To prepare for pregnancy and enhance fertility, it is very important to maintain a healthy weight and choose foods that will create a safe and supportive environment for your baby's nine-month journey. From a female perspective, the foods consumed and toxins ingested have an effect on hormonal balance and egg quality. We now understand the importance of the environment that the egg is released into and how it subsequently develops. That is why a good diet and sufficient nutrients are so important to support the developing foetus. Males are no different as sperm is manufactured in the male body every 74 days, which is why it is so important to consume foods that have a beneficial effect on sperm quality. When embarking on this journey it is wise to clean up the diet and reduce the amount of toxins ingested three months ahead of the time for a planned conception.
The body has a very clever way of removing toxins from it. There are many ways to remove toxins from the body but its preferred route is via the bowel. If toxins are not removed and build up they can interfere with the workings of many systems in the body including the reproductive system and the immune system. All hormones are broken down in the body and must be eliminated.
The gut is host to a big family of bacteria. These guys are responsible for many functions but chief amongst them is the elimination of toxic waste. In order for the bowel to work efficiently and effectively it relies on the help of these bacteria.
Keeping the bacteria in the gut well fed and happy is key to supporting the elimination process, energy production and hormonal balancing.
In women with endometriosis, the growth of the uterine tissue can form outside of the uterus. Often, it can be in the bowel. Hormonal imbalances further contribute to the growth of this tissue. So, following a diet that is high in fibre will serve to balance these hormones, and can result in less formation of uterine tissue.
The food the bowel requires is fibre. Fibre feed the bacteria, thrive, multiply and flourish when they are fed diverse sources of fibre. Over 80% of Irish people do not consume sufficient fibre in their diets. Fibre is found in all foods from the plant kingdom. It is not found in animal produce such as meat, poultry, eggs, fish or dairy. The aim is to consume 30 grams of fibre per day. The key is to eat a diverse range of plant foods such as, peas, beans, lentils, apples with the skin on, nuts all fruits, vegetables, seeds and grains. Fibre should be consumed at each meal. Snacking on nuts and seeds, fruit and natural yogurt daily support detoxification of hormones and support energy and balance the immune function.
• manage weight
• have healthy, regular bowel movements
• maintain healthy cholesterol levels
• have a healthy inflammatory response
• rid itself of excess bile
• by feeding good bacteria in the gut/digestive tract
• maintain a healthy blood pressure
Gaye Godkin, Health Nutritionist, , MPH Nutrition (Hons) DipNT cNLP