We are all exposed daily to a plethora of chemicals that can impact our fertility.
Many of these are endocrine disrupting chemicals that act like oestrogens in the body and can impact both males and females, reducing sperm quality, impairing ovulation (the release of an egg from your ovaries) and leading to reproductive disease.
Other chemicals can add to our overall toxic load, burdening the liver, causing allergies and even influencing which genes remain silenced and which get “switched on”. These impacts, in turn, can lead to disrupted reproductive function and a reduced ability to conceive.
While we can’t avoid chemicals completely, the good news is we can greatly reduce our exposure. Each of us has the opportunity to change diet and lifestyle factors and limit environmental exposures that significantly impact overall health and fertility. Simple changes in key areas can make a huge difference.
Here are my top five ways to easily reduce your toxic load and boost your fertility.
- Kick the toxins out of your cosmetics
You may already be aware that many make-up and personal care products contain toxic chemicals but did you know that the cumulative load of all the things you are coming into contact with can significantly disrupt hormonal balance, reduce sperm and egg quality and interfere with ovulation?
- use the handy smartphone apps Skin Deep or The Chemical Maze to check for endocrine disrupting chemicals in your makeup, skin care, hair care, soap, body wash and deodorant
- replace these with natural alternatives, choosing only products with ingredients that you can understand and feel confident about using, there are plenty of products that are lovely to use and do the job just as well as their toxic counterparts
- save money by making your own if desired – there are plenty of great online DIY resources for this because there is a whole revolution out there of people wanting toxins out of their cosmetics!
- Kick the toxins out of your food
Hormones, pesticides, herbicides, preservatives, additives and antibiotics can all make it into our food. A little of these things individually may not hurt but cumulatively, and combined with all the other toxins we are exposed to, our body’s detoxification systems might be overwhelmed, harming fertility.
- avoid eating meat and dairy that is not organic
- avoid fatty cuts of meat
- use The Chemical Maze smartphone app to check for food additives in packaged foods
- wash fruit and veggies thoroughly or choose organic
- aim for a whole food diet – as much as possible consume foods in their natural state rather than processed, e.g. whole grains, fruits, veggies, lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, legumes
- Kick the toxins out of your food storage and cookware
We all need to store food and drinks as who has time to prepare every single meal and snack fresh from the garden or grocery store produce! Eating healthy is easier if we prepare much of our own food, batch cook, freeze some meals and avoid eating out too much. But this brings us another problem – how to avoid endocrine disrupting chemicals in plastics and cookware?
- avoid plastic wraps by investing in some beeswax cloth wraps. These are now widely available online or you can make your own. They are essentially a cloth coated in beeswax so that it will hold shape around your sandwich or bowl of leftovers in the fridge.
- invest in a metal or glass water bottle and takeaway coffee/tea cup, ditch any sort of plastic bottle, even the BPA free ones as they still contain other types of phenols, which may be toxic to health.
- use glass for storing leftovers by investing in glass storage containers and saving empty jars for food storage. You can even freeze food in glass, just make sure you leave enough room for the food to expand so that the volume doesn’t crack the glass
- be sure not to heat up your leftovers in the microwave in plastic
- throw out the non-stick and aluminum cookware and opt for stainless steel, cast iron, glass, ceramic and enameled cast iron
- Kick the toxins out of the garden
It goes without saying that using pesticides and herbicides on any food or herbs grown at home should be off the agenda. Equally though, consider your exposure to pesticides and herbicides that you use when tending your ornamental garden. When it comes to fertility I recommend you avoid the use of these altogether but if it can’t be avoided have someone else apply them for you and then avoid direct contact with the plants after.
- Kick the toxins out of your home
I’m talking about air quality here. Whilst we may not be able to affect the quality of the outside air, we can improve our inside air quality to some degree.
- live away from busy roads and highways
- shoes off before entering the house
- let fresh air into your house regularly
- dust with a wet microfibre cloth regularly
- invest in a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter
- avoid living in a newly renovated house immediately or buying brand new furniture as these off-gas formaldehyde
- get some indoor plants such as the peace lily, bamboo palm, Mother-in-law’s tongue, boston fern, dracaena warneckei, dracaena marginata, golden pathos, green spider plant. These have been shown to be awesome at removing formaldehyde, mould, bacteria and carbon dioxide from the air
- have your home inspected by a building biologist if you suspect mould or toxic paint
If this all seems overwhelming you needn’t worry. Knowledge is power and whatever you can do to get started is going to benefit you immediately. Change can be difficult, so start with one thing at a time and slowly replace what you are currently using with safer alternatives.
Natural Fertility Teacher (TTNFE)
Author of The PCOS Solution
Specialing in Natural Fertility
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