In today’s post, I wanted to talk a little bit about the impact that maintaining a healthy lifestyle can have on fertility wellness. I work with moms and dads who are trying to become parents and struggling with issues of infertility. One of the key things we work on is maintaining a healthy lifestyle - specifically having a well-balanced diet. We need to be feeding our bodies what they need and fuel them with good sources of food.
The protein deficit
One of the number one things I see with my moms is they are missing the key component of protein. The recommended amount of protein for a female is 1 gram of protein for each kilogram of your ideal body weight. So for example: if your ideal body weight is 65 kilograms, then you need to be eating 65 grams of protein daily. You can break this amount of protein up into each meal that you eat, so if you are eating 3 meals per day, that would be roughly 22 grams of protein per meal. Unfortunately, a lot of my moms are not getting this level of protein. A good source of protein, for example, would be chicken. If we are trying to meet the 20 grams of protein mark with chicken, we need to eat somewhere between 75-80 grams of chicken to succeed. So this takes a bit of work and a bit of planning on your part.
Another thing with protein intake is I encourage my moms to try to get a big chunk of their daily protein before noon if at all possible. We want to be at about half of our needed protein intake before 10 A.M. What that does is really start your day off right. You feel more satisfied throughout the day and by evening time you avoid feeling “hangry” and eating any and all things that sound good to you at the time. Eating this way also helps to support a good hormonal balance and circadian rhythm to allow your body to achieve optimal rest. If you are eating a lot of food in the evening and bulk up on carbs/proteins/fats, or even sugar, you’re just not going to sleep as well because these foods late in the day do not help to support a healthy circadian rhythm. Restorative and restful sleep is absolutely important to fertility. So we can tie this concept back to our diet. Of course, if you are intaking healthy carbs and fats, and the appropriate amount of macronutrients, you are going to set yourself up for good restorative sleep at night.
Protein and your fertility wellness
To be more specific, I wanted to focus this post mostly on protein because I feel that is where most of my ladies are lacking. Being mindful of intaking the right amount of protein, earlier in the day, as well as the source of protein, are all critical, especially when we are dealing with infertility. Infertility itself can somewhat be linked to autoimmune conditions or an autoimmune response within your body. This is where the source of protein becomes critical. Oftentimes, the foods we are eating are jam-packed with steroids, hormones, and other terrible things because manufacturers are trying to fatten up their protein sources (i.e. chickens, cows, etc.). When manufacturers do this, and we eat these sources of protein, we intake these harmful chemicals impacting our hormones and as a result our fertility. It is important if at all possible, to eat healthy sources of protein such as organic, grass-fed, or free-range sources. To find out more about key pregnancy hormones, check out my blog post here.
Take a step back with me. Number one, are you eating enough protein? Number two, are your sources of protein filled with nasty chemicals? These two key factors, in regard to protein, could be playing a huge role in your fertility wellness.
Supporting a healthy pregnancy
Another concept to mention is that if you are not intaking enough protein, your brain, and more specifically the hypothalamus, part of your brain senses this. It then communicates with your ovaries something along the lines of “I don’t think right now is a good time to be having a baby because this person is not intaking enough food.” If we can address these deficits within our body, we can convince our hypothalamus that we are in good shape and are getting enough protein to support a healthy pregnancy.
Once you become pregnant, you are going to require more calories to support the baby throughout your pregnancy. It is better to start making these nutritional changes during the planning phase and get your body ready for the baby. It gets you thinking more about what you are putting into your body, along with how much of it you need. You want to use food as fuel for your body, or as a sort of “medicine.” If the food you are thinking of consuming does not have good nutrition in some form or fashion, then you probably don’t need to be consuming it. Treating yourself in moderation is fine, but if you are really thinking about trying to become pregnant, then we need to make these healthy changes early in the process to help us become pregnant, stay pregnant, and deliver a healthy baby.
To close this post, I really want to encourage you to start thinking more about your protein intake, if you are getting enough, and what sources you are getting it from. Think about how these things can be impacting your health, especially if you are struggling with infertility on your journey to becoming pregnant.
Struggling with infertility? Find out more about how Inspire Physical Therapy can help you by providing a service called Mercier Therapy to impact fertility wellness.