Maintaining good blood sugar regulation is extremely important to give yourself the best possible chance of getting pregnant fast.
Peaking and plummeting blood sugar levels, diabetes and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) can have a detrimental effect on fertility.
What is blood sugar and what does it mean to my fertility?
The sugar in blood is called glucose and our bodies use it for everything from walking and talking to breathing and thinking.
Any food we eat has an impact on our blood sugar levels, which peak and trough depending on how we fuel our body. Our blood sugar levels rise after a meal and fall again as our body either uses the energy or stores it away.
Imbalanced blood sugar levels – both too much and too little can be dangerous and this is not ideal if you want to be in optimum health or get pregnant and create a truly healthy baby!
Poor blood sugar control can lead to more serious conditions that directly impact fertility and overall health including insulin resistance, diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) to name a few.
Diabetes and PCOS
Women who have diabetes tend to start their periods a little later in life; similarly they also go through menopause slightly earlier and thus have a shorter fertility window.
Additionally, women who have type 2 diabetes (the most common form of diabetes, affecting 85-90 per cent of all diabetes cases) also often have PCOS. Because of the effects of PCOS on the ovaries, women with type 2 diabetes and PCOS may have a harder time falling pregnant.
PCOS is considered to be the major cause of lowered fertility in women of the reproductive age. Women who have the syndrome often don’t ovulate and may also have degrees of insulin resistance among other issues.
As the first line of treatment, women with PCOS should try to gain or lose a little weight. When I say little that should be taken literally. Even losing (or gaining if the case may be) five per cent of the current weight is often all that’s needed to increase the number of ovulation cycles in a year.
Women with diabetes and PCOS need to also be very careful with their diet and try to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
The Importance of Diet to Optimise Fertility
To maintain blood sugar levels make sure to base your meals on non-starchy vegetables and good quality protein. It’s important to find something that is healthy and sustainable.
I recommend a serving of protein about the size and thickness of the palm of your hand (not including fingers) for meat and chicken, or the size and thickness of your whole hand if you are eating fish. Add this sized serving of protein to each meal, the rest of which should be non-starchy vegetables (shredded, roasted, steamed or raw) and/or salads.
Generally, I also recommend avoiding grains as most contain gluten. Grains also tend to elevate blood sugar levels, which can have a negative impact in insulin resistance situations, and similarly tend to be allergenic and inflammatory.
Be careful of simple sugars, such as table sugar, and refined carbohydrates such as white flour as they are absorbed very quickly into the bloodstream, they can also cause spikes in blood sugar levels. This produces a sudden release of insulin, followed by a quick fall as the glucose is squirreled away.
What Is The Glycaemic Index?
The glycaemic index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 according to how much they raise blood sugar levels after eating. Foods with a high GI are rapidly broken down and absorbed, resulting in considerable fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Low-GI foods on the other hand, are digested and absorbed slowly, producing gradual rises in blood sugar and insulin levels. Low-GI foods have been proven to be of benefit to general health and fertility.
Low GI foods are generally 55 and under; medium are 56 to 69 and high GI foods are 70 an above. Eating the low glycaemic way has many benefits including improved fertility; weight loss and effective weight control; improved symptom management of PCOS; increased insulin sensitivity (meaning you need less for the same effect—very positive!); improved diabetes control; decreased incidence of gestational diabetes; reduced hunger and prolonged feeling of satiety (fullness) after meals; increased physical endurance; reduced risk of heart disease; reduced blood cholesterol levels.
We should always take note on how to avoid high blood sugar.
For more information on maintaining good blood sugar control and an optimum fertility diet consider getting a copy of my book “Eat Your Way to Parenthood: The diet secrets of highly fertile couples revealed”.
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