- Dr. Singh, ND
3 Important Benefits from Plant-Based Diets for Fertility
With so many dietary option available, the decision to choose the best one for you and your health goals can be challenging. However, when working towards optimal fertility and healthy pregnancy, choosing a plant-based diets offers various advantages. In particular there are 3 very important benefits from a plant-based diet that can help improve fertility.
Below I will address exactly how a plant-based diet can help you to overcome infertility.
1. Vegetables Protein may offer better Insulin Control than Animal Protein
Insulin sensitivity has a very close relationship with Ovulation. When insulin sensitivity decreases, the risk of ovulatory dysfunction (inability of ovulate or low quality ovulation) appears to increase.
A retrospective cohort study on Women with infertility resulting from ovulatory dysfunction found that substituting even 5% of your total daily caloric consumption from meat protein to vegetable protein may decrease the risk of ovulatory dysfunction by more than 50%. The group with the highest meat protein consumption was observed to have approximately a 39% increased relative risk for ovulatory dysfunction and the group of Women with the highest vegetable protein intake was found to have an approximate 22% decreased risk of ovulatory dysfunction.
The researchers concluded that replacing animal sources of protein with vegetable sources of protein may have a protective effect on ovulation and decrease risk of ovulatory dysfunction.
2. Healthier Bowel Movements are associated with Healthier Hormone Levels
Sticking with a plant-based diet with healthy amounts of fibre decreases transit time in the digestive tract. This means the food you eat today will move through the digestive tract quicker and will be evacuated as a bowel movement sooner than food from diets heavy in meat consumption. Animal protein tends to be slower to digest and can take longer to exit the digestive tract.
This may seem like an irrelevant topic, but it is actually crucial to help support healthy hormone levels. When food has a longer transit time, the food starts to putrefy in the digestive tract. It also allows excess hormones that the Liver worked very hard to try and eliminate through the digestive tract to be broken down and be reabsorbed from the colon back to the circulatory system and therefore the rest of the body. This increased reabsorption of hormones, such as Estrogen, can lead to an Estrogen Dominant state. The estrogen dominant state can contribute to the development or persistence of conditions, such as, Uterine Fibroids, Endometriosis, Premenstrual Tension Syndrome (PMS), and more.
3. Phytonutrients and Improved Total Antioxidant Capacity (TAC) for the Body
When it comes to fertility, Antioxidant status is everything. Especially for Women over the age of 35 where egg quality tends to decline. The antioxidants help protect the ovary and eggs from Oxidative Stress and toxic reactive oxygen species. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this! For both Men and Women, antioxidant status can be the factor that makes it or breaks it for you. Even when hormone levels and testing appears to be normal, high levels of oxidative stress can damage the DNA quality of both sperm cells and eggs (DNA integrity is not a test routinely performed for fertility treatments in Canada). This can lead to decreased fertility and increased risk for miscarriages.