Getting pregnant is not as easy as it used to be. The numbers speak for themselves; one in 6 couples is having serious trouble starting a family. Since I have personally treated many women who faced inexplicable difficulties to get pregnant or carry their pregnancy to term, I know that the reasons for this rapid decline in our fertility are partially rooted in our modern lifestyle and overprocessed diet. As gloomy as this may sound, it is actually good news because we can actively choose healthier products and ways of life that protect our fertility, instead of unknowingly sabotaging it. This is where our power lies: by making empowered, informed decisions, we take responsibility for our health and are able to transform our lives from the inside out. If you are ready to be in charge of your fertility, here are the four most critical and easy steps to do so.
1. Replace conventional tampons and pads.
Most of us assume that as long as a product is sold in supermarkets, it is adequately tested and safe for us to use. But, the reality is much different. Feminine hygiene products are an excellent example of this problem. A recent review called Chem Fatale, which was released by the organisation Women’s Voices for the Earth in November 2013, found that common feminine care products, such as tampons and sanitary pads, are contaminated with toxic chemicals, such as carcinogenic and hormone disrupting dioxins and pesticide residues. This is the kind of stuff that sabotage fertility and our feminine health in general. Other products, like feminine wipes, anti-itch creams, deodorants and feminine wash contain a variety of unregulated ingredients and unknown fragrance chemicals, which are notorious for containing generous amounts of hormone disrupting materials, such as phthalates.Opt for fragrance-free, organic cotton pads and tampons. Another very sustainable and increasingly popular choice is the silicon cup, which collects, instead of absorbing, menstrual blood.
2. Eat (healthy) fats.
With low-fat diets being at the peak of their popularity, eating fats may not seem the coolest thing to do. Unfortunately, this has devastating results for our fertility because fats are essential building blocks for the most important sex hormones. In other words, no fat means abnormal levels of estrogen and progesterone, the fertility hormone duo that dominates our cycle and fertility. However, not all fats are the same. Unhealthy fats, such as margarine, trans-fats and over-processed vegetable oils can be as harmful for our fertility as not eating fats at all. Keep in mind that even if you don’t have these fats at home, they are in almost every processed, ready-made meal / food and the majority of restaurant dishes you can get your hands on.
The healthiest alternatives and critical components of a balanced diet are virgin olive oil, coconut oil and real butter, the kind that comes from exclusively pastured, happy animals. Because many fertility toxins, such as pesticides, find it easy to dissolve in oily substances, it is best to choose certified organic oils and fats, in order to minimize the chances that your precious healthy oils are also carrying fat-soluble nasties.
3. Adopt a plastic-free lifestyle.
Plastics contain BPA, an omnipresent and notorious endocrine disruptor. When plastic comes in touch with hot and/or oily food or the plastic is scratched while washing up, BPA is released and easily passes into our food and then to our bodies. Once inside the body, BPA behaves like estrogen. Not only it is associated with fertility problems, but can also harm the growing baby during pregnancy. Whether you are planning to start for a family or are already expecting a baby, ditching plastic containers and utensils from the kitchen is a great step towards long-term health and a sure way to safeguard your fertility. Glass containers and wooden utensils are excellent and safe options.
4. Protect your thyroid.
This butterfly gland in the front of our neck plays an important role in fertility. Women with a sluggish thyroid have a hard time conceiving and for a good reason: the thyroid regulates our metabolism and it intimately affects sex (fertility) hormones. There are many popular products that contain thyroid toxins, most importantly fluoride and triclosan.
The ability of fluoride to suppress the thyroid is nothing new. Scientists know this for many decades now and have been using fluoride formulations in animal experiments to cause and then study hypothyroidism. Choose organic fluoride-free toothpaste; the best ones are based on natural sea-salt and will leave your teeth cleaner than ever! There is plenty of research showing that triclosan, a synthetic antimicrobial, is particularly harmful for the thyroid and like BPA, it can also mess up the sensitive hormone balance during pregnancy that is necessary for a healthy baby. You will do your fertility (and later your baby) a favor if you replace products containing triclosan with alternative options with natural antimicrobials.
Eleni is a mama-to-be and a successful fertility and pregnancy nutrition/lifestyle consultant. She is the founder of Primal Baby where she helps women naturally enhance their fertility and give their babies the best start in life. Eleni is passionate about organic gardening, cats and empowering women to take their fertility and pregnancy in their hands.