Fats & Fertility

I hope we are past the point where we believe the outdated info that “fat is bad for you”. I won’t go into the history of the whole saturated-fat-will-kill-you story (if you are interested listen to this episode of Revisionist History) but needless to say, we NEED healthy fats not only to survive, but to reproduce as well.

I have been diving into optimizing fertility lately, and plan to start a 6 week class for individuals/couples who are looking to increase their chances of conceiving naturally in the next month or so, and wanted to share some of the information I found regarding the importance of our healthy fat intake in getting pregnant (for moms + dads). I’m going to try to present this info in the easiest to consume way possible.

Why is fat important for our own health and the health of a developing fetus?

  • Sex hormones are made up of fats and amino acids.
  • Healthy fats provide necessary energy for all of our body’s functions.
  • It is required for the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, & K which are crucial for fertility & fetal development.

  • Dysfunction of the gallbladder is related to poor quality fats or low-fat diets.

A quick overview on the importance of the fat-soluble vitamins:

  • Vitamin A, D, & K work together in:
    • Appropriate fetal development – cells, nervous system, skeletal system, facial & body features, bones & teeth, skin, endocrine system, immune system, eye health, attention & cognitive function
  • Vitamin E has anti-oxidant benefits and protects sperm and egg cells from free-radicals.

A note on cholesterol: Cholesterol has gotten a bad reputation and unfortunately is still being blamed for heart disease and people are being warned against eating too much red meat. The truth is that we need cholesterol because it is the building block of our hormones – including our sex hormones. We need to eat high quality animal protein in order to support healthy cholesterol production and avoid eating poor quality fats which are the true source of the diseases surrounding cholesterol intake.

High quality fats rich in vitamins & for healthy cholesterol:

  • Pasture-raised animals- beef, pork, chicken (including organ meats)
  • Eggs from pasture-raised chickens
  • Wild caught fish, fish eggs, & shellfish
  • Fermented cod liver oil
  • Organic butter, cream, & yogurt from full-fat pasture-raised cows (raw dairy when possible)
  • Raw, soaked nuts & seeds
  • Avocado
  • Dark, leafy green veggies

Healthy cooking fats (can also be eaten raw):

  • Low to moderate heat:
    • Olive Oil – extra virgin, organic
    • Avocado Oil
    • Butter – grassfed, organic, pasture-raised
    • Sesame oil – organic, raw, cold-pressed
  • High heat:
    • Butter – grassfed, organic, pasture-raised
    • Lard, Tallow, Duck fat – organic, pasture-raised
    • Coconut Oil – organic, extra virgin
    • Red palm oil – organic, virgin

Fats you need to avoid at all costs due to the free-radical damage and inflammation and eventually to chronic disease:

  • Hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated fats/highly processed vegetable oils:
    • cottonseed oil
    • corn oil
    • soybean oil
    • canola oil
    • vegetable oil
    • margarine
    • vegetable shortening
    • trans fats

Including high quality fats as about 30% of your daily food intake will improve your health and increase your overall likelihood of conceiving. Avoid the above listed fats as much as possible and assume any restaurant you go to will be using those oils to cook with unless otherwise specified.

I also mention eating healthy fats in the post I made awhile back called “Prepping for Pregnancy” which I definitely recommend checking out.

Stay tuned for my announcement regarding the 6 week fertility optimization class I am planning which will include more info on healthy fats as well as blood sugar, food processing, and inflammation.

And as always feel free to email me with any questions info@primalempowerment.com.

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