Each day, our body works beautifully to keep us healthy. We even have a built-in detox system. If we take good care of ourselves through diet, exercise, stress management, and a clean environment, the body ages naturally and we retain our energy, vitality, and health as we age.
However, in the real world, most of us have had more than our fair share of exposure to stress, pollution, stress, medications, drugs, smoke, stress, environmental chemicals, stress, trans fats, and artificial preservatives, colours, and flavours. (Note: the emphasis on stress – it can have a powerful impact on our health). These push our natural defence system to the edge causing oxidative stress and cellular inflammation.
Oxidative stress or cellular inflammation is the root of premature aging and disease. It affects every cell and organ and depletes our energy and vitality. Oxidative stress is a warning sign of later neurodegenerative disease. And it makes us older than we really are. The good news is that diet plays a powerful role in promoting or preventing cellular inflammation and oxidative stress.
A diet that is high is sugar, trans fats, saturated (animal) fats, refined carbohydrates, high fructose corn syrup and artificial chemicals actually accelerate this cellular aging and disease process. This is the SAD (standard American diet), which has resulted in an epidemic of diabetes, diabesity, obesity, impaired glucose tolerance, heart disease, cancer, gastrointestinal problems, autoimmune disease and food allergies.
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) – developed in the 80s – involves a complex chemical process that turns cornstarch into fructose. This processed fructose, unlike glucose, can only be broken down by the liver and causes cellular inflammation and oxidative damage to the body and is linked to hyperinsulinemia, obesity, insulin resistance and mineral deficiency – all which can negatively impact fertility. HFCS (also seen on labels as glucose/fructose) – such as trans fats – are found in a wide variety of processed and fast foods, including sweetened beverages.
On the other hand, a diet that is high in antioxidants, essential fatty acids and fibre acts to support our cells to remain vibrant and healthy. The anti-inflammatory diet for health is actually the same as the Mediterranean diet which has been proven to be associated with lower risk of disease.
Study after study has shown that inflammation is at the root PCOS, endometriosis and infertility, and even male infertility.
Fertility Diet Recommendation:
Avoid the following foods, ingredients and chemicals that increase inflammation and oxidative stress:
- Refined, processed foods and fast foods including most fast food restaurants.
- Flour and products made with flour (bread, scones, muffins, pancakes, cookies, etc).
- Moderate and high GI foods (white bread, bagels, crackers, refined cereals, juice, etc).
- High AGE foods such as fatty meats cooked on high heats and highly processed foods. AGE (advanced glycolation end products) is created when sugars and proteins are heated (e.g. sweet marinade on barbequed meat).
- Corn, safflower, sunflower and soybean oils which are high in omega 6 fatty acids. The imbalance of omega 3 to omega 6 fats contributes to cellular inflammation.
- High fructose corn syrup which is a highly refined product used in pop and many processed foods.
- Trans fats found as added hydrogenated fats, partially hydrogenated fats, shortening, or mono/diglycerides.
- Fried foods, especially in restaurants and fast food outlets.
- Artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, sweeteners.
- Processed soy products (tofu, soy protein, soy milk/yogurt).
Eat these foods to decrease inflammation and oxidative stress:
- High ORAC fruits and vegetables that are loaded with anti-inflammatory antioxidants.
- Anti-inflammatory herbs and spices – adding fresh and fresh dried herbs and spices can increase the antioxidant potential of the entire meal.
ORAC is oxygen radical absorption capacity is a test tube measurement of the total amount of antioxidant activity of a particular food. The Highest ORAC foods are aecia, alfalfa, apple vinegar, applesauce, asparagus, avocado, basil, beans, beets, bell peppers, black eyed peas, black pepper, blue berry, blackberry, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cherries, chili powder, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, cocoa, cranberry, dates, eggplant, elderberry, figs, Fiji apples, ginger, green tea, high quality olive oil, kale, nuts, oatmeal, oranges, oregano, parsley, peaches, pears, plums, pomegranate, prunes, purple cauliflower, purple sweet potato, raisins, raspberry, red cabbage, red grapes, red leaf lettuce, red potatoes, spinach, strawberry, tangerines, and turmeric.