Foods that boost metabolism

Higher metabolism has also been linked with fertility. Studies have found that a protein that translates insulin signals in metabolism also plays a role in female fertility. The mice tested that lacked the insulin receptor IRS-2 showed infertility. They had defective ovaries that prevented egg release. Other studies on the fruit fly drosophlia shows that there is a relationship between higher metabolism and fertility.

The four types of foods are helpful in boosting metabolism:

Chewy foods which are your lean meats, nuts, fruits etc. makes your body work the moment you chew. For the best results choose foods that are in a whole state. For example choose an apple over apple juice, a tuna steak over tuna fish.

Fibrous foods which contain your vegetables, rice, and grains. These foods are not only chewy but also packed with fiber that fills up your stomach leaving little room for seconds.

Energizer bunny foods are basically anything that contain caffiene like coffee, tea and dark chocolate. Caffeine boosts metabolism but be sure to steer clear of loading up on sugar, cream and milk.

Warm Foods such as peppers, ginger and garlic cloves contain capsaicin which doubles metabolism for several years after digestion.

Health Benefits of Cranberries

Since the holiday season is around the corner(and it could not come faster) I suppose it’s time to feel less guilty about that second serving of cranberries to go with that turkey.

Cranberries have long been thought to be helpful with UTI(Urinary Tract Infections). Scienticts originally thought this was due to it’s strong acidity. Recent research shows that cranberries contain PAC( proanthrocyandins) that acts as a barrier to bacteria that otherwise would latch onto the Urinary Tract Lining. With that in mind cranberries have also been found to promote kidney health and one of the important organs that must be nourished in order to conceive are the kidneys. Cranberries have also increasingly been found to have anti-cancer properties such as the triggering of apoptosis(programmed cell death). The benefits of cranberries have been known to expand to breast, liver, colon and prostate cancer. Cranberries have also been shown to have anti inflammatory effects on the cardiovascular and digestive systems. For our gums, cranberries can lower the risk of peridontal disease. Cranberries can prevent atherosclerosis( blood vessel blockage) by the triggering of two enzymes.

Prenatal Health| What to eat during Morning Sickness

During morning sickness eat crackers and pretzels before getting out of bed. Also eat small but frequent meals throughout the day to avoid getting either too full or too hungry. Progesterone also slows the speed of food in your digestive tract. Also drink fluids half an hour before eating but not during a meal. It is important however to drink fluids throughout the day to avoid dehydration.

 Avoid any fatty, greasy or fried food especially at dinner. Prepare food that are bland and lack odor. For example chicken soup and a plain baked potato are great choices for a light lunch or dinner. There are also some small but bland snacks that are great between meals including lemons, ginger, peppermint tea and crackers.


Diet and Fertility| Foods to avoid

Soda and Fruit Juices: Orange Juice, Apple Juice and other Fruit Juices contain added sugar that throws off your blood sugar levels and negatively affects hormonal levels. With that in mind also steer clear of refined or artificial sugars. Some alternatives are honey and maple syrup.

Caffeine: Studies have shown that caffeine can negatively impact hormonal levels, increase chances of miscarriage and stop ovulation.

GMO Foods: GMO short for Geneticlally Modified foods cause many a fertility problem. Since the 1970s, male sperm counts have declined as much as 40-50% with GMO foods as one of the primary factors. More to come about GMO in a future blog post.

Fat-Free Foods: While these foods may seem great in that they have less fat. These foods are actually highly processed and full of sugar. A study done by Harvard showed that full fat dairy increased fertility over fat reducing options. Fat is what is needed to produce hormones so don’t skimp the fat.

Prenatal Nutrition| Vitamin D

To read the other sections of this series click here and here.
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin allows the body to asorb more calcium which allows for maximum bone health. Studies have also found that Vitamin D helps support infant growth and a healthy birth weight. If you aren’t out in the sun much you may want to add vitamin D supplements into your daily intake. However many foods contain Vitamin D including eggs, mushroom, most fish, oyster and ham. Another source is fortified dairy products. Since diary products are already great sources for Calcium so it makes sense to fortify it with Vitamin D. In the same vein fortified soy products will also be good sources for both Vitamin D and Calcium. To learn more about other vitamins click here.

Prenatal Health| Eating the right kind of seafood

For part one in the series Prenatal Nutrition click here.

Fish contains nutrients that are important for a baby’s developing brain as previously mentioned with Omega 3’s and Vitamin B. And fish itself is healthy filled with other vitamins and is a source of protein. However mercury is also found in certain types of fish that could negatively impact the brain of your newborn.

The FDA has released guidelines for women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. These state that no more than 12 oz of low mercury fish should be consumed weekly. Highest mercury fish should be avoided all together and high mercury fish contained to three 6-oz servings in a month.

Fish with the least mercury include: salmon, flounder, catfish, crabs, crawfish, oysters, scallops, tilapia and trout. Fish with moderate mercury are: bass, cod, halibut, mahi mahi, and tuna(canned chunk light). High mercury fish include: bluefish, grouper, mackerel, sea bass, tuna(canned albacore). Those with the highest mercury content and should be avoided are: shark, swordfish, tuna(Bigeye,Ahi )and mackerel(king) .

How does Dr. Zhou help you during an infertility treatment

Dr. Zhou’s goal is to get your body into the best possible shape to overcome infertility and conceive naturally. During the initial phase of her treatment, the preconception phase, her total focus is on optimizing your overall health and well-being by addressing underlying constitutional weaknesses, bringing your body into balance, and nourishing what TCM refers to as “the deeper vitality.”To this end, Dr. Zhou prescribes a regimen of acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Acupuncture stimulates the flow of intrinsic energy in the body, enhances blood circulation to the pelvic region, and benefits vital organ function. Chinese herbal formulas restore energy and nourish the deeper vital essence to help the body produce a healthy egg.

Dr. Zhou carefully determines the right combination of these complementary therapies to boost your natural systems and work with your particular fertility makeup. In addition, she will advise you on optimal diet, proper exercise, and other healthy lifestyle practices. The overall treatment will promote the flow of specific meridians and remove existing inner psychological frustration to restore you to reproductive health. This integrated approach can not only help you to conceive, but also to deliver a healthy, full-term baby.

For more information and to schedule an appointment with Dr. Zhou please visit the website here.

Know your Vitamins: An easy to understand guide

There have been many a time when I wish I had a vitamin cheatsheet with me. What are vitamins, what are they and where do I get them?
Vitamin A(Retinol): supports vision, skin, bone and tooth grow along with reproduction. Some examples are: mangoes, carrots, squashes, pumpkins and broccoli.
Vitamin B1(Thiamin): boosts metabolism, energy levels and helps nerve function. Watermelon, tomatoes, spinach, milk and pork chops contain an abundance of B1.
Vitamin B2(Riboflavin): also boosts energy levels and helps with skin health. Some foods like broccoli, spinach. mushrooms, eggs, milk and porkchops contain vitamin B2.
Vitamin B3: boosts metabolism, and promotes skin, digestive and nerve health. Vegetables like spinach, tomatoes and potatoes along with meats like beef, chicken and shrimp contain the vitamin.
Vitamin B6: helps in red blood cell production along with amino acid and fatty acid metabolism. Bannanas, Watermelon, tomatoes, broccoli, potatoes along with chicken and white rice contain vitamin B6.
Vitamin B12: is used in making new cells, breaking down fatty acids and amino acids. Examples include all kinds of meat, fish, eggs and milk.
Vitamin C(asorbic acid): is used in new cell synthesis, breaking down fatty acids and amino acids. Fruits like mangoes, oranges, lemons, grapefruits and vegetables like spinach, broccoli, tomatoes and green beans contain vitamin C.
Vitamin D: promotes bone health and is contained in foods like milk, eggs, oranges and fish. It can also be self synthesized by being in direct sunlight.
Vitamin E: is an antioxidant that regulates oxidation and supports cell membrane stabilization. Avocados, cod, shrimp, tofu and sunflower seed contains high amounts of Vitamin E.
Vitamin K: synthesis of blood clotting proteins and regulates blood calcium. Vegetables like broccoli, spinach and brussel sprouts contain vitamin K.

Prenatal Nutrition| Omega-3 Fatty acids

In a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the University of Kansas medical Center tested that 600 mg dose of DHA(docosahexaenoic acid) could affect things like infant length, gestation duration and birth rate. 350 pregnant women consumed either a placebo or DHA from 20 weeks until they gave birth. The study showed that those in the DHA group had a longer gestation duration and had babies who weighed more. The study concluded that “a reduction in early preterm and very-low birth weight could be important clinical and public health outcomes of DHA supplements.

Now that studies have shown the effect of DHA on pregnancies what exactly is Docosahexaenoic acid? Well DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is essential for the development of the brain in infants. DHA also maintains normal brain function in adults.

Like other omega-3 fatty acids DHA can be found in Seafood including wild salmon, oysters, sole and halibut. It is important to note however that farm raised fish contain less DHA because of their grain based diets. Flaxseed oil contains alpha linolenic acid which is converted into DHA by the body.

Health Benefits of Watermelon

Watermelon has been known to help fertility especially in males. In the Journal of International Urology and Nephrology male subjects tested for the effects of lycopene on fertility. Each subject was given 2000 mg. of lycopene twice a day for for three months. 65% of subjects experienced a sperm count increase with 53% experiencing increased sperm motility.

So what is lycopene? Lycopene is an anti oxidant which has been found to reduce the incidence of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Research shows that lycopene can reduce lung and colon cancer along with breast and endometrial cancers.Lycopene is also a cartenoid(seen by human eyes as the colors: orange, red and yellow). Lycopene have also been found to contain 40% more lycopene than tomatoes. According to a study done by the United States Department of Agriculture watermelon contains the highest lycopene levels.

Watermelon are an excellent source for Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin B6. Two amino acids citrulline and arginine are also found in watermelon. These amino acids have also been found to increase sperm count and sperm mobility.

Watermelon has also been found to be helpful for pregnancy. A study done in theInternational Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics found that daily lycopene supplements reduced the occurrence of  preeclampsia by 50%.

Other posts on health benefits of certain vegetables and fruits can be found here, here and here.