In search of natural fertility boosters? Look no further than your natural grocer!

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Infertility affects 1 in 6 American couples.  It can feel like a kick in the stomach to be told that having children is (at least currently) out of reach to you and your significant other.  Before assuming that you need to invest thousands of dollars on medical treatments, consider some simple ways you might be able to bring your hormones back into balance and enhance your chances of natural conception.

1. An important–and ever-present–negative influence on fertility is chemicals that mimic estrogen.  When they are in the body, they can fool the reproductive organs out of making the right kinds of estrogens.  Some of the more common chemicals where these unnatural estrogens are found include:  fertilizers, pesticides, cleaning compounds, paints, glues, and inks.  If you’ve tried to eat healthier by eating more fruits and vegetables, you may inadvertently have added more of these chemicals to your diet.  By opting for organic, you can reduce your exposure to environmental estrogens while getting the benefits that produce offers to your fertility.

2. If you’re a busy person, working hard, and juggling numerous responsibilities, be sure you take care of the extra stress your productive energy can impose on your body.  Antioxidants are your body’s “clean sweepers”; they function by swiping up stress-related damage that can cause your system to “rust out” if left unchecked.  Fruits and vegetables are one of your primary sources of antioxidants.  When you eat seasonal and prioritize foods that are grown locally, you are more likely eating foods that have been allowed to stay on the vine longer  before being harvested.  That allows them to pack in more anti-oxidant power before you eat them.  New labeling laws require grocers to tell you where your produce has come from.  Patronizing grocers who bring you produce from local farms is good for your body as well as your local economy!

3. Omega-3 fatty acids are incredibly important for fertility. The most important source of omega-3’s is fish.  While salmon is the most promoted for its omega-3 content, anything in the water contains it.  Look for the Marine Stewardship Council logo, which tells you that your fishmonger has used sustainable fishing practices in the process of bringing your seafood to you.

If you are not a fish eater, your organic grocer is likely to have several alternatives.  Omega-3 eggs contain DHA, one of the omega-3’s found in seafood.  DHA from marine algae is also more frequently being added to foods; the Life’s DHA logo that you see on certain yogurts, dairy products, nutrition bars, etc., tells you that you’re getting the omega-3’s you need.

4. Omega-3 fatty acids have a better opportunity to help your fertility if you also work to eliminate fats from other sources.  A good rule of thumb is to prioritize oils that do not begin with the letters “S” or “C” (in other words, minimize your use of oils such as corn, soybean, safflower, sunflower, cottonseed, and sesame).  The only exception to this rule is canola oil.  If you’ve tried to eat healthy and gravitated toward salads, this can be especially important.  Organic grocers often have varieties of salad dressing that are made with olive and canola oils that are great alternatives to traditional salad dressings.

5. Trans fats were recently linked to fertility.  According to one study, if even 2% of your total calories come from trans fat, your fertility may be reduced by almost 80%!  The word “hydrogenated” or “may contain hydrogenated” tell you that trans fats may lurk in the product.  There are many great options in prepared foods that do not contain these fats.  Take the time to read the labels.

6. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is increasingly being linked to insulin resistance, which is a major cause of infertility.  Look for beverages, snacks, etc., that use other kinds of sweeteners.

In general, the closer to the vine, the closer to home, and the less processed the food, the more fertility friendly it will be.  Fortunately, the buyers at your local organic grocer have done much of the decision making for you.  They have some wonderfully delicious alternatives that won’t leave you feeling deprived in your quest for fertility-friendly eating.

Bon fertilité!

Contributor Info:
Monika M. Woolsey, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and exercise physiologist, and founder of inCYST, a network of professionals dedicated to helping women design natural solutions to problems such as infertility.  Her Fertility Friendly Food Tours (SM) are currently available in Whole Foods Stores in Arizona and Southern California.  For more information, visit www.incyst.blogspot.com

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