The Fertility Diet Part 1: Unprocessed foods vs Processed foods

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The Fertility Diet Part 1: Unprocessed foods vs Processed foods

The Fertility Diet: Unprocessed vs Processed Foods

The Fertility Diet Part 1:

Unprocessed foods vs Processed foods

The Fertility Diet: Unprocessed vs Processed Foods

By Beatriz Trigo BSc Psychology & Andreia TrigoBSc MSc Nursing

There are natural ways to fertility that are known to work, such as a healthy balanced diet and moderate daily physical activity. And we are right! These two factors improve not only fertility but several other health problems. They fall under Preventative Medicine, which is being used to tackle infertility, cancer, dementia, heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure problems and so many others. When it comes to fertility, a diet rich in unprocessed foods and moderate exercise can have a significant impact on ovulatory and hormonal disorders, as well as on male factor infertility. One of the ways they work, is by regulating insulin levels. When overly produced, insulin leads to hormonal changes in the ovaries and liver, such as reduced sex hormone-binding globulin and increased androgens, like testosterone.

What Are Unprocessed Foods?

Unprocessed foods are foods that we eat in their natural form, that haven’t been altered in any way. Examples include:

  • fresh fruit
  • vegetables
  • nuts
  • eggs
  • fish and meat (that haven’t been preserved by smoking, curing, salting)

These foods can be minimally processed for eating – cut, dried or cooked – but nothing much is added or removed from them. These foods provide maximum nutritional value and are good for your body.

What Are Processed Foods?

Processed foods have been altered in some way, by having other ingredients added to them, like preservatives, sugar or oil. Examples of processed foods include:

  • breakfast cereal
  • cheese
  • tinned vegetables
  • bread
  • crisps
  • cake
  • biscuits
  • sausage rolls
  • bacon
  • salami
  • microwave ready meals

Not all processed foods are unhealthy, but some processed foods may contain high levels of salt, sugar and fat, and must be avoided. Examples of good processed foods are milk, for example, which needs to be processed to remove harmful bacteria; and seeds that need to be pressed to make oil.

A balanced diet rich in unprocessed foods is better for your health but if you are including some processed foods in your diet, read the nutrition labels to pay attention to the level of salt, sugar and fat. Some packages have a color-coded label, in which case, you can choose products that have more greens and ambers and less reds in the label.

Unprocessed foods & fertility

Processed foods have been stripped of most of their nutrients and have been added other ingredients to enhance colour, flavour, shelf-life. When you are eating these foods, your body will need to use extra energy to digest them and will only take very low nutritional value to create more energy which can be used for your bodily functions. For this reason, we must limit the amount of processed foods in our diet.

Research has also found that a diet rich in unprocessed foods like whole grains and vegetables, and less processed meat, protects against infertility. These whole foods give you maximum nutrients, fibre, enzymes and antioxidants and taste without added artificial preservatives, flavours, colours or trans fats. Make sure your place is colourful and at least half of it is high fibre, antioxidant fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

This information is part of the Enhanced Fertility Programme, the evidence based platform that improves your health for fertility.

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