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Today’s post looks at the impact diet has on egg quality. I will point out the impact diet has on sperm quality in the coming weeks.

It must be said that the reasons for infertility especially in women is very complex and can’t simply be rectified by your diet BUT having a healthy diet improves your general health and can also be powerful enough to regulate hormone imbalances. Diet together with exercise can dramatically assist regular ovulation in people suffering from ovulatory problems. Here is a little background info on how carbohydrates impact hormones and their feedback systems.

Insulin and Infertility

A more complex look into how food can impact hormones is through the strong association between insulin and fertility. Many researchers have proven a strong link between insulin – fertility – egg quality.

How does insulin work in our Body?

Insulin is a hormone that gets released when we eat carbohydrates. Carbohydrates consist of glucose molecules and when they are found in the blood the pancreas is stimulated to release insulin so that the glucose is absorbed by the muscle and liver cells. When there is a drop in glucose levels in the blood the insulin levels drop dramatically as well. Therefore insulin is a hormone that makes the glucose be absorbed by the body.

Insulin resistance leads to abdominal fat which surrounds our organs and it is this fat that contains an enzyme that converts androstenedione to estrone and testosterone to estradiol. So the results are excess androgens (which are responsible for unwanted hair growth and virilization) and estrogens (which inhibit FSH via negative feedback).

The great news is its really easy to address insulin resistance the bad news is it takes a fair effort on your part.

I have found the most dramatic and effective way to see quick results is embarking in a vigorous exercise regimen. The only problem is many women with this problem feel unmotivated and sluggish and that’s why I recommend a personal trainer as their job is to take you out of your comfort zone. I wish the answer was to go for a walk around the block but what we are dealing with is very stubborn situation and a vigorous exercise regimen is the best way to go (Always seek medical advice before embarking any new exercise regimen).

The Importance of a Healthy Diet

Now, we will look at the importance of a healthy diet which is just as if not more important than exercise. There’s no point working up a sweat then eating something that’s ruining all that hard work.

What my basic recommendations are:

Focus on Low GI foods – we have heard this over and over but what does this all mean. The low GI foods cause insulin to be released slowly so you remain fuller for a longer period of time. Such foods are:

  1. Rice: Basmati, Brown and Wild
  2. Legumes: Kidney, Adzuki, Green Beans, Borlotti Beans, Mung Beans, Lentils, Split Peas, Chick Peas, Green Peas
  3. Vegetables: Broccoli, Spinach, All Green Leafy Vegetables, Asparagus, Avocado, Tomatoes, Lettuce, Cauliflower
  4. Dairy: Fruit-Free Yoghurt
  5. Grains: Quinoa, Buckwheat, Oats, Sugar-Free Muesli (note gluten free muesli is often high GI)
  6. Fruits: Stone Fruits, Apples, Pears, Oranges and Berries (always have what’s in season as allergies develop when fruits are eaten out of season)
  7. Breads: Multi-grain, Soy and Linseed, Sourdough and Pumpernickel

A common mistake is that people’s portion control goes out the window when they are eating low GI foods.

When you are eating a large quantity of low GI foods the reaction is similar as is you where eating high GI foods. The important factor is to eat protein as big as your palm and half a plate of vegetables. The high protein gives you a sense of being full and the low GI foods make the sensation of fullness to last longer.

What your plate should look like:

Half the plate should be vegetables, a quarter of the plate animal protein (i.e.: fish, chicken, lean meats), an eighth should be low GI foods i.e.: rice, bread and another eighth is legumes

It is important to note that each person’s health is individual and they should consult a health practitioner before changing their diet.