Dr. Nashat Latib

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Organic eating fertility

FERTILITY

Organic Eating: Beyond a Fad

By Dr. Nashat Latib • June 27, 2023

How it enhances health and fertility for couples trying to conceive

Organic eating has gained popularity and for good reason. Far from being just a passing trend, organic food choices have demonstrated numerous benefits for our overall health and well-being. Here, I will delve into the functional medicine perspective of organic eating, shedding light on how it can improve the health and fertility of couples aiming to conceive. I’ll also explore the dangers associated with consuming conventionally grown produce due to the presence of toxic pesticides, such as glyphosate.

The Functional Medicine Approach

Functional medicine takes a holistic approach to healthcare, focusing on the underlying causes of diseases rather than merely treating symptoms. My role as a functional medicine doctor is to recognize the crucial role of nutrition in promoting optimal health and to address the potential impact of environmental toxins on your well-being.

Organic Eating and Health Benefits

  1. Reduced Exposure to Pesticides: One of the key advantages of consuming organic food lies in its minimal exposure to toxic pesticides. Conventionally grown produce often contains pesticide residues, which have been linked to various health issues, including hormonal imbalances, immune system disruption, and reproductive disorders. By choosing organic, individuals can significantly reduce their exposure to these harmful substances.
  2. Enhanced Nutritional Value: Research suggests that organic foods tend to have higher levels of essential nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These nutrients play a crucial role in supporting overall health, including fertility. Opting for organic food provides an opportunity to nourish the body with vital nutrients, supporting reproductive health in both men and women.
  3. Hormonal Balance: Many conventional farming practices involve the use of synthetic hormones to boost crop yields or increase animal production. These hormones can disrupt the delicate hormonal balance in our bodies, potentially affecting fertility. By selecting organic products, individuals can minimize exposure to these artificial hormones and promote better hormonal health.
  4. Reduction of Endocrine Disruptors: Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are substances that interfere with the normal functioning of our hormonal system. Certain pesticides, such as glyphosate, have been identified as EDCs. Glyphosate, commonly used in conventional agriculture, has been linked to hormonal imbalances, reproductive disorders, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Choosing organic food helps reduce exposure to these harmful chemicals, safeguarding fertility and overall health.

Organic Eating and Fertility

  1. Sperm Health and Quality: Studies have indicated that exposure to pesticides may adversely affect sperm quality, leading to reduced fertility in men. By adopting an organic diet, couples can reduce their exposure to these harmful substances and improve their chances of conceiving.
  2. Female Fertility: Hormonal imbalances and disrupted menstrual cycles can negatively impact a woman’s fertility. The avoidance of pesticides through organic eating can support hormonal balance, potentially enhancing the chances of conception and a healthy pregnancy.
  3. Reduced Miscarriage Risk: Research has suggested a potential link between pesticide exposure and an increased risk of miscarriage. By choosing organic options, couples can reduce this risk and promote a healthier pregnancy journey.

The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen: Making Informed Organic Food Choices

When it comes to organic eating, making informed choices is crucial. Understanding which foods are more likely to be contaminated with pesticides can help prioritize organic options and guide individuals toward healthier food selections. A valuable go-to in this regard is the “Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen” list, which highlights produce with the highest and lowest pesticide residues, respectively.

The Dirty Dozen

The Dirty Dozen is a list of twelve fruits and vegetables that are found to have the highest levels of pesticide residues when conventionally grown. These foods are most strongly recommended to be purchased as organic to minimize exposure to harmful chemicals. The 2023 Dirty Dozen list, published annually by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), included the following:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, collard, and mustard greens
  4. Peaches
  5. Pears
  6. Nectarines
  7. Apples
  8. Grapes
  9. Bell and hot peppers
  10. Cherries
  11. Blueberries
  12. Green beans

By choosing organic options for these particular fruits and vegetables, individuals can significantly reduce their exposure to pesticides, promoting better overall health and fertility.

The Clean Fifteen

On the other hand, the Clean Fifteen comprises a list of fifteen fruits and vegetables that tend to have the lowest levels of pesticide residues. While it is still beneficial to opt for organic whenever possible, these foods are considered to have relatively lower pesticide contamination when conventionally grown. The 2023 Clean Fifteen list included:

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Onions
  5. Papaya
  6. Sweet peas (frozen)
  7. Asparagus
  8. Honeydew melon
  9. Kiwi
  10. Cabbage
  11. Mushrooms
  12. Mangoes
  13. Sweet Potatoes
  14. Watermelon
  15. Carrots

Choosing organic versions of these foods may still offer advantages, such as higher nutrient content, but individuals may have more flexibility in their choices when considering cost or availability.

If you’d like to learn more about what it looks like to work with us, click here to watch our free, on-demand masterclass and discover the proprietary 4R Fertility FormulaTM we use to help you get pregnant naturally or get better results with IVF and IUI.

Striking a Balance

While the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists provide valuable guidance, it’s important to note that the lists are not exhaustive, and pesticide usage may vary. Additionally, the lists focus on produce and do not account for other food products, such as meat or dairy, which may also contain pesticide residues.

To make the best organic choices, consider factors such as personal health goals, budget, and availability. Prioritizing organic options for the Dirty Dozen foods is a wise approach to minimize exposure to harmful pesticides. For the Clean Fifteen, you may have more flexibility in choosing organic or conventional options, depending on your circumstances.

Conclusion

Organic eating extends beyond a general commitment to healthier food choices. It involves being mindful of the potential pesticide residues present in conventionally grown produce and taking steps to minimize exposure. The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists serve as valuable references, helping individuals prioritize their organic food selections and make informed decisions.

By opting for organic versions of food, you can reduce their exposure to pesticides, supporting overall health and fertility. While the Clean Fifteen foods have lower levels of pesticide residues, choosing organic alternatives whenever possible remains beneficial.

Ultimately, adopting an organic eating approach should empower couples to make choices that support their health, fertility, and overall well-being. If you are looking for functional medicine support in your journey to pregnancy Click here to watch our on-demand webinar, where we reveal the 4R Fertility FormulaTM we use to work with our clients. If what we share sounds good, we invite you to apply for a spot in our high-touch, individualized group program that has over an 80% success rate in helping couple conceive naturally.

References

  1. Food Revolution Network. (n.d.). Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen: 2021’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Retrieved from https://foodrevolution.org/blog/dirty-dozen-clean-fifteen
  2. Environmental Working Group. (n.d.). EWG’s 2021 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/
  3. Environmental Working Group. (n.d.). EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php