Creating a Healthy Lifestyle
Essense Fertility offers lifestyle, emotional and therapeutic support, inspired by the wisdom of Ayurveda, to assess your unique needs. Understanding your Ayurvedic constitution will help you to gain insights into the factors that can disrupt or enhance every aspect of your health.
There are a number of essential lifestyle guidelines that are a recommended to enhance fertility, the most important ones being good nutrition, exercise, stress management, relaxation and simply prioritising time out to enjoy some of the fun elements of your relationship.
Feel Good Factor
Engaging in activities such as brisk walking, swimming or cycling three times per week for 15-30 minutes will improve overall fitness and release endorphins which create the “feel good” factor. Managing stress is an essential lifestyle habit to adopt for optimising reproductive health as it is one of the most common factors that those with infertility problems experience. Being in nature is one of the best ways to de-stress, relax and enjoy time together. Avoiding social media distractions will encourage you to share your thoughts and feelings more effectively and promote greater intimacy.
Exercise & Serotonin
Exercise will naturally raise serotonin levels, especially during early morning sunlight to help maintain hormone balance and weight. Women with higher body fat may experience oestrogen dominance thus inhibiting FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) and ovulation. Those who have inadequate body fat however, as indicated by a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 19 or less are below the optimal level for fertility. There is evidence that excessive exercise can disrupt the menstrual cycle and that an adequate intake of calories should be maintained.
For men, fertility can sometimes be affected by hot baths, saunas and tight underwear. In addition, excessive exercise or a high body fat (BMI of 25 or more) may cause the testes to overheat, leading to reduced sperm count, quality and motility. Moderate exercise can reduce stress, anxiety and depression, as well as induce relaxation. Activities such as cycling and swimming can improve general fitness and stamina and help promote a healthier way of life.
Nutrition – The Basics.
It is wise to adopt good nutritional habits as early as a possible whether you are planning for a baby naturally or with IVF as the full benefits can take 3 months to be established. Fresh produce is vastly superior to food which is commercially produced and naturally contains the correct enzymes for nutrient availability. A full range of nutrients are important for the production of healthy sperm. “Whole foods” such as nuts, seeds and their oils which are a rich source of vitamin E, selenium, calcium, zinc and amino acids are thought to increase sperm quality and motility.
Eating Fresh Organic Foods
Eating fresh organic foods will help minimise ingestion of herbicides, pesticides and heavy metals which can adversely affect the balance of hormones. Berries, red grapes and brightly coloured vegetables are rich in vitamin C an essential anti-oxidant that absorbs and neutralises free radicals which damage the cells of the body.
During the pre-conceptual phase it is advisable for both partners to be protected from potentially harmful substances. Cigarette smoking increases the need for Vitamin C which is important for sperm production and so it is wise to refrain from nicotine and all other forms of chemical, social or illegal drugs. Alcohol can impair cell division affecting sperm production even two months after an excess has been consumed. Drinking plenty of pure filtered water will further contribute to the elimination of toxins.
Good Nutrition For Women
For women, good nutrition on a cellular level can enrich the internal environment for ovulation, fertilisation and the developing foetus. When the lining of the womb has a plentiful supply of the correct nutrients, it will be better prepared to receive the fertilised egg and support a healthy pregnancy. Vitamin E is an essential anti-oxidant that helps balance hormonal activity of the endocrine glands.
Supplementation May Be Required
Even with a healthy diet, supplementation may be required for specific conditions or if essential elements are missing. The NSH recommends that all women take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily, prior to conception, along with Vitamin B12 to help protect the baby’s DNA and prevent spina bifida. High quality protein should be eaten at each meal to support both ovulation and sperm production.