14 Jun Fat is for fertility – how dietary fats can help you get pregnant and balance your hormones
So when it come to eating for hormonal health and trying to get pregnant one of the biggest mistakes is forgetting our diet and overall health is one of the simplest areas which we have complete control.
So the number 1 biggest mistake I see in clinic is not eating enough fat! Not the greasy oil that you fry you chips in unfortunately but the good fat that comes from fresh ingredients so commonly in mediterranean and paleo diets.
Fat is an essential macronutrient, and sadly after years of being told that fat will make you fat many of us don’t eat enough.
FAT WILL NOT MAKE YOU FAT! It’s a MYTH!
Every cell in our body is surrounded by a membrane that is made of fatty acids; even our brains are more than 60% fat. For cells to work well, they need good fats to keep their membranes supple. Cells make up tissues and tissues make up organs such as the sex organs (ovaries and testes). If the cells function optimally, so do the organs they form.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) have beneficial effects on the flow of blood to the uterus and can improve communication between the pituitary gland (brain) and ovaries. During pregnancy, the body is depleted of fats needed to build the child’s brain and nervous system, and is further depleted during breastfeeding. This is why it is so important to maintain proper fatty acid balance in your body for not only for preparing for, during and following pregnancy but also for our hormonal balance.
Types of FATS
Dietary fat can be classified into four groups; saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and trans. Each fat behaves differently inside the body. Until recently saturated fat had been demonised because of it’s supposed links with heart disease but most recent research suggests that medium levels of blood cholesterol are essential and unprocessed saturated fats such found in coconut and meat products are essential for hormonal balance and brain function.
Good Fats: Essential fatty acids such as Omega 3 and Omega 6 oils which are beneficial to many different aspects of our health. These may include olive oil, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, avocado, deep-sea oily fish, grass fed meat, nuts and seeds.
Bad fats: processed oils and processed foods such as, deep fried food, vegetable oil, canola oil, grape seed oil, rice bran oil, and margarine.
Examples of how to get more of those very important therapeutic fats into your daily diet;
- Add a high-quality fish oil supplement to your diet. Aim for a total of 1 gram (1000 mg) of EPA/DHA per day.
- Consider using a high-quality evening primrose oil (EPO) supplement. However, I recommend consulting a Naturopathic Doctor first, as some individuals respond badly to EPO supplements.
- Reduce your consumption of processed foods. Buy foods that rot – and eat them before they rot!
- Eat fish twice a week. Add canned wild salmon or sardines to a salad or as part of a salad, and poach or broil a piece of salmon or mackerel.
- Snack on a handful of organic pumpkin seeds and walnuts.
- Add organic sunflower seeds and hemp seeds to your salads, or mix them into yogurt.
- Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of ground organic flaxseeds to your muesli, yogurt or smoothie in the morning. Freshness is important to preserve the nutrients in the seeds. If you can’t grind them yourself, buy vacuum-packed ground seeds, as this limits their exposure to oxygen.
- Use good-quality organic flaxseed oil for salads or add them to a warm oats for breakfast, or toss a tablespoonful into your smoothies.
- Quality oils used as sources of EFAs should be organic, unrefined and fresh (not rancid), and should taste like the seed from which they came. Store these oils in opaque containers, protect them from light, oxygen and heat and consume them before they spoil. They should not be used for cooking.
- Use olive oil, a monounsaturated non-essential fat.
- Use coconut oil, a healthy saturated fat for cooking or even add a small teaspoon to tea.
- Limit red meat consumption to 1 or 2 servings per week.
- If your diet relies heavily on dairy products such as milk and cheese, substitute some dairy with nut milks. Limit cheese consumption.
About the author
Lauren Surridge is the Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and owner of Balanced Life Health Care. Lauren has a bachelor of Chinese Medicine and specialises in Women’s health, gynaecology and infertility. She has a passion in educating women in the basic lifestyle changes that they can make at home to improve their health, hormonal balance and fertility. To find out more about Lauren click here and to make an appointment to see Lauren at her clinic in Ferntree Gully click here