Diet, fertility and work

By Katy Bradbury, Nutritional Therapist, from the Fertility Nutrition Centre

FemTech, Fertility, IVF, PregnancyWe know that diet and lifestyle are so important when it comes to trying to get pregnant, and the benefits of a whole foods, Mediterranean influenced diet to support fertility are well documented.

Many of the women we work with as fertility nutritionists are incredibly busy and have high stress, high intensity jobs, and with that comes a list of habits that can be detrimental when trying to conceive.

More recently of course, many people have adapted to working from home, which can be beneficial with regards to being able to make fresh food, but can also have its downsides (hello fridge door, I seem to have opened you for the 657th time today!).

As we begin to move out of lockdown and back towards our regular working patterns, here are some of the common workplace eating practices that us at Fertility Nutrition Centre come across all the time with our clients….how many can you tick off the list?!

Skipping meals – You’ve been in back to back meetings and have a project deadline you’re up against. An unexpected email comes in which has to be dealt with, then a colleague wants a quick gossip, and all of a sudden it’s 4pm and you’ve not eaten anything since breakfast. Skipping meals can be a regular occurrence for some, and whilst we often encourage leaving a few hours between eating to allow your digestive tract a chance to rest and recuperate, having erratic or irregular eating patterns can have a detrimental effect on our blood sugars which in turn can influence our hormones. Making sure you have a back up plan ready for those days that get really busy to ensure you’re getting enough nutrients throughout the day is really important when you’re trying to get pregnant.

Inhaling your food – Similar to the story above though this time you did actually eat lunch. But what did you even have again?! You were so busy that you ate sat at your desk and inhaled your food in about 2 minutes flat without really noticing what it was. Sound familiar? Eating this way means that there is no mindfulness or awareness going into the foods we eat. We miss out on the enjoyment of food and arguably one of the most important parts of the digestion process….chewing! When we focus on our food, enjoy the smell of it, savour it and chew thoroughly, we secrete digestive enzymes which help begin to break down our food and signal to the stomach that there is a package arriving soon which gets our gastric juices flowing ready to absorb important nutrients.

Reheating leftovers – bringing in leftovers from home is a great way of ensuring you’re getting nutritious food in for lunch, and what most people end up doing is bringing food in a Tupperware or similar plastic container. Heating up plastic with your food means that your food could become contaminated with the chemicals your plastic is made from. Plastics such as BPA are well documented for their harmful effects on fertility by creating oxidative stress and free radical damage to our cells. A simple solution to this is to swap your plastic containers for glass and you’ll significantly reduce your toxic burden.

The biscuit tin – name me an office which doesn’t have a steady stream of sweet treats coming through it. Someone brings in donuts for their birthday, a cake for a leaving do, biscuits for people to help themselves to….It’s all too easy to jump on the sugar train when that 3pm slump hits, and it does not do your fertility any favours due to the inflammatory response that’s elicited with this kind of eating. Arm yourself instead with some fruit and a small handful of nuts to satisfy that sweet craving whilst giving yourself a delicious nutrient boost.

Wining and dining – if you have the kind of job which involves taking clients out for meals and drinks you can easily enjoy a glass or three of wine alongside a rich meal. Unfortunately for those trying to conceive, even moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to reduce the chances of getting pregnant, so it’s worth switching to fizzy water if you can. If eating out, think about how you can include extra nutrients by utilising vegetable side dishes alongside your meal.

If any of the above sound familiar, and you feel like you could use some extra support in figuring out how you can make those workplace habits healthier, a fertility nutritionist can work with you to find the diet that is best suited to your individual needs through tailored assessment and support.

About the author

Katy Bradbury is a Nutritional Therapist, part of the team at the Fertility Nutrition Centre. The Fertility Nutrition Centre is a safe space for couples to visit and gain advice and seek a trusted nutritionist.  Each nutritionist listed with the Fertility Nutrition Centre website has trained directly with Sandra.  Her course is taken by registered nutritionists and includes 12 pillars within the area of fertility and takes a year to complete.  Once successfully completed the course, graduates are invited to join the Centre.

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