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“About Experts, Nutrition and Expectant Parents”

What we should know about our diet

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Nutrition also plays in the fulfillment of a wish for a child an important role and is a key factor in maintaining good health (for more information, see our BLOG post “You are what you eat”).
In a recent interview with the American nutrition expert, David L. Katz (Professor of Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine) published in the ZEITmagazin, the subject has been discussed at length.
How we can grow old in good health can be summarized under a few headings:

Anyone who has a poor diet, does not take physical exercise, is overweight and is a smoker lowers their chances of leading a long and active life.

This might be compared to the chances of conceiving a baby, since unhealthy lifestyle patterns may impair fertility both in women and men. An example: When it comes to sperm quality, oxidative stress is mainly responsible for damages to the sperm cells (25-60 % of DNA damage).
Smoking, infections or alcohol consumption have a triggering effect on this kind of stress. The formation of oxidative stress can be counteracted by a healthy lifestyle, physical fitness and the right diet, thus improving fertility.

But what is meant by the “right nutrition”?

David Katz puts it in nutshell: “Eat vegetables, eat fruit, eat whole grain products, avoid convenience food and only eat moderate quantities of sugar, meat or dairy products.” If we were to adhere to these rules, it would be unnecessary to publish any additional books, guidebooks, articles in magazines on the topic of nutrition.
But as long as there are otherwise reasonable people who actually believe in a “miracle cure” helping them to lose weight without having to do something for it, one “slimming cure” will follow another and people will continue gaining weight, as is actually the case in Europe and especially in the US (e.g.: 52 % of adults in Germany have a BMI >25; see article SPIEGEL.de).

In some regions (so-called “blue zones“, e.g. Ikaria – Greece; Okinawa – Japan), people have a particularly long life expectancy. These zones are characterized by the fact that their populations practice a similar lifestyle – they eat a plant-based diet, their nutrition contains only a small portion of processed foodstuff, they do not smoke and walk a lot, they experience less stress and get enough sleep. They live in a society where there is a strong sense of togetherness and mutual understanding.

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Just a few more facts on nutrition
  • It is healthy to choose not to eat any meat, but it is every bit as healthy to eat the right kind of meat (meat obtained from wild animals or animals mainly feeding on grass, such as cows, sheep and goats).
  • Be aware of sausage products (salami, mortadella), as they are high in fat and salt.
  • Convenience food is very rich in sugar (pasta sauces, salad dressings etc.). If you avoid these “hidden sugars”, you can without worries eat a piece of cake from time to time. The same applies to salt, since many processed products are rich in “hidden” salt.
  • What is the recommended daily fluid intake? The most frequently recommended fluid intake of 3 liters can be considered as pure invention. The general rule of thumb can be followed here that you should urinate every three hours and your urine should be pale and virtually odorless.
  • And last but not least, fanaticism is not suitable when it comes to eating and drinking habits.


→ more articles concerning this topic in the Special »Supportive care in fertility treatment«
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