Factors That May Affect Fertility in Women

Recently, more and more couples are experiencing cases of infertility. In the U.S. alone, there are more than seven million couples who are having trouble conceiving. The number of infertile men against the number of infertile women does not have a distinct difference so far. Sperm count is the main culprit behind a man’s inability to have a child. With women, there are several factors that can affect her fertility.

1. Productivity disorders

Lots of women have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, an endocrine disorder that causes lack of ovulation. Those with PCOS have abnormal levels of reproductive and insulin hormones. Menstrual cycles and egg production are often irregular. Women with this disorder can help correct the problem by getting medication and maintaining the right weight through diet and regular exercise.

2. Weight

A fair lot of fertility issues are attributed to weight. Excess fat increases the level of estrogen in the body, which suppresses ovulation. Too little fat in the body lessens estrogen levels, which results to the reproductive cycle shutting down.

3. Diet

Women with unbalanced food intake can experience high infertility risks. To correct the problem, one should foods that are high in healthy fats, low in trans fat. These foods should also be a good source of whole grains and vegetable-based protein. Healthy eating habits will promote normal insulin levels which can help boost fertility.

4. Anemia

Those who lack iron and Vitamin B-12 in their body are susceptible to fertility problems. A healthy diet is needed to fight anemia. Foods such as beans, grains and vegetables are rich in folate. Vegetarians can get their much-needed supply of vitamin B-12 from supplements.

5. Tobacco

Smoking can affect both a man and a woman’s fertility. Aside from the obvious health disorders that one can get from smoking, tobacco can also result to genetic abnormalities in the egg and sperm.

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The 8 Glasses of Water a Day Myth

I hope that this country will have enough of the hospital scandals. For now, let us talk about hospital related matters but focus on what they are supposed to, help people get better.

For as far as I can remember, people everywhere have been advising that we all should consume 8 glasses of water per day as a health measure. There are even followers of the so called water therapy that dictates the consumption of 1.5 liters of water first thing in the morning. The huge volume of water supposedly flushes away all the toxins in our body resulting to the miraculous healing of a number of ailments and overall good health. Copies of the Water Therapy formula have been circulating since email became popular but I know for a fact that it had been in existence probably before the 1970's. There's even this 76 year old regular at the Capitol Golf Club in Quezon City who's been into it for more than 30 years already. He still plays golf every day, hardly refuses a drinking invitation, energetically organizes tournaments and even appreciates the beautiful creatures around him. In short, he is in magnificent health and all of that he attributes to water therapy.

It is therefore a surprise that doctors have recently found no proof that drinking even 8 glasses per day is beneficial. In fact, the study point out that drinking large amount of water reduces the kidney's ability to function. In the end, the research concluded that people should drink only when they are thirsty.

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Is Eating Dark Chocolate Really Good for People's Health?

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Last night, I had a couple of dark chocolate bars, had a really good time and this morning, the newspapers gave me an excuse to further indulge in it. A recent study declares that two chocolate bars per day lower blood cholesterol and systolic blood pressure levels. In detail, bad cholesterol declines by 5.3% and total cholesterol goes down by 2% due to the plant sterols that is added to the bar. The decline in blood pressure, on the other hand, was attributed to the favonols found in dark chocolate.

The study had 49 volunteers with slightly elevated blood cholesterol but normal blood pressure levels divided into 2 groups. One group was fed chocolates with Sterol and the other was given chocolates without it. For 8 weeks, the volunteers' vital signs were monitored and a significant improvement was found in the first group. The newspaper report made no mention of possible weight gains.

Looking further, I stumbled into two articles. One was written by Anne Chekal, a well credentialed professional writer and the other was from Reuters news agency. Both articles referred to an earlier study that made use of just a small bite (6.8 grams or 25 ounces) a day for each volunteer. The research also used the cheapest brands provided that it had at least 50% cocoa. For reference purposes, the quantity used was slightly bigger than a Hershey's kiss. According to the earlier study, the participants registered a marked improvement in blood pressure without weight increase after 18 weeks. They experienced a 3 point drop in systolic blood pressure and corresponding 2 points in diastolic blood pressure without an increase in body weight, cholesterol or blood sugar.

Do we now have enough reason to include huge packs of dark chocolate in our grocery list? My mom who loves that old Philippine chocolate recipe would surely love that. She has been looking for an excuse to buy sweets since my brother has been watching her food intake like a jail guard.

Anne Chekal cautions that trumpeting chocolates as a health food gives most people the impression that it is fine to indulge in it.

However, she quickly points out that an examination of a few brands of dark chocolate showed that 28~30 grams would normally contain 200~210 calories. That is quite alarming for US government records show that an excess of 100 calories per day can possibly result to 10 lbs of weight gain per year. We all know what weight gain can do. Here in the Philippines, a lot of people die from health problems related to excess weight.

The lesson perhaps is that we should read and analyze news reports properly and not to rely on the news titles and what the writer highlights. As pour moi’, a daily dose of chocolates is good but an old saying still applies, “Everything in moderation”.

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