3 Ways You Can Enhance Your Fertility with Food

Fried salmon steak with potatoes and vegetables on wooden table

When we think about various fertility treatments including acupuncture, we tend to consider things like reproductive disorders, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) also sometimes called polycystic ovary syndrome, in vitro fertilization, treating irregular menstrual cycles, sperm quality, and even acupuncture for anxiety during pregnancy. What we often ignore when we talk about how to reduce stress, how to improve medical conditions, increasing blood flow, and improving our body functions is something even more basic, which also affects hormone levels: diet, and how it can cause fertility problems.

Most patients are so focused on the wider picture of their immune system, nervous system function, and whether acupuncture works that they forget about this most basic treatment and form of self care.

I love to eat. Real food. Delicious food. I also love to feel good. I eat a pretty healthy diet, very healthy when compared to the standard American diet, but I struggled with asthma, allergies, and fatigue. I thought these were just things I would have to deal with for the rest of my life–I am just a tired person, and grass season will always be hard. Then, about 10 years ago, I was first introduced to the idea that food is medicine. If you put the wrong foods into your body, you can get sick, and if you put the right foods into your body, you can be well.

I have since studied extensively about Chinese medical nutrition and holistic nutrition, and although I use this knowledge with most of my patients, I find it particularly important for women seeking to conceive.

A Common Question I get is, does food reduce my fertility?

Fertility is complicated.

The first place to start is your Nutrition

Nutritional deficiencies can contribute to infertility, and the foods you eat can also dramatically affect your hormones. Additionally, many women don’t realize that food sensitivities can play a role in fertility issues. I find that acupuncture helps balance energy levels, allowing the body to better absorb nutrients from food and supplements.

Food Can Affect Conception

If you are trying to conceive, your health needs to be your number one priority. Your body is going to be the home for your baby for nine months, and the food you put in your mouth could be the deciding factor in whether or not you conceive and have a healthy pregnancy. I often incorporate Chinese herbal medicine into fertility treatment and always use acupuncture as well to address any fertility issues, but I see quite a few women who are already taking Western fertility drugs whose doctors will not allow them to take herbs.

In these cases, diet is of the utmost importance.

In my Portland acupuncture office, I come up with custom treatment plans for patients that incorporate all of these factors. I implement this plan along with accessing specific acupuncture points.

Although custom diets, herbs, and acupuncture are the strongest ways to treat infertility, change your health, and increase your fertility, here are my first recommendations.

3 Ways to Enhance Your Fertility with Food

1. Add more Iron and Zinc to your diet

What you are NOT eating may be hampering your fertility. Iron and zinc are key nutrients that you need in sufficient amounts in order to conceive, and they are both abundant in animal protein. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, it is more important that you be vigilant about getting enough iron and zinc. Here is a link to foods that are high in iron.  The list of foods that are high in zinc. Plus, better nutrition can help you manage your stress levels.

2. Get plenty of essential fatty acids

Essential fatty acids are especially important to ovulation, as they help with follicular rupture and collapse. Good sources of EFAs are fish, fish oil, cold-pressed flaxseed and pumpkin seed oils, eggs, raw nuts and seeds, and dark green leafy vegetables. Because of the high mercury content in many fish, most of my patients eat fish moderately and are supplemented with fish oil. Do note that if you are supplementing with fish oil, it is very important to get one of high quality (no Costco fish oils) and keep it away from light or heat.

3. Eat plenty of high-quality fats.

For years we have thought of fat as the enemy of good reproductive health, but in the last few years, we have come to realize the benefits of fats like those found in avocados, coconut, and even dairy. A full-fat diet is better for fertility than a low-fat diet since fat-soluble vitamins (A, E, D, K), as well as cholesterol, play an important role in hormonal balance, during implantation and pregnancy. Use butter freely and consume full-fat organic dairy, but completely avoid trans fats.

In addition to improving nutrition, start Acupuncture treatments. Your treatment should be targeted to specific points, including the lower abdomen.

Can acupuncture help treat infertility?

You are not the only American couple experiencing infertility, and you can use acupuncture. It was originally based on the Chinese tradition of Chinese medicine that helped infertile couples conceive. Researchers have found evidence linking acupuncture to fertility.

What are the benefits of trying acupuncture for fertility?

cupuncture can help decrease the symptoms of depression that can affect the fertility of women. It may help reduce the anxiety that can contribute to reproductive issues. In addition, high levels of cortisol can increase the risk of miscarriage in female babies.

How many sessions of acupuncture do you need for fertility?

Acupuncture helps improve fertility. How often you need an acupuncture treatment will be based upon what you have been through in your life. The typical course duration is between 3-5 hours, depending on the type and time. Your acupuncturist should tell you how many acupuncture treatments are required during your initial treatment if your condition is serious.

One of the benefits for all sexes is Stress Reduction

Acupuncture can be an effective way to reduce stress in men and women alike. Studies have shown that acupuncture can effectively modulate cortisol levels, which is the main hormone associated with stress. By reducing the amount of cortisol in the body, patients have reported feeling more relaxed and having improved sleep quality. This can help balance hormones and affect fertility by improving your body’s functions. I recommend this for men, too, as stress impacts sperm cells and may result in low sperm count.

Acupuncture can Improve Sperm Quality

Acupuncture can help improve sperm quality. It is believed that acupuncture helps regulate the hormones responsible for fertility in males and enhances blood flow in the reproductive organs. This improved circulation helps support better semen production and sperm motility. Many studies have found that men who received acupuncture treatments had higher levels of improved sperm quality than those who did not receive acupuncture treatments.

I could go on and on about the benefits of good nutrition, Chinese medical nutrition, and acupuncture — but what you mainly need to know is that diet is the ideal complement to acupuncture, which uses sterile needles (thin needles) to access pressure points and calm the nerve endings on your body. It can even improve follicular function and help with embryo transfer.

Solstice Natural Health is a Leading fertility and reproductive health specialist in The NW.

Find out if traditional Chinese medicine is the support you need for your reproductive Treatments.

If you are trying to conceive, you should start by incorporating these three suggestions into your diet. If you live in the Portland area and would like to find out more about the custom diet plans to help with your fertility or aren’t sure whether your insurance will cover acupuncture, please contact me, or call 503-442-1205 for your free consult.

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