Last week we heard from our Senior Nutritionist Ciara Wright PhD about how the immune system affects your fertility. And now she’s talking about your gut and its connection into this unexpected triad.
Digestion and Fertility – an important link
You may not have considered it, but your digestion plays an important role in your fertility, supporting a healthy conception and a healthy pregnancy. Perhaps you have been putting up with irregular bowel movements, thinking this is a ‘live-with’ situation. Perhaps you know there are certain foods that just don’t agree with you. Maybe you get bloated and uncomfortable but think this is fairly ‘normal’. There are lots of different symptoms for digestive issues but feeling discomfort and pain are not normal. A regular bowel movement should occur on average once per day and should not be too firm or difficult to pass or be too loose – some say ‘toothpaste’ consistency!
But why does this matter for your fertility?
Optimal digestion is critical for absorbing critical nutrients to support pregnancy
This goes for the men and the women; you can have a good diet, but if you are not absorbing those nutrients, then it could be going to waste. Simple tests with your GP can test for iron absorption and B12 absorption, often affected when you are not digesting properly. However, critical minerals for sperm and egg health such as zinc may also be affected and tests in our clinic have shown high rates of deficiencies.
Your immune system surrounds your gut
All day long, we are putting ‘foreign material’ in the form of food down our gullets to fill ourselves up! It’s no wonder that the immune army is strongest in our digestive tract, guarding us from all this foreign stuff and preventing our immune system from completely over reacting to foods. Approximately 70-80% of our immune cells are found here so it is no wonder that how we eat and how we treat our gut has a huge effect on our immune system.
Keep your good bugs happy
Keep your gut and those good bacteria happy by eating plenty of fibre and a wide variety of fruits and veg. These bacteria play a role in modulating your immune system, so it’s important to keep them on side so that everything remains calm. Their favourite foods are high fibre pulses and resistant starches like raw oats, flaxseed and cooled cooked potatoes and pasta. Yes, our good bugs love potato salad just as much as we do!
Address your digestion to optimise fertility
Sometimes all the healthy eating still doesn’t solve the problem. If you find in fact that high fibre foods don’t suit you, this could be a sign of bacterial imbalance which needs to be addressed. If you suffer from constipation, diarrhoea, bloating or pain despite following a good diet then ask us how to get to the root cause of these issues and optimise your nutrition.