Diet & Lifestyle
Although we like to tailor our plans specifically to your needs, here are some general tips, with some specific ones for men at the bottom of the page
Our patients seeking acupuncture treatment for fertility are often especially aware of their diets and are more dedicated than the average person to creating a healthy body and taking charge of their own health -- not only to increase their chances of conceiving, but also to provide the best possible environment for their soon-to-be growing baby to thrive in.
- We highly recommend that you cut out (or at least avoid as much as possible) all refined sugar and flour products (bread, pasta, cakes, pastries, etc.). Get your carbs primarily from whole grains, such as quinoa, millet, and buckwheat or brown rice.
- Make sure you get enough protein in your diet. Include small to moderate amounts of meat if you can, such as chicken, turkey, buffalo or grass-fed beef. Be sure to choose meats that have been raised organically, without the use of growth hormones or antibiotics. This is really important, as it affects not only your overall health, but your fertility in particular.
- When you buy eggs, look for eggs from chicken that were raised free-range (i.e. no cages + outdoor access -- beware that "cage-free" doesn't necessarily mean the hens have access to the outdoors), raised on organic feed, and, ideally, with a diet high in Omega-3 essential fatty acids.
- Eat plenty of vegetables and a little bit of fruit. Fruit is great for its vitamin content. Since it is high in sugars, however, we recommend keeping it in moderation.
- Eat both fruits and vegetables of a variety of colors to ensure getting a bredth of vitamins and nutrients.
- Drink plenty of water - ideally away from mealtimes. Stop drinking water about a half hour before your meals and wait to resume drinking liquids until about an hour after you have eaten, as water will dilute your digestive juices and can lead to food sitting in your stomach longer than necessary without being digested properly. This can, in turn, result in digestive discomfort, gas, and bloating.
- We recommend taking a daily, high-quality multivitamin, as well as a high-quality fish oil and probiotic supplement. We carry our favourite brands at the clinic or can point you in the direction of some alternatives when you come for your visit.
- Avoid dairy in large quantities, as it produces dampness in the body, which, in turn, can affect your fertility. Butter is ok, as are yogurt and kefir (a fermented dairy product high in beneficial probiotics), though we suggest you keep milk, cream, and cheese to a minimum.
- Small amounts of red meat (buffalo and grass-fed beef are great!), as well as beets and lots of leafy greens will help to nourish your blood. Whole grains will nourish your Qi.
- We also suggest that you use sea salt, rather than the industrially produced table salt to season your foods, as the latter is quite toxic to our bodies. Watch out for excess salt in prepared food items. Salt is crucial to our bodies, but it needs to be the "good" kind, which helps to flush toxins out of our system, rather than causing our bodies to retain more toxins. A great way to get more natural salty flavor in your diet is by adding seaweed to your dishes. Nori, Hijiki, Arama, Dulse etc. are great additions to your meals and add extra flavor
With this kind of a base diet, plus herbs we may recommend, which will be tailored to your individual constitution and needs, as well as regular acupuncture treatments, you will be in excellent shape to conceive and carry a healthy baby to term!
Several lifestyle and environmental factors affect fertility in men specifically. We strongly encourage our patients to adopt the following 5 strategies to increase the quality and quantity of sperm.
- Eat Organic Growth hormones and pesticides decrease the quality and quantity of sperm.
- Studies show that estrogen in found in foods (pesticides) and from the environment (plastics and chemicals) lower testosterone.
- A Harvard University Study found that men with the highest levels of trans-fatty acids in their semen also had the lowest number of sperm. Avoid packaged food, processed foods, and fast food.
- Sperm production may decrease with deficiencies in nutrients such as vitamin C, selenium, zinc and folate. Eating whole foods, taking high quality vitamins and Chinese herbs can help with nutritional deficiencies.
- Reduce use of Tobacco, Alcohol and Marijuana: Research finds that smoking decreases the quality and quantity of sperm, and is linked to an increase of miscarriages. Alcohol and Marijuana have similar effects on sperm.
- Shed a few pounds: Overweight or obese men are more likely to produce lower numbers of sperm, or even no sperm at all.
- De-stress: Stress has been shown to interfere with certain hormones needed to produce sperm. Making time for exercise, sleep, acupuncture and healthy eating can make a huge difference in reducing stress.
- Decrease the Heat: The scrotal sack is located outside of the body in order to maintain a certain temperature that is essential for sperm survival. As little as three degrees can adversely affect sperm quality for at least 3 months.
Common factors that raise sperm temperature are:
- Lap-top computers used on the lap raise scrotal temperatures
- Extreme biking can damage scrotal sacs
- Cell phones raise temperatures when placed in pocket
- Hot tubs raises scrotal temperature
- Tight pants raises scrotal temperature