My sister was trying to get pregnant for 15 months, with no luck. She is a rampant non-vegetarian and is also addicted to fried, spicy food. When she went to a reproductive medicine specialist, the first thing she was told was to drastically change her food habits and switch to an alkaline diet.
She cut out the junk and acidic red meat and immediately felt less bloated and stressed… and even better, she conceived naturally too.
If you want to boost your fertility, diet is where you start. Food is medicine, after all. But your fertility journey doesn’t end here. There are a score of natural ways to improve your chances of conceiving.
Most women know they should be eating ‘healthy’ when trying to get pregnant. But, not many have an idea of the pH of their diet and don’t know whether they are eating an acidic or alkaline diet.
To give you an idea- vinegar is acidic and baking soda is alkaline and our bodies have a pH of 7.36 which is slightly alkaline.
Now, if you eat a highly acidic diet which means you eat more meat, dairy products, sugar and sweets, wheat and white flour baked foods like pasta, coffee, tea, trans-fats, and food additives found in most packaged foods, then you may be making your body more acidic. Stress also makes your system very acidic by disrupting your body’s pH balancing mechanisms.
Acidic pH helps the disease-causing microorganisms inside your body to run amok interfering with the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals, including those responsible for hormonal balance. This causes infertility as well as reproductive tract infections.
An acidic diet also makes your cervical mucus acidic and sperm, as we know can’t thrive for long in an acidic environment increasing chances of infertility.
What you should do to alkalize your body is eat more lean green alkalizing vegetables. Eating at least one large salad per day is a good way to start.
Synthetic hormones also have an acidifying effect on your body; therefore eating a plant-based alkaline diet is of utmost importance to reap the benefits of fertility treatments.
A fertility diet is also a diet that supports your body in its reproductive efforts and includes foods which are dense in nutrients. It gives you:
• More antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which help protect the egg from damage due to free-radicals.
• Supports your reproductive system by providing the fats needed for hormone production and function.
• Is rich in vitamin –B12 or folate and iron, important nutrients for early pregnancy.
A number of nutrients are needed to support ovulation, hormonal balance, egg health, etc. and a deficiency can result in lack of ovulation, poor egg health and many other fertility issues.
Anaemia due to low iron, B12 and B6 can cause ovulation to stop, and a deficiency in zinc, an important mineral for fertility, affects egg health. Optimum level of vitamin C is also linked to egg health.
The ratio of alkaline to acidic foods that wannabe-mothers should be having is for fertility is 80 / 20.
You should thus be focusing on including a lot of raw vegetables- whether eating them raw or juicing for re-alkalizing your body.
Liquid nutrition is very effective in getting nutrient-dense foods into your body and eating fresh whole foods means your body is going to have the ingredients it needs to produce healthy, vibrant eggs.
Antioxidants are important as they boost your egg health by saving them from free radical damage. Free radicals damage cellular health and the DNA within your eggs.
The ovum or egg is one of the longest living cells in your body as all the eggs in your ovary are born when you were a foetus and only mature as years pass. This means they are also more exposed to free radicals and get damaged.
L-arginine is an amino acid (building block of protein) and researchers have found that it can increase ovarian response, endometrial receptivity, and pregnancy rates in IVF patients who were previously poor responders.
In a study published in Human Reproduction, a group of women were given large doses (16 grams) of L-arginine daily, up to and through the IVF cycle while another group (control) was not.
Results showed that “oral L-arginine supplementation in poor responder patients may improve ovarian response, endometrial receptivity and pregnancy rate.”
You can and must discuss L- arginine supplementation for boosting fertility with your doctor, especially if you are over 35.
Implantation of the embryo in the uterus is one aspect of IVF that weighs heavy on a woman’s mind as many times embryos are rejected by the uterus.
You become pregnant only after a successful implantation. The time leading up to transference of the embryo into your womb is ideal for focusing on relaxing your uterus and nervous system. Acupuncture, the Chinese needle cure is showing great results in calming and supporting the uterus to facilitate successful implantation. (Read more about acupuncture as infertility cure here)
Finally, when it comes to true healing, you should look at your body as a whole instead of “treating” just infertility. This is where mind-body therapies come in.
Studies have shown a dramatic increase in IVF success rates for those who participated in a mind-body program like meditation prior and during their IVF procedure. So, go for more relaxing walks, meditate, and do something you like to become more fertile.