FERTILITY PROBLEMS: MEASURES TO PREVENT FOOD POISONING BY TOXINS AND PESTICIDES

•     Buy organic produce whenever possible. (When tested, organic farmers who farmed and ate vegetables without pesticides and chemical fertilisers had almost double the sperm count of men from other professions such as engineers and electricians.)

•     Avoid, as far as possible, food and drinks in plastic containers or wrapped in plastic, especially fatty foods in plastic. This is because xenoestrogens are lipophilic (fat-loving) and will therefore migrate into foods like cheese and crisps. Remove food from plastic packaging as soon as possible. And reduce your own intake of saturated fats.

•     Do not heat food in plastic especially in a microwave oven. (Scientists have discovered that Clingfilm used in the microwave leaches damaging chemicals into the food.)

•     If your vegetables and fruit are not organic, wash them thoroughly. You can buy a wash (like Veggi Wash) from your health food shop which claims to be able to remove farm chemicals, waxes and surface grime. Washing cannot alter the amount of pesticides inherently absorbed into the vegetables. But peeling fruit can lower the pesticide residues by about three-quarters.

•     Increase your intake of fibre – it helps prevent the absorption of oestrogenic chemicals into the bloodstream. Fibre is found in wholegrain, vegetables and fruits (organic ones of course!).

•     Eat more cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower, because they are high in a substance called indole-3-carbinol which reduces the metabolism of oestrogen into a toxic form while speeding up its elimination.

•     Eat phytoestrogens, like soya, which can reduce the toxic forms of oestrogen in the body.

You may be saying to yourself: ‘Why can’t they leave our food alone?’ Unfortunately, the producers’ agenda is never health or safety. It is always financial. But it is important to emphasize that you do have a good deal of control over the food you eat. The British public has been much quicker than the Americans to reject GM foods, forcing the issue out into the open and proving that public pressure does make a difference. For example, in 1989 a chemical called alar that was routinely sprayed on apples was withdrawn after mothers organized a nationwide protest against the suspected cancer-causing chemical. Once you realize what is in the food we eat, you will probably want your family to be protected from the dangers all the time – not just when you are trying to conceive. Get a water filter that can remove a high percentage of oestrogens from the water supply. Some filters can also remove pesticide residues, fluoride and heavy metals like lead.

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