Are You What You Eat?
Recent research shows that common environmental pollutants like pesticides used in farming are harming male and female fertility.
Published online in the February 2011 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, the research conducted by University of London's School of Pharmacy found that a variety of pesticides approved for use for fruits and vegetables in the EU are affecting men's testosterone levels. It seems that at least 30 out of 37 chemicals commonly used on crops affect the function of testosterone. Crops affected include lettuce, strawberries, and grapes as well as other vegetables and fruit. There is also other evidence that these commonly used pesticides on fresh food also affect women's fertility.
Various normal household products that contain PFC's (perfluorinated chemicals) or the common chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) can also affect both men and women's fertility. Hormone pollution is causing the feminization of river fish, and these hormones can get into the water supply. It's therefore not so surprising that male fertility has dropped by 50% in the last 50 years. While this reduction in fertility might not matter in young healthy couples, for older couples or those experiencing fertility problems, removing these toxins from their diet or systems may make all the difference.
What You Can Do
· Wash all your fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking. However, this may not be enough - even if you peel them
· Buy organic - if you can, buy all your food organic. Although it can be expensive it's cheaper than fertility treatment
· Avoid red meat - unless it's organic and even then only eat small amounts - eating beef may affect your future male children's sperm count levels according to research published in Human Reproduction
· Switch to drinking filtered, or bottled water or fit a reverse osmosis or similar filtering system to your kitchen water tap
· Avoid genetically modified foods -no one knows exactly what effect they may have on the body's systems
· Avoid estrogen based foods like soya products, they can affect male fertility and occasionally disrupt female hormone levels
· Avoid mercury, which is found in fish like swordfish and tuna. It can also be found in high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which is used in many processed products - mercury can affect the nervous system
· Avoid junk and processed food - they tend to be low in vitamins and minerals
· Switch to environmentally friendly cleaning products - modern cleaning products maybe affecting your fertility
· Avoid plastic products that contain Bisphenol A (BPA) - in October 2010 Canada declared this chemical to be a health hazard
· Stop smoking - smoking can also affect fertility in both men and women
· Avoid alcohol -this can also have a negative effect on your fertility
· Grow your own fruit and vegetables - there is nothing like eating something straight out of the garden
· To counteract overall pollution and unavoidable environmental toxins, take a multi-vitamin supplement -choose one particularly designed for pre-conception care. Zinc, Vitamins B, C, E are also very important for your male partner to help improve sperm quality and levels
Something in our modern lifestyle is affecting our fertility, so it's worth making these small adjustments in your diet and lifestyle just while you are trying to get pregnant. It's certainly easier than having invasive fertility treatment. Even if you are considering or are already having fertility treatment, improving your diet and avoiding these environmental pollutants may help the treatment to be more effective.
There is an old saying "You are what you eat" - what are you eating?