If you are starting a new regime, a pre-IVF, pre-Summer, pre-holiday and pre-showing bits of yourself that have been hidden for the Winter, then starting your day as you mean to go on is the way to go. I love the way this green juice makes me feel, it is so clean and fresh and so very green! And when I have it in the morning it inspires me to keep going with the green theme.Read more
I love soups; almost anything can go in them and for a Spring re-set it’s got be green! Dark green leafy vegetables contain a multitude of fantastic nutrients to help fertility, like beta- carotene for good ovarian function, magnesium for hormone balancing and omega three fatty acids and natural vitamin E. And the green pigment chlorophyll is known for having huge health benefits;Read more
This is one of my all-time favourite recipes which really says welcome to Spring. You can transform a simple baked white fish or poached chicken with salsa verde; you can drizzle it over new potatoes, mix it through rice or pasta, and drizzle it over peas, tender stem broccoli and asparagus. It adds such a delicious fresh flavour, and aromatic herbs are stuffed full of nutrients too. With garlic and onion and earthy spicy olive oil it is a really simple way of making something plain delicious wRead more
This episode has a slightly unusual intro as I had to record it whilst driving, my recorder was safely stored in my glove compartment or whatever the bit in the middle is, by the handbreak.. it does affect the quality a bit, so I apologise. However I’m just back from Fertility Fest and needed to go and pick up my son and get this episode finished.. Hence the need to multi task. You’ll hear a quick chat from Jessica Hepburn from Fertility Fest who I did an insta live with after the session to day (Sunday 28th April) and I’ve lifted the audio, seeing Lives dissapear.. again a slight quality issue. I also wanted you to get to watch the Fertility Fight Club live stream which you can do so here
Now onto my guest. Meet Melanie Brown, a fertility nutritionist and former guest on this podcast. I wanted to speak with Mel after I saw her post this on her instagram
So I wanted to know more. Now, this chat was back in January, so Mel does refer to it being dark in the afternoons and getting lighter (don’t get confused if you’re listening in April when I’ve released it).
Mel was keen to know about the effects of circadian rhythms on your fertility and whether it can affect it. We spoke about how it’s been known for a long time that shift workers, stewardess and pilots have menstrual irregularities and that there is a great deal of evidence that fertility is diminished.
But what about the rest of us, working normal hours. Does it affect us? Well it seems it does.
The luteinizing hormone that surges mid-cycle is under the 24-hour body clock control so disturbances could affect ovulation and uterine receptivity.
If implantation doesn’t happen, despite embryos being quality and blastocyst… everything is done to receive the embryo (scratch, washes then we need to start to consider the stress on the body from sleep deprivation affecting uterine receptivity
There was also discussion about TNF Alpha – related to Natural killer cells being linked to sleep stress pathway.
Mel explained how she always recommend my clients use a SAD lamp as there is evidence that getting 20 min of natural daylight in the morning before 9am can have an extremely positive effect and can set your master clock
Did you know that IVF success rates are lower in the winter, higher in the spring and summer
I think it’s also to do with you get up in the dark, go to work in the dark, artificial light and she spoke about
Mel spoke about the benefits of melatonin and how in order to prepare to go to sleep, make sure you are not in a bright bedroom, checking your phone and then turning off the light and hoping to go to sleep
We spoke about Sleep Hygiene. Warm bed cold room… we evolved to sleep in cold temperatures having the heating on in the winter is bad for our sleep
We spoke about whether the sleep before midnight more valuable than after and how its the quantity of sleep. If you go after midnight you’re more likely to get less sleep
The cut-off point for sleep damage is UNDER 6 hours
Did you know you can do SLEEP CATCH up at the weekend it’s been discovered you can… just do it for one night… it’s quite technical so have a listen to how Mel explains it, but do remember that sleep is our wear and repair time and we try and we might to get out of it… we can’t do it. Remember that the environment that interrupts our sleep, so use blackout blinds and earbuds.
Women with diminished ovarian research are 30 times more likely to have disturbed sleep?
Mel gave great advice on how to approach sleep when you are going through IVF… sometimes it’s easier to think of it as a project. I know I did like it was a science experiment. Mel said ‘You have to think – I have to be in bed for at least 7 hours, so I have some spare time to get back to sleep and I’m not going to get anxious. It’s like school nights you’re getting as much sleep as you can. If you don’t get enough sleep something else will give – the immune system you have to take the best care of yourself and sleep is an essential part of that…”
Do have a listen to my previous chat with Mel about how a Mediterranean diet can really benefit male fertility here
March is Endometriosis Awareness Month but unfortunately, sufferers of this particularly distressing condition are more than ‘aware’ of it.Read more
The very word ‘holiday’ often induces an immediate panic attack in me in terms of what to pack in order to cover all potential disasters. I often have so much emergency medical equipment on me that I can barely fit any clothes in my bag!Read more
I must confess I am not good with holidays, usually leaving it to the last minute, and then slightly dreading them as the time to ‘get away from it all’ draws closer. Oh the expectations are so very high; the weather, the food, the mattress, the view, the other people if we’re in a hotel, the lack of other people if we’re half way up a mountain.Read more
Beetroot is not everyone’s favourite vegetable but it has had a bit of a revival recently thanks to its use by athletes at the Olympics for increasing blood flow to the muscles. For women undergoing IVF with thin uterine lining I often recommend 300mls of beetroot juice a day until embryo transfer for the same reason.Read more
This just the most delicious soup EVER! It’s from my friend Ali Godbold’s lovely recipe book ‘Feed Your Health’. I give the recipe to all my clients because it includes so many good ‘fertility’ foods but everyone loves it. The original recipe isn’t blended but, for me, smooth is best. The recipe is exactly as it says, so if you follow it, it will be perfect and it is so simple to make.Read more
OK, this is not for all men who are going through fertility problems; I see lots of men who are so willing to take on board anything that will help them to become fathers, even if it is not ‘their issue’. They recognise that sperm needs to be healthy, but also that their partners need the support, the acknowledgement that you are both in it together.Read more
The recent headlines confidently claiming that omega-3 ‘causes’ prostate cancer have caused a bit of confusion for sure. I suggest omega-3 regularly for my clients for its anti-inflammatory and blood thinning properties, especially if they can’t or won’t eat fish, which in itself provides such a wealth of nutrients, as well as omega-3.Read more
All my clients know I am mad about watercress; those peppery little leaves pack an amazing nutrient punch. It’s a bit of an acquired taste I know but absolutely worth it. Watercress is particularly good if you have ever smoked; it contains a specific compound that may protect against lung cancer, and like broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables it also seems to protect against other common cancers like breast and colon.Read more
I think we have finally cracked it at last. If you can stick with the 5:2 diet, and try out different things I think it should work for almost everyone. Husband is now the weight and fitness level he was when he was 15 (so he says….) and best of all a client who had multiple failed IVFs and needed to lose weight before another one was attempted just did it, lost the weight, looks fabulous and is pregnant at last.Read more
A recipe for delicious, nutritious soda bread made from spelt, kamut and rye flours. Best served warm!Read more
When I first blogged about this (see 5:2 diet), I had just begun to inflict it on my husband and our hapless long-stay visitor, as well as my poor, unsuspecting clients. It was the early days and my enthusiasm knew no bounds; I forced us all to eat broccoli soup for lunch AND supper – why complicate it?Read more
I have just returned from a great week working in Morocco where I met a fantastic chef who specializes in raw food called Hayley North. I am a bit of a relaxed nutritionist and not very interested in hard core food movements that restrict or only allow certain foods with a religious fervour.Read more
I have a bit of a thing about chemicals and how they may affect both male and female fertility, according to more and more research. This latest study links premature ovarian failure with chemicals called PCBs (Poly Chlorinated Bisphenyls) and phthalates. PCBs (Poly Chlorinated Bisphenyls) are found in fatty animal products.Read more
There is a bit of a myth that women are the ones with age-related fertility problems and a man can father children even when he’s ancient! Yes there are famous older Dads – Charlie Chaplin, Des OConnor and Bruce Forsyth to name but a few, but new research has shown that actually sperm ages too, with deterioration of the DNA leading to a higher risk of genetic problems in the offspring, such as schizophrenia and autism (Wyrobek et al).Read more
One of the dilemmas of my work is convincing people that you can eat healthy food that actually tastes of something. When you are asking people to cut down the three things that make food taste good – salt, sugar and fat it can be a hard call.Read more
Yet again vitamin D, or rather the lack of it has hit the headlines again. The completely tragic case of the young parents arrested for the murder of their baby, who turned out to actually have severe rickets, has reinforced the importance of this vitamin.Read more