Gluten-free is important because gluten is highly inflammatory and it can be quite abrasive to the lining of the digestive tract, which in turn can impair nutrient absorption. It can also negatively trigger the immune system and that’s one of my biggest concerns when it comes to people that are having either fertility problems or miscarriage issues.
You might not have a full-blown diagnosed gluten intolerance, but most people are sensitive to some degree to gluten. And what I see in my practice us that when I get people to follow the fertility diet, they lose weight, they feel so much better, and then when they start eating gluten again, they discover they are no longer as well as they had been throughout the 120 day preconception preparation time.
What is Gluten? Gluten is essentially a protein made of gliadin and glutenine. These are the two components of gluten and they’re conjoined by a starch that is inside various grass related grains – wheat, barley, rye, triticale, kamut, spelt, oats – all of these food sources essentially contain gluten and what gluten does is give elasticity to these foods.
We Recommend 100% Gluten-Free Fertility Diet
Gluten has been conclusively linked in the research to infertility, miscarriage and intrauterine growth restriction. As far as my patients are concerned, I recommend every single one of them to be gluten-free. It’s not a recommendation that I actually make to my general health patients I normally don’t believe that you have to be gluten-free a 100% of the time, unless of course you are completely intolerant.
However, for our patients that are having difficulties conceiving, 100% gluten-free is a non negotiable recommendation which includes Kamut or even Spelt. As an alternative you need to look to grains like millets, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth – all gluten-free grains and certainly an option in regards to replacements… if necessary, because when I talk about a fertility diet I like to make sure that meals are based primarily on vegetables and protein.
Even for the gluten-free options it is my recommendation that patients keep to no more than about a third of a cup for women and a half a cup for men, of cooked grains per day max. simply because of the impact that grains can have on blood sugar regulation.
While it may not seem like a very powerful change to make to your lifestyle in my experience it is most commonly this type of minor factor – in combination with multiple other minor factors – that create barriers to our patients ability to get pregnant. By recommending a gluten-free diet we rule out any possible impediments to optimum fertility possibly cause by gluten in your diet.
When we were talking about going gluten-free, if you’re really proactive about your fertility eating you shouldn’t really miss the types of foods that contain gluten too much. More over by avoiding processed foods you also reduce your intake of other substance that can cause havoc for your fertility.
For example, trans fats are all to often found gluten products – things like biscuits and cakes, pies, pastries, all of those things that are commercially available, made with vegetable oils that are converted to trans fats in the heating / cooking / baking process. Research has shown us that every 2% increase in the consumption of trans fats, increases the risk of ovulation problems in women by 73%.
For more information on fertility diets, foods to avoid and the benefits of going gluten-free join us for the Fertility Challenge and download a gluten free conversion chart from our free resources section to help you make choices to boost your fertility.
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