Good digestive health is a vital part of the fertility process. Diet and digestion are commonly overlooked and misunderstood. Maintaining a healthy balanced diet and good digestive health could help to improve fertility within men and women.
The Difference Between Diet and Digestive Health
In order to understand how digestive health can impact fertility, it is important to be able to distinguish the difference between diet and digestion. Diet is the process of obtaining and utilizing food. Eating a balanced diet means eating foods that are healthier options for our bodies. This also includes eating proper portion sizes and eating a variety of food in proportions to what our bodies need to be healthy. Digestion is the process of breaking down the food that we ingest into smaller substances that can be absorbed throughout the body. Digestion occurs within two places. It occurs within the mouth where we physically breakdown the nutrients that we eat, and at a chemical level within our gastrointestinal tract when food is broken down into smaller digestive enzymes.
While our diet and digestion work together to help our bodies function properly, it is quite common for many people who seem to have great diets, to have poor digestion. In order to have good digestive health, the body’s organs and glands must be working properly. Research shows that our digestive process is much more than just what we eat, but how we eat it. If digestive organs are imbalanced due to stress or a lack of proper nutrients, then this can compromise fertility. Stress can cause an imbalance within our digestive health. Research shows that factors such as eating cold, raw foods, overeating, worrying, overthinking, multitasking, and eating too late in the day can cause issues within your digestion. Foods can also act as irritants within the digestive tracts and can cause inflammation if we are sensitive to them.
How Digestive Health Can Impact Fertility
When digestive organs and glands have an imbalance, this can compromise fertility. For example, if the body does not have the proper amount of stomach acid to decompose the proteins that it intakes this will throw off the rest of the digestive tract. The proper breakdown of proteins is vital to the body. Proteins are a major component to a fertility must- hormones. When hormone levels are imbalanced this can affect the entire ovulation and menstrual process.
Another condition of poor digestive health that may occur is known as leaky gut. Leaky gut is where the digestive tract is in a chronic state of inflammation and the body’s immune system attacks the inflamed areas. This causes the body to stay in a state of “alert” and to divert all of its attention to fighting these “foreign” objects, instead of focusing on other things such as fertility. When the body needs to send its focus to one area constantly this can divert attention from other systems in our body. Systems such as the reproductive system, the liver, the immune system, and the kidneys suffer. This type of inflammation within the gut could compromise the bodies hormone levels, egg production, or even the quality of sperm. These are all vital elements when it comes to the fertility process.
Balance in the Gut Important
Another important part of the digestive tract that could be affected by inflammation is the bacteria or flora within our bodies. The microflora within our intestines help to synthesize nutrients, break down toxins, improve immune function, protect us from infectious microorganisms, and help to digest food. When the healthy bacteria within the gut is compromised this can lead to microbial imbalance. This imbalance can affect the body and chances of conception. Vaginal flora helps to maintain the proper ph balance within the vagina to provide a healthy environment for pregnancy. When any of these flora or bacteria levels are compromised this can cause issues within the uterus, ovaries, or fallopian tubes. It is important to maintain a healthy gut and flora balance to help with fertility.
When the body is in a chronic state of inflammation, this takes attention away from the normal process and function the reproductive system. When the body can not focus on what it is meant to, this causes an imbalance to the system. It is important to maintain a healthy balanced diet and lifestyle to help improve chances with conception.