Preparing for Conception the Natural Way

 Supporting Fertility the Natural Way

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Main Areas for consideration

Preparing to Conceive

It’s best to give yourself 4-6 months preparation time when looking to improve health before conception.

Factors to consider

Weight

Woman – The amount of body fat is directly related to your hormone balance. When body fat is too low, the menstrual cycle may be disturbed. It’s important not to be overweight as too much fat can interfere with ovulation. Also, being overweight during pregnancy can lead to high blood pressure and diabetes. Keep in mind that your body needs essential fatty acids and fat to absorb fat-soluble vitamins to function. If on a weight-loss diet, do not compromise your nutrition and go “fat-free”.

 

Exercise

Get plenty of exercise, fresh air and sunlight. Reduced sunlight has been linked to multiple sclerosis later on in life for the child. Exercise helps rid the body of stress hormones. Sunlight helps with the metabolism of vitamin D. Some suggested gentle exercise: walking, bicycling or swimming.

 

Infections

Men and women should seek help to alleviate allergies, Crohn’s disease, coeliac disease, and candida as these conditions affect nutritional uptake and in turn compromise the reproductive system.

 

(Early pregnancy -Toxoplasmosis: can be passed onto the baby and cause birth defects. Humans contract it from cat faeces so avoid cleaning out litter trays. Other sources include contaminated meat (do not eat undercooked meat), fruit and vegetables grown in a garden infected by cat feces. (Wash all fruit and veg well). Unpasteurised milk and milk products contain harmful pathogens.)

 

Smoking

Smoking lowers testosterone level, affects sperm formation and motility. Smoking has been linked to: cleft palette, harelip, and central nervous system abnormalities in babies.

 

Sperm Count

Sperm Count is affected by the following: toxic chemicals, smoking, alcohol, increased sexual activity, and high temperatures (wear loose fitting underwear).

To promote healthy sperm include in the diet:

  • Good sources of protein
  • Vitamins A, B, C, D and E
  • Bioflavonoids
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium,
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Fibre

Stress

Below is a list of herbs used to relieve stress.

A balanced diet

Optimal nutrition is crucial at this time so ensure both partners have a good immune system, a strong nervous system and normal hormone balance.

  • Eat plenty of fresh, organic produce, complex carbohydrate.
  • Wholegrain cereals (wholemeal), millet, oats, rice, buckwheat, quinoa and rye.)
  • Nuts and seeds (reduce when pregnant and avoid peanuts). If previous children have nut allergies, then avoid all nuts and seeds and eat another source of omega-3 such as fish oils (free from heavy metals and toxins)
  • Pulses and beans
  • Vegetables and fruits: excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and trace elements – try to eat organic and soon after harvesting.
  • Unrefined oils
  • Fish, meat, milk and eggs. Organically grown where possible to limit the amount of xenoestrogens, which can alter the woman’s hormonal balance.

FYI – Apples (Pectin found in apples removes and protects the body from toxic build up)

B vitamins – special mention

Research has shown the link between diet low in folic acid and neural tube defects such as spina bifida.  Therefore it’s important to eat a diet rich in B vitamins, folic acid is a B vitamin. Low levels of B vitamins can be associated with nausea and morning sickness during pregnancy.

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Beans and pulses
  • Yeast extract: Brewers yeast, Vegemite/marmite
  • Wholemeal bread

Essential Fatty Acids

These are very important for the development of the fetal nervous system and immune system. 70% of all EFAs go to the fetal brain.  Fats form the major part of the cell wall and are necessary for the absorption of trace elements and vitamins (A, E, D and K).

Vitamins & Minerals

  • A good quality multi-vitamin and-mineral supplement
  • Folic acid – deficiency has been linked to neural tube defects and low birth weight.
  • Low levels of B6 have been linked to low birth weight.
  • Selenium
  • Zinc deficiency:
    • In early pregnancy has been linked poor outcome of the pregnancy and low birth weight, miscarriage and congenital handicap
    • Linked to low sperm count

Those at risk

  • Smokers and alcohol drinkers
  • Pregnant women who have been pregnant before
  • Carrying twins
  • Medical conditions such as Crohn’s or celiac disease
  • Drugs e.g., contraceptive pill, penicillamine
  • Much emotional stress
  • Low protein diet with high levels of phytates (from whole grains) inhibit zinc absorption
  • Allergies to gluten or celiac disease

Herbs to balance Hormonal Function

Woman

  • Vitex: stimulates and balances female hormone:  helps the body to increase its own production of FSH & LH promoting ovulation
  • Wild yam: supports the proper function of uterus – helps build the uterus in preparation for conception
  • Chinese angelica: hormone balancing, tonic herb for reproductive system
  • Kelp: helps maintain normal thyroid function
  • Shatavari: a rejuvenative herb – sexual debility, infertility, balances hormones

Men

  • Panax ginseng: for weakness, insomnia, reduces stress – acts on the adrenal glands
  • Damiana: strengthens nervous and hormonal systems
  • Vitex: as above
  • Wild yam: balances hormones, hormone precursors, relaxant on urinary and reproductive tract
  • Saw palmetto: increase vitality, nourishes the reproductive system
  • Sarsaparilla: tonic for male reproductive organs

 Herbs to Increase Vitality

  • Panax ginseng: as above
  • Ashwagandha (for men): rejuvenative herb – for stress, chronic illness
  • Chinese angelica (for women): as above
  • Shatavari: as above
  • Rose:  relaxant, restoring effect on the nervous system
  • Ginger: warming properties stimulate circulation to peripheral areas, soothes indigestion, nausea, relieves painful menstruation and ovulation, invigorates the reproductive system

Herbs to reduce Stress

  • Rose: as above
  • Skullcap: nourishing tonic to the nervous system, rich in minerals
  • Vervain:  tonic to the nervous system, relieves anxiety, and lifts depression
  • Ginseng: as above
  • Lemon balm: relaxes spasm of the reproductive tract, relieves depression
  • Oats:  nutritious and vital to a healthy nervous system – stimulating and energy giving and at the same time relaxing

Herbs are natural drugs, seek a trained medical practitioner if you would like to use herbs during pregnancy.

 

 

 

 

Going Gluten Free or Eating Raw Foods?

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In this month’s blog I introduce the topics of raw foods and gluten free; areas that are the growing in popularity. If you’re interested in creating a more healthful life, this is a step to better health, improved digestion, greater energy and stabilized blood sugar.

  • The body needs a variety of vitamins, minerals, essential fats and anti-oxidants to keep healthy, combating sickness and more importantly providing health both mentally and physically.
  • By eating raw food your intake of enzymes increases, and consequently your digestion and energy improve. Heat destroys these enzymes.
  • Try to eat raw soups such as gazpacho or watercress accompanied by a fresh dark green leaf salad. Along with boosting your intake of enzymes, these meals also increase the intake of vitamins and antioxidants.
  •  Green vegetables keep the body alkaline and seaweeds are especially good at removing heavy metal toxins. Try recipes with seaweed or sprouting seeds such as mung beans or alfalfa seeds.
  • Raw food also includes eating raw fish, eating more sashimi especially salmon increases your essential fatty acids intake. Add some sashmi salmon to a salad to create a light meal.
  •  Gluten found in the following grains: wheat, barley, rye, oats, kamut and spelt. Wheat causes a rise in blood sugar, and an unbalanced blood sugar is linked to many chronic diseases including insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
  • Gluten free grain: Buckwheat, the flour makes great pancakes/blinis . It’s rich in magnesium and also rutin, which is a bioflavonoid and strengthens blood vessels.
  • Proteins: Egg, meat, wild fish, tofu, beans and pulses, raw nuts and seeds. Rotate your proteins each day by giving your body a different protein at each meal.

Gazpacho

http://www.swnoo.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 cucumber, sliced into chunks
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 bell pepper, any color
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 sweet onion, quartered
  • 3 tbsp red wine or balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash black pepper
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Preparation:

Simply combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor, except the fresh herbs and process until smooth. Stir in the herbs, refrigerate until cool and serve with buckwheat pancakes.

Green Smoothie: Blueberry & Spinach

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090419170112.htm

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup liquid (see note below)
  • 1 cup fresh spinach

Preparation:

Note: If you’re eating a raw food diet, use water or another raw liquid, such as cashew milk or fresh squeezed juice that you have on hand.

Blend together the banana, ice cubes, blueberries and liquid until smooth. Add spinach and blend again until completely smooth and creamy. No sweetener is needed in this recipe, as the blueberries carry the flavor, but if you find it a bit too bland, try adding a touch of agave nectar to give it a bit more zing.

 

Kale & Citrus Salad

http://www.thekitchn.com/raw-kale-salad-massage-it-172902

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch of curly kale (or dinosaur kale)
  • 1 orange, squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon cold-pressed olive oil, or coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons raw agave nectar (if desired)
  • 1 to 2 cloves minced or pressed garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 2 tangerines, peeled and separated into sections
  • 2 tablespoons currants or raisins
  • 1 large carrot, grated

Preparation:

Hold each leaf of kale and rip small, bite-sized pieces of the greens off of the stem and collect them in a bowl.

Add the orange and lime juice, oil, agave, garlic, salt and cayenne to the bowl and massage the ingredients into the leaves of the kale for at least 2 minutes. Either allow the kale to sit and marinate (for 30 minutes to overnight in the fridge) or distribute to plates and top with the tangerines, currants and grated carrot. Enjoy your raw kale salad!

 

Enjoy the recipes,

Andrea

Aromatherapy Blends for Sports

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If your into sports and suffer from aches and pains, here are some aromatherapy tips to help:

 

Pre -Sport Rub

To aid breathing, warm the muscles to prevent strains, and focus the mind.

  • Eucalyptus 5 drops
  • Thyme 5 drops
  • Rosemary 5 drops
  • Add to 15ml Sweet Almond oil

Apply to legs from top to bottom including buttocks, lower back and arms. Rub in well before exercising.

 Post Sport Blend to aid relaxation and help reduce aches and pains

  • Eucalyptus 5 drops
  • Ginger 5 drops
  • Peppermint 5 drops
  • Add to 15 ml Sweet Almond oil

Alternatively add the oils to a warm bath and soak away the aches and pains in a relaxing bath.

  • Use 8 – 10 drops in a bath, swirl the water and lie back for 10 – 15 minutes.

 

Tiger Balm is a good alternative, if you don’t have these oils to hand.

All the best with your sporting activities,

Andrea