Food is meant to nourish the body and optimise health, which in turn has a positive impact on fertility yet the wrongs foods can and do contribute to our growing infertility rates.
If you wanted nothing more than simply be as healthy as possible, you would need to do your very best to avoid these damaging so called ‘foods’, but since your aim is to achieve a healthy conception, avoid miscarriages, have a healthy pregnancy and a truly healthy baby—you must do your very best to steer way clear of these. Ideally forever! And as a friendly suggestion—whatever you do, never willingly introduce them to your children….
1. Chips or French Fries and Nearly All Commercially Fried & ‘Baked’ Foods
Potatoes are bad enough when consumed boiled, steamed or baked because their simple sugars rapidly convert to glucose that raises insulin levels and can devastate your health and fertility. When they are cooked in trans fat at high temperatures, all sorts of interesting and very unpleasant things occur.
Most commercial packaged chips, including soy chips, corn chips, potato chips, tortilla chips, you name it, are high in trans fat. Some companies have caught on to the recent media blitz about the dangers of trans fat and have started to produce chips without it.
However, this isn’t really any better because the high cooking temperatures still potentially cause the formation of carcinogenic substances. In addition, when packets say, ‘baked not fried’, it generally means that oil is added before, during, and sometimes even after, the baking is done to produce that ‘fried’ effect. So don’t be fooled by clever marketing. If a food seems fried that’s because it is!
Anything that is fried, even a vegetable, has the issue of trans fat and the potent cancer (and other diseases including infertility)-causing substance acrylamide.
Foods that are fried in vegetable oils such canola, soybean, safflower, corn, and other seed and nut oils are particularly problematic. These polyunsaturated fats easily become rancid when exposed to oxygen and produce large amounts of damaging free radicals in the body.
They are also very susceptible to heat-induced damage from cooking. What is not commonly known is that these oils can actually cause and dramatically contribute to ageing, clotting, inflammation, cancer and weight gain.
2. Fried and Non-Fried Seafood
This category represents the pinnacle of non-healthy eating. Fried prawns, clams, oysters, lobsters, and so on, have all the issues of trans fat and acrylamide mentioned above, plus an added risk of mercury and other poisons.
Seafood is loaded with toxic mercury and PCBs, and shellfish such as prawns and lobsters can be contaminated with parasites and resistant viruses that may not even be killed by high heat. These creatures, considered scavengers of the sea, consume foods that may be harmful to you.
Eating these foods gives you a quadruple dose of toxins—trans fat, acrylamide, mercury and possibly parasites or viruses—with every bite. The issue of seafood is an easy one to resolve—do not eat it! Particularly during your preconception preparation and throughout a healthy pregnancy and breastfeeding—and yes, this does also apply to men during the pre-conception preparation.
However, the issue of fish is a difficult one, because fish is supposed to be very good for you and fish oils are essential for good health and fertility. Sadly, most fish nowadays is not fit for consumption during pregnancy due to the potentially high levels of toxic mercury and pollutants. Also, most of the fish available in supermarkets is farmed and this brings its own sets of problems – including deranged fatty acid profiles, which have not yet been shown to be safe.
So, if you are pregnant, or in the four months preceding conception, good quality fish oil supplementation is the best option to ensure you are getting sufficient amounts, which are important at this time. Bear in mind that the price indicates the quality (don’t buy cheap fish oils!). If you do want to eat some fish, make it no more than twice a week and ensure you choose small, deep-ocean fish such as wild salmon, trout, sardines, herring, whiting, John Dory, and red snapper.
3. Sugar & Sugary Foods
To optimise your fertility and get the best from your fertility diet, it’s ideal to avoid all (or at the very least drastically decrease) your sugar and sugary food consumption. Your results will be dramatically better when trying to conceive (naturally or via IVF) if you do. Here are a couple of examples of what you absolutely must avoid for best results.
Doughnuts are fried and full of sugar, white flour and trans fat. Store-bought doughnuts are made up of about 35% to 40% trans fat, and remember every 2% increase decreases fertility by 73%, according to the Harvard study previously discussed).
These trans fats have been linked to many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer and infertility!
An average doughnut will give you about 200 to 300 calories, mostly from sugar, and very few nutrients.
Eating a doughnut is one of the fastest ways to ruin your day. It will upset your blood sugar levels, leading to irritability, mood swings, energy slumps and poor concentration, and you will soon be even hungrier than you were before you ate it.
One can of soft drink has about 10 teaspoons of sugar, 150 calories, 30 to 55 mg of caffeine, and is loaded with artificial food colouring and sulphites. The ‘diet’ varieties are also problematic as they are filled with harmful artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and others that have been linked to many health problems, including infertility, malformations and miscarriages.
Studies have linked soft drinks to osteoporosis, obesity, tooth decay and heart disease. It is estimated that the average American drinks approximately 212 litres of soft drink each year (and I doubt that Australia is too far behind). Drinking all that sugar suppresses your immune function and leads to weight gain and the sorts of hormonal imbalances that strongly contribute to fertility problems. That much sugar is also likely to suppress your appetite for healthy foods, paving the way for nutrient deficiencies which increases the likelihood of miscarriages and malformations, as well as an unhealthy pregnancy.
Just remember, if you choose to consume soft drinks, it is a trade-off against your health and fertility and the health of generations to come. If you routinely drink soft drinks(regular or diet) eliminating them from your diet is one of the simplest and most profound health improvements you can make. If you want to optimise your health and fertility begin implementing these changes today the reward may just be the healthy baby of your dreams!
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