The connection between food and hormonal balance
Some nutrients can harm the body’s hormonal balance and some foods can help it:
Carbohydrates – Prefer complex carbohydrates over simple carbohydrates
Carbohydrates give us the energy needed by the muscles and the brain, and for hormonal activity. Eating too many simple carbohydrates raises the levels of sugar and insulin in the blood, which can impair hormonal balance and ovulation. It’s therefore recommended to rather eat complex carbohydrates that have a lot of dietary fibre.
A study revealed that increased consumption by healthy women of carbohydrates and a high glycemic load was associated with a greater risk of infertility due to menstruation without ovulation. It has been found that reducing the carbohydrate load can reduce insulin levels, improve hormonal imbalance, and restart ovulation to improve pregnancy rates, compared to the regular diet.
Another comprehensive study done at Harvard University examined whether the amount and type of carbohydrates consumed in the diet affect fertility problems caused by ovulation disorders. The study monitored approximately 18,000 married women of childbearing age for 8 years, during which they tracked their attempts to conceive and, at the same time, their carbohydrate intake. It was found that subjects who suffered from a fertility problem related to ovulation disorder and infertility ate too many carbohydrates, especially simple carbohydrates, which are absorbed rapidly into the blood. This shows that high consumption of candy, juices, and white flour products is associated with infertility and sterility disorders. The conclusion was that the amount and quality of carbohydrates in the diet may play a crucial role for ovulation and fertility in healthy women.
It’s advisable for women who are planning to get pregnant and are experiencing impeded fertility to eat complex carbohydrates. But there’s no need to give up eating carbohydrates completely. Examples of recommended carbohydrates are whole grains, brown rice, wholewheat bread, oats, corn, beans, legumes, and vegetables.
hormonal balance – Examples of “bad carbohydrates” are white bread, pasta, rice, cakes, cookies, and candy.
One of the goals of a diet that helps fertility is to balance the sugar and insulin levels in the blood by lowering your overall carbohydrate intake and increasing your intake of plant protein.
Sugar – A study published recently suggests that there is a link between increased sugar intake and infertility.(hormonal balance)
There is a surprising link between sugar intake and fertility. If one of the partner’s drinks sugar-sweetened beverages every day, this will reduce the couple’s chances of conceiving, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology.
Sugar or an increase in glucose levels in the body is not directly related to fertility but the associated complications, such as insulin resistance, diabetes, weight gain, low immunity, and hormonal imbalance, have been found to reduce the person’s fertility potential.
High glucose levels in the blood disrupt the hormones because they are accompanied by a gain in weight and insulin resistance in the body. During pregnancy, hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, play a vital role. One of the common problems that arise as a result of hormonal imbalance is ovulation dysfunction in women, i.e., difficulty releasing the eggs from the ovaries. Symptoms, such as the absence of menstruation or irregular menstruation, are often found to appear.
Another hormonal imbalance linked to insulin resistance called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is also common in women. PCOS occurs in 1 in 10 women.
In men, high glucose levels in the blood can affect their testosterone levels and cause problems with their sperm production. About 30–40% of infertility cases are due to a low sperm count and poor sperm quality. If the sperm is not healthy enough, it will have a hard time fertilizing an egg in order to create an embryo, causing problems with conception.
What most people don’t understand is where the sugar they consume comes from. Glucose is present in almost all the foods we eat. Natural sugar is found in some fruits and vegetables, while other sugars, like honey, syrup, and sweeteners, are found in an abundance of food products. Alcohol also contains sugar.
In packaged food products, it’s very easy to identify the amount of sugar in the product because it usually appears in the list of ingredients. We need to limit not only desserts and soft drinks. It’s a well-known fact that there is more sugar in fruit juice than in the fruit itself. Some of the food items rich in sugar that we eat on a daily basis are white bread, pasta, ketchup and sauces, iced tea/coffee, breakfast cereals, protein snacks, cookies, jam, etc.
In effect, sugar binds to proteins in our body and damages the DNA of the eggs and leads to poor development of the follicles and a lower rate of pregnancy.
The negative effects of sugar and foods that increase the level of sugar in the blood and thus impact fertility have been demonstrated in many studies. This damage is reversible and the condition improves as the diet improves.
Beans, lentils, and legumes provide an excellent source of dietary fiber, protein, and other nutrients essential for fertility. Eating whole fruits and vegetables, especially green leaves, has a positive effect on overall health. Green leafy vegetables contain a lot of nutrients, are rich in dietary fiber, have low energy, and the glycemic load they place on the body is also lower.
Eating plant proteins helps fertility – hormonal balance
Protein plays an important role in the building and preservation of body cells using amino acids.
A study published in the scientific journal, the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, found that eating plant protein, which is found in legumes, peas, lentils, chickpeas, beans, etc., may lower the risk of fertility problems.
Fats – Trans fat harms fertility.
Fats are the building blocks of hormones and cell envelopes, so they are very important for fertility processes.
Studies have found that eating trans fats and hardened fats (found in margarine, ice creams, cookies, and some industrialized foods) can be detrimental to the ovulation process and make it harder to get pregnant.
The recommended fat is saturated fat, which is found, among other things, in avocados, almonds and nuts, and in olive oil. Omega 3 acids, found in pond fish or in supplements, also contribute to increased blood flow in the uterus and improved hormonal activity.
Omega 3 helps with fertility problems.
Besides the benefits that omega 3 has for semen, omega 3 fatty acids also appear to be beneficial for problems associated with female fertility.
A 2012 study on mice reached the conclusion that a lifetime intake of omega 3 fatty acids may extend the period of fertility for mothers at a more advanced age. The researchers found that short-term treatment with omega 3 fatty acids can help improve egg quality. A high ratio of omega 3 fatty acids in the cell can contribute to an increase in blood flow in the uterus.
An increased blood flow in the uterus improves uterine hormonal activity, improves fertility conditions, and increases the probability that the woman will conceive.
For example, a study conducted in 2015, examined the connection between EPA and DHA in omega 3 and the levels of the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). As women approach menopause, their FSH levels rise. In fact, doctors often measure this hormone to determine how close the woman is to menopause. The researchers found that among women of normal weight, supplementation of 4 grams of EPA/DHA lowered their FSH levels. The researchers noted that this link between omega 3 and the FSH was intriguing, especially because it supported the assumption that a higher intake of omega 3 could prolong fertility.
According to studies, taking omega 3 and omega 6 supplements is connected to the results of women undergoing fertility treatments. There is a positive correlation between taking omega 3 and omega 6 supplements and the incidence of live births.
Besides the issue of age, omega 3 fatty acids can help to reduce fertility problems associated with chronic inflammation, for example, women with high levels of omega 3 are less likely to suffer from endometriosis compared to women with low EPA levels.
Of course, once a woman becomes pregnant, it’s important that they continue taking omega 3 fatty acids since they are crucial to the health of both mother and child. We know that omega 3 has a beneficial effect on the neural development of the embryo. Many studies have also shown that getting enough omega 3 reduces the risk of preterm birth, one of the leading causes of infant mortality worldwide.
The following fish are recommended: salmon, herring, anchovies, red tuna, sardines, Corvina, trout, bass, and striped bass. These fish contain large amounts of omega 3 fatty acids, which have the power to improve blood flow to the endometrium, to balance the hormonal system and even to contribute to reducing stress, all essential for improving the chances of implantation during pregnancy.
For those of you who find it difficult to eat the recommended fish, omega 3 fatty acids can be consumed in the form of capsules. Look for a mark on the packaging that indicates that the product is metal-free.
To remove any doubt, the contents of this article are intended to serve as a general overview only, and the information in it does not relate to a product nor is it intended to provide guidance, it does not comprise a certified medical recommendation, and it is not intended to instruct the public or to be used by it as advice, instruction, or a recommendation for the use, modification, or stopping use of any medication, and does not comprise a substitute for personal or other medical advice. Pregnant women, lactating women, children, and anyone taking prescription drugs must consult a doctor before using dietary supplements.
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