Traditional Chinese medicine recognizes food as the main energy source for the body. A meal is not simply an accumulation of calories but is an opportunity to supply the body with energy needed for health and balance. According to Randine Lewis, Ph.D., MS, a revered expert in fertility and Chinese medicine, the goal of the fertility diet is to bring the body back into balance so conception can take place.
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Avoid Processed Foods
According to Chinese medicine, eating processed and bleached foods is like taking the life-giving properties of food away from the body. Processed white flour and wheat are energetically cold and constricting and create dampness in the body. This bogs down the reproductive system, making it difficult for conception and implantation to take place. Choose unprocessed, natural and organic foods as much as possible to create a healthy internal environment for you and your baby.
Acidic foods contribute to acidic cervical mucus, which is hostile to sperm. Eating an alkaline diet reduces the chance of developing acidic cervical mucus and improves your chances of conceiving. Choose noncitrus fruits, vegetables, sprouts, wheatgrass, barley grass and herbs like black cohosh. Bioflavonoids found in many fresh fruits and vegetables also help form healthy blood vessels, which prepares the uterus for implantation and prevents miscarriage. Also, chew your food thoroughly, because saliva has an alkalizing effect, reducing food's acidity through digestion.
Essential Fatty Acids
Linoleic acid and alpha-linoleic acid, two essential fatty acids, are not made by the body and are essential to all cells of the body. These two fatty acids also assist in the release of an egg during ovulation. Get your essential fatty acids from fish, good-quality fish oil supplements, eggs, raw nuts and seeds and dark green vegetables. Avoid trans-fatty acids, which depress the reproductive and immune systems. Some examples of trans-fatty acids are shortening, margarine, lard, animal fat and hydrogenated vegetable oils.
Organic and Hormone-Free
Pesticides, chemicals and hormones contain synthetic estrogen-like substances, which have negative effects on the reproductive system and fertility. Processing and treating food also eliminates much of the natural nutrition present in its original form. Eat mostly fresh, organic fruits and vegetables and a small amount of hormone-free meat. Chopping and lightly cooking vegetables releases more energy when eaten and makes them more digestible. Avoid using the microwave, since it affects the structure of food, damaging its energy.
Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower contain a substance called di-indolymethane--DIM--which is a substance that improves the use of estrogen by the body. DIM increases the metabolism of estradiol, which is a specific type of estrogen produced by the body. Excess estradiol in the body contributes to weight gain, breast pain, moodiness, low libido and breast and uterine cancers. Sufficient amounts of DIM in the diet breaks down estradiol into more beneficial estrogens.
Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol and Nicotine
According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, nicotine is 10 times more concentrated in uterine fluid than plasma. Nicotine makes the eggs more resistant to fertilization and prematurely ages the ovaries. Alcohol contributes to dampness and heat in the body, reducing the success of conception by up to 50 percent. Coffee contains volatile oils that are damaging to the reproductive system. It also constricts the blood vessels, reducing blood flow to the uterus and impairing fertility. Green tea is a good alternative to coffee, since it contains beneficial antioxidants and less caffeine.
Avoid Cold Foods and Drinks
Ingesting cold beverages--particularly iced drinks--and cold or chilled foods causes the body temperature to drop, slowing the blood circulation. This causes the heart to work harder to warm the body, which consumes energy necessary for conception. Avoid any food or drinks that are cooler than room temperature--particularly ice cream, anything directly out of the refrigerator or freezer, nothing with ice in it, or cold water straight from the tap. Warm up your food or beverage, or let it sit outside of the fridge until it comes to room temperature.