Infertility rates are on the rise and it’s likely you know someone who is currently struggling to get pregnant. Even if you’re not ready to start a family right now, it’s probably got you wondering what you can do to preserve your fertility for when the time is right.
It may surprise you to hear that egg freezing is becoming increasingly popular among women who want to delay conception for any number of reasons- from starting a career to waiting for the right partner. In fact, egg preservation is becoming so easily accessible and affordable, many progressive employers are even willing to fund the process for valued employees.
But the flu shot isn’t the only way to prevent the flu or keep your immune system strong, and egg freezing isn’t the only way to preserve your fertility until you’re ready to start a family. Leading a healthy lifestyle right now can greatly improve your chances of conceiving in the future.
In fact, making healthy changes to your lifestyle as soon as possible isn’t just about improving your chances of getting pregnant in the years to come. It’s also about increasing your chances of achieving a healthy full-term pregnancy and delivering a healthy baby when the time is right.
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5 Healthy Habits to Preserve Your Fertility
Here are five healthy lifestyle habits that will help you preserve and improve your fertility naturally.
Manage your stress.
If there’s one thing that can have a tremendous impact on your fertility, it’s learning to manage your stress. In a society that rewards overworking, learning how to relax and reduce stress can be surprisingly challenging.
Yoga and meditation are two of the most effective and enjoyable ways to manage stress, and everyone can benefit from practicing them daily. Getting at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep every night is also crucial because your body heals and recovers when you’re sleeping.
Getting out in nature is another healthy way to manage stress. Journaling, reading a book, laughter, spending quality time with family and friends – these can all help to reduce stress levels and improve your quality of life.
Fertility & infertility support groups are an excellent resource for anyone interested in preserving and improving their fertility. They provide a safe place to talk about any challenges you’re experiencing in your fertility journey and connect with others who are at a similar stage in life.
Eat a whole food diet.
We’ve all heard the saying, “You are what you eat!” and it’s something you should take quite literally if you’re interested in preserving your fertility, not to mention your overall health.
If you don’t think diet has that big of an impact on your health, simply take a look at those around you. You probably won’t have to look too hard to see who’s binging on processed foods and who’s eating a healthy diet full of whole foods.
Those who choose a diet full of processed foods tend to struggle with low energy levels, digestive issues, poor skin health, and possibly even mental health issues. But those who follow a healthy diet are full of energy, can easily maintain a healthy weight, and generally seem to have a more positive outlook on life.
The best diet to preserve your fertility is always going to be a whole food diet. Eliminate refined sugars, refined carbohydrates, and all processed foods from your diet. These foods are triggering inflammation throughout your body and leaving toxic chemicals behind that can build up in your tissues.
The main portion of your diet should revolve around fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. Include some fermented foods every day to support your gut health, keep your immune system strong, and fight chronic inflammation.
A diet that’s rich in plant-based foods ensures that you’re getting lots of phytonutrients and antioxidants. This protects the body against disease, premature aging, chronic inflammation, and cellular damage. It may even improve the health of your eggs, which is vital for conception and a healthy baby.
Be sure to include lots of cruciferous vegetables, like cabbage, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, arugula, and kale. Cruciferous vegetables are rich in compounds that help the body break down and remove excess hormones and toxins from the body, which is crucial for good reproductive health and regular menstrual cycles.
Hydrate the right way.
It may surprise you to learn that the beverages you choose to drink can have just as much impact on your health and fertility as the foods you eat.
For example, most tap water and bottled waters contain chlorine and other unwanted chemicals that can contribute to hormonal imbalances. These toxins can disrupt the endocrine system and have a negative impact on your thyroid function, which is responsible for producing and regulating many crucial hormones related to reproduction.
Always drink filtered water to ensure that you’re not loading up on these endocrine disruptors. Avoid sugary beverages in favor of plain water, lemon water, herbal tea, green tea, and nourishing broths.
Staying properly hydrated is important for your overall health, energy levels, and detoxification. Monitor the color of your urine to ensure that you’re consuming enough fluids to keep your body hydrated. It should be pale to light yellow. If it’s dark yellow, you’re probably not drinking enough.
Moderation is key.
Having the time and freedom to party with your friends and enjoy life are some of the biggest perks of waiting to start a family. We get it! The key is moderation.
There’s a popular quote found in many Chinese medicine tests: “Eighty percent is perfection!” In other words, optimal health is all about balance. It’s totally okay to have a drink or two from time to time. Just remember that drinking too much alcohol will eventually impact your health, even if you’re not noticing the effects right now.
And you absolutely should enjoy your favorite foods occasionally. If you love a freshly baked scone once in a while, go for it. But make sure you balance it out with healthy, whole food for the rest of the day.
If coffee is something you truly enjoy, limit yourself to one or two cups in the morning, but be sure to follow it up with a big glass of filtered water. And be sure to opt for organic coffee if possible. Conventionally grown coffee is treated with lots of toxic chemicals you don’t want in your body.
However, when it comes to smoking and recreational drugs, it’s an absolute no! These types of toxins can have lasting harmful effects on your reproductive health, even in moderation.
Moderate exercise is an essential part of any healthy lifestyle. It improves oxygenation and circulation of the blood, reduces stress, supports healthy hormone balance, and helps you maintain a healthy weight- all of which are vital for your fertility health.
You don’t have to go to the gym to exercise. Finding small opportunities to get moving throughout the day can be just as beneficial as a 30-minute workout. Get off the bus a stop early, park a little further away, or do some lunges on your lunch break. Small changes can add up and eventually become healthy habits.
The Bottom Line: Preserve Your Fertility on a Holistic Level
One of the fundamental principles of yoga and Chinese medicine is holistic health. The emotional state affects physical health and vice versa. In fact, your body chemistry, including your hormone levels, responds to your brain chemistry.
That means your emotions, both positive and negative, can affect what’s going on inside your body. Learning to manage negative emotions, like anxiety and stress, is an essential part of preserving your fertility and maintaining good health. Making time for the things that bring you joy should be a priority.
There’s no question that lifestyle affects the quality of your eggs, your hormonal balance, and the health of your reproductive system… not to mention the health of your body overall. But taking care of your mental health is just as important!