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Diet and Fertility

by Neka on May 22, 2009, no comments

I recently attended a two day fertility workshop with the renowned Dr. Ni. This inspired me to post about the role of diet in fertility. Dr. Ni is a 38th generation Traditional Chinese medicine Doctor, 38 generations of information passed from father to son pretty amazing. He has a calming and loving aura about him, most of all a humility where many have grand egos.

There are many conflicting view points regarding diet and fertility. Traditional Chinese medicine is big on eating meat as there is nothing in the plant world that has that dense yang energy as meat, especially red meat. Most important in promoting fertility is tonifying the kidney yin and yang energies. Red meat is a strong kidney yang builder. Dr. Ni advises his patients to eat meat, including red meat, chicken and turkey, eggs, milk, and soy products. His no-no’s are sugar except for fruit. In contrast the Harvard nurses’ health study showed women who consumed less animal protein and more nuts, seeds, and beans tended to be more fertile. Also, low sugar intake, and removing the whites: all refined sugar, flour, potatoes, and rice as they can create problems with ovulatory infertility. Blood sugar imbalances can wreak havoc on hormones which in turn affects ovulation. Choosing the complex carbs like brown rice, whole grains, & high fiber foods were linked to greater chance of getting pregnant. Another interesting thing the study showed was eating or drinking full fat dairy products were more conducive to fertility than low fat dairy products. So go for the full fat Ben and Jerry’s. Not really as ice cream contains sugar and in Traditional Chinese Medicine cold is not spleen friendly so cold sugar products are not conducive to keeping the spleen energy flowing in the right direction which is important in fertility. Things like full fat plain yogurt or cheese is more what I would recommend if eating dairy at all.

For vegetarians that want to strengthen their yang qi i would recommend eating walnuts, quinona, raspberries, cooking with ginger, cinnamon, rosemary, cayenne pepper, and garlic. Chai is a great tea for warming the kidneys.

My recommendation to women and men who are looking to procreate is to look at your individual constitution and make a plan based on your unique make up. For example a woman who is in their later 30′s and feeling warmer in the afternoons and evenings, gets irritable easily, has a lot of PMS, and bleeds less than she used to I would treat totally different than a woman in her 20′s who runs cold, is tired all the time, eats lots of junk food, and has heavy bleeding. These are two totally different constitutions and would have very different dietary recommendations.

Lastly, the most important thing to remember is to choose foods that are in their natural form, are whole grain, organic, and minimally processed. Foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, small amounts of organic meats, nuts, seeds, sea vegetables and plenty of clean water. I don’t know anyone whose health has improved from eating white sugar, preservatives or white flour. So staying away from processed foods alone is a good start.