The Infertility Cure: How Nutrition Makes a Difference

Those who take medicine and neglect their diet waste the skill of the physician.
--Chinese proverb

Women facing fertility challenges are often told that certain vitamins and dietary adjustments can restore hormonal functioning, reduce FSH levels, and ultimately help them get pregnant. Yet many women try to cut out processed meats, refined sugars, and dairy products for a few weeks or supplement their diets with large doses of vitamins and don't notice a bit of difference. It is well documented that body fat content has an effect on our fertility (too high or too low a body fat content accounts for 12 percent of infertility cases in the United States); lesser known is how much of a role nutrition plays in our reproductive health.

The Chinese tradition recognizes food as the main source of energy. The Spleen converts food into usable energy (including Qi, Blood, and Essence). Each food has different energetic qualities. For example, hot, spicy foods are more Yang in nature, while sweet foods are more Yin. Some foods build up the Blood; others help draw heat and dampness from the body. The different tastes -- sweet, spicy, sour, bitter, salty, and aromatic -- have certain effects when taken in moderation. However, if any of these tastes predominate, they can create imbalance in the body. The effects of overindulging in some of these tastes are recognized in Western medicine, too. In Chinese culture, salty flavors are considered necessary for the Kidneys, but too much salt is said to obstruct the flow of the Blood. In Western medicine, too much salt causes water retention, affecting the kidneys, and also can create problems with the circulation of the blood.

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