Diet and Weightloss
24 August 2017
It’s one of the first questions asked by many women hoping to get pregnant: “What should I eat in order to boost my fertility?”
I too have asked this question multiple times, to my primary care doctor, gynecologist, and to many friends and colegues. So is there a magic diet plan that will help me achieve my fertility? Who knows? The best we can do is to follow studies and research to see what we can do to better our chances. An Article published by the Huffington Post suggests there is a new study that offers up one possible answer. It claims that women who ate a diet rich in protein and low in carbohydrates while undergoing in vitro fertilization had higher pregnancy rates than those whose ratio of protein to carbs was the inverse. But the findings, while provocative, are highly preliminary.
“Protein is essential for good quality embryos and better egg quality, it turns out,” study researcher Dr. Jeffrey Russell, director of the Delaware Institute for Reproductive Medicine, said in a statement. His research was released at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists‘ annual clinical meeting in New Orleans on Monday.
Patients whose protein intake represented 25 percent or more of their daily diet, and whose carbohydrate intake was 40 percent or less, had pregnancy rates four times higher than those who ate less protein and more carbs while undergoing in vitro fertilization.
Researchers asked 120 women undergoing IVF to keep a three-day nutritional journal before they had an embryo transfer. Forty eight women had an average daily protein intake greater than 25 percent, while 72 had an average intake under 25 percent. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it is generally recommended that people get between 10 and 35 percent of their daily calories from protein.)
There were no differences in body mass index (a measure of weight relative to height) between the two groups, and because of that, the researchers concluded that improving fertility may be linked to specific nutritional components in a woman’s diet, more than to her overall BMI.
"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase"
Martin luther king Jr.
But the desire for more information is there, evident in the numerous books, blog posts and articles on the topic. As I belong to many groups for a variety of different diet types I seem to see many women posting on the blogs in regards to the keto diet that some of these women say they had lost between 14lbs to 50lbs over the course of keto dieting, when suddenly they noticed they began to gain a little bit more weight only to find that the slight weight increase was because they had a bun cooking in their oven.
Other women with irregular periods say the diet had made their periods more regular. Others say their flow had gone from a dark nasty brown to a rich bright red.
The more these testimonies keep coming, the more women are rushing to the ketogenic diet as a way of life (WOE).
So why does the ketogenic diet increase fertility in women and why does it correct hormonal imbalance?
Perhaps the most scientifically rigorous information available comes from a 2007 study, led by researchers at Harvard University, that used data from more than 18,000 women who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study, one of the longest-running investigations into women’s health in the U.S. Those findings were detailed in the much-hyped book “The Fertility Diet,” which offered dietary guidelines for preventing and reversing ovulatory infertility (but not infertility resulting from issues like blocked fallopian tubes).
According to the Harvard researchers, women should avoid trans fats and focus on the quality of the carbohydrates they eat, opting for fiber-rich foods and avoiding simple sugars rather than restricting the quantity of carbs. Researchers also found that women who had more full-fat dairy products in their diets were less likely to have problems getting pregnant than those who opted for skim or low-fat options.
It is not just a coincidence that some of the fruits and vegetables eaten on the ketogenic diet resemble the female reproductive system in their shape, as they target the health and function of the uterus and cervix. Here are some fascinating facts I have discovered about them:
Aubergines (Egg Plants)
These members of the squash family are known for balancing hormones and helping female fertility, as they are rich in natural phyto-oestrogens; chemicals in plants that are similar to female hormones (It’s quite appropriate that they are also known as EGG plants, isn’t it?!)
These fruits are extremely nutritious generally, especially for pregnant women or those trying to conceive. They prevent high blood-pressure and stroke, and they are also rich in folic acid, which helps to prevent neural tube defects in babies. Additionally pear-shaped women are the ones who are considered to be the most fertile!
My favourite of the three, not only because they taste awesome, but also because of their numerous nutritional benefits, one of which is related to human fertility. The avocado was considered the “fertility fruit” in ancient times by the Aztecs, for men as well as women.
One reason for this is that it has a high vitamin E content. Today’s research shows that when women eat one avocado per week it balances their hormones, sheds excess baby weight and helps to prevent cervical cancers. A recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health showed that avocados and olive oil could help women trying to conceive through IVF – they could triple their chances of conception (due to the mono-unsaturated fat in these foodstuffs). Women hoping to conceive have been advised to eat an avocado every day.
P/S: The stone in the avocado resembles a baby in the womb and it takes exactly NINE months for one avocado to grow from a blossom to a ripened fruit!
Huffington Post, Effects of a Ketogenic Diet.
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