Apple Club. Sonia has been working in the field of clinical science for fifteen years.
Sonia believes that everyone can improve their health by eating a clean diet free from processed food, artificial additives, chemical preservatives and refined sugar – a claim that scientific research increasingly supports.
All of the articles published on The Green Apple Club website are evidence based and fully scientifically referenced.