Fertility health benefits
of organic food
What is organic food? Discover the benefits of organic food products, and how this healthier diet can positively influence our reproductive health!
You are what you eat is a classic well known phrase!
However, do you know what's actually in your food? Most of us think that if we just eat our fruit and veges, that's all we need to stay healthy. That's a good start for sure!
We need to look a little deeper into those extra unknown substances that we're inadvertently putting into our bodies, and the harm they can cause. Our food is being tampered with in a variety of ways which we'll discuss. This is where the benefits of organic food come into the picture!
For example, chemicals used in modern agriculture have become an astronomical industry (food is a business after all). Unfortunately these synthetic compounds are actually poisons! Pesticides have been used since the 1940's – 50's. Today 2.3 million tonnes of pesticides are used every year, with 75% of that use in developed countries. Although there are regulations for the maximum residue levels (MRL) on food, there's still great concern for our health.
Food industry is affecting our fertility
Coincidentally, did you know that fertility levels have been decreasing over the last 60 years - since humans started playing around with our food sources! Reproductive problems seem to be rife with both genders. Our modern diets are a main culprit. The human body isn't coping!
One area where fertility problems are evident is with dropping sperm counts! Numerous research worldwide has confirmed this dramatic decline. Sperm quality (motility, shape, and DNA damage) is also worsening statistically. This is certainly alarming!
The sperm count of an average male today is reduced by as much as half, compared to their grandfathers back when they were the same age!
How are these added chemicals, hormones, and manipulations in our food going to effect our future generations? Measures must be taken and education is the first step. The benefits of organic food are... going back to what Mother Nature intended us to eat. The foods we consume today are incredibly different compared to what our grandparents were eating back in their day!
Scientific evidence is also confirming that built up toxins in either parent can influence their future offspring. DNA damage from the sperm cells or ovum (female egg) can increase the risks for birth defects. This genetic irregularity can also be a contributing cause of health problems later in their child life, including serious diseases such as cancer.
Benefits of organic food include reducing the amounts of synthetic substances entering the body. This detoxification can help re-balance reproductive hormones that are essential for optimal fertility and reduce the risks for pregnancy complications.
Research - A well known study, found that members of the Danish Organic Farmers Association had more than twice the sperm count as a group of blue collar workers (welders and printers). Published in the Lancet - 1994, volume 343, page 1498, Abell A. – Ernst E. and Bond J.P. This certainly demonstrates the benefits of organic food and lifestyle!
Thinking about trying for a baby soon? Now is also the time to think about a
plan, before you attempt to conceive. There are other areas to investigate, which will help you prepare for a baby, physically and mentally. Recommended reading for every couple!
What is organic food?
The definition of organics is food that has been produced naturally without the use of -
- Synthetic fertilizers
- Growth hormones
- Genetic engineering
- Various substances added to food before sale
This applies for fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds/grains, as well as meats, seafood, dairy, poultry, and eggs.
Fortunately diet is one area that we can be pro-active towards!
Organic farmers are more aware of our environment. Crops are grown in soil which is rich in organic matter, and they are routinely rotated to keep the soil in top condition and disease free.
Knowing that animals are raised without the use of unnecessary drugs or hormones is one of the benefits of organic food. These can later be passed onto humans through consumption. Organically raised animals don't suffer the disturbing side effects from these unnatural concoctions. Animals are fed only organic feed, as toxins store in fat tissue. Generally the animals are treated more humanely and are healthier than from conventional industries.
There are now also organically processed or minimally processed foods becoming available because of increasing public awareness. These products are manufactured without the use of artificial preservatives and additives (such as coloring or flavors) or other questionable chemicals. Other advantages of organic products are less sugar, salt, and fat. Many processed foods are just empty calories.
We'll discuss these subjects in more detail. You'll soon see the health and fertility benefits of organic food!
Xenoestrogens – Agricultural sprays
Xenoestrogens are synthetic molecules that mimic the estrogen hormone. Estrogen is an important sex steroid present in both males and females. These chemicals are also known as hormone or endocrine disruptors.
A major source of these xenoestrogens are found in pesticides, fertilizers, and other sprays used in conventional agriculture.
These chemicals upset the body's hormone balance by causing an overload of estrogen (as even small amounts eventually add up)! The imbalance that results can alter how the reproductive system functions, leading to fertility problems or infertility. False hormone messengers are contributing towards the rising rates of estrogen dominance diseases in men and women.
Estrogen dominance diseases include -
- Prostate cancer
- Gynecomastia (male breast enlargement)
- Low sperm count and reduced sperm quality
- Breast cancer
- Uterine fibroids
- Uterine cancer
- Cervical dysplasia
- Endometrial cancer
- Menstrual irregularities
- Plus many other health and reproductive disorders
Xenoestrogens also pose a risk to fetal or child development. Babies are now being born with higher estrogen levels in their bodies than what's considered normal.
Research - Dr. Erin M Bell and colleagues conducted a study while at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health (U.S.) regarding pesticide spraying and fetal death. They found a slight increase in fetal deaths due to congenital anomalies when women were living within one square mile of where a pesticide application had occurred. The first trimester is the most vulnerable for a fetus, especially during weeks three - eight when the organs are forming. Epidemiology - 2001;12(2):148-156.
Conventional fruits and vegetables may look pretty, but that's what the marketers want you to notice (looks aren't everything)! They don't advertise what chemicals and methods were used on the produce.
Pesticides are also believed to lower the human immune system, reducing the level of white blood cells and lymphocytes (which we need to kill bacteria and viruses). Just washing your produce doesn't completely solve the problem. Chemical residues can sometimes be detected under the skin of fruit or veges.
This is a widespread problem in today's society, but still a relatively new area of research. Discover more about xenoestrogens and other
environmental health hazards
that can affect our fertility health. Learn how you can help protect yourself and your family from these threats!
Included in the benefits of organic food - no toxic chemical substances!
Also a source of xenoestrogens - Meat/dairy
Animals are given hormones to accelerate their growth, and reduce the amount of feed and resources required. This of course makes the livestock industry more profitable. This practice first started in the U.S. in 1956 with beef stock. The use of growth hormones is now becoming widespread around the world. Measurable amounts of growth hormones can be detected in meat and milk, even with regulatory amounts being administered.
Here's one well known example of how our food is being tampered with. In 1993 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of a genetically engineered bovine growth hormone called rBGH (Monsanto). This hormone increased milk production by 10 – 20%, or in some reports as high as 40%. Cows became more susceptible to mastitis (udder infections) risking pus in the milk.
It's been reported that by 2008 a third of American dairy cows were being injected with rBGH. This hormone has been linked to human hormone irregularities, breast, prostate, and colon cancer!
The U.S. and Canada use six anabolic steroids on beef cattle. Three natural steroids are used which are estradiol, testosterone, and progesterone. The other three are synthetic estrogen compounds. These hormones are used in different combination's.
Looking after the future health of our children is among the important benefits of organic food. It's known that the human fetus is extremely sensitive to the exposure of sex steroids, as are young children. Studies suggest that food containing growth hormones may be putting our future generations at risk of infertility!
Research – The University of Rochester Medical Center (U.S.) researchers found an association between women's high beef consumption whilst pregnant, and lower sperm counts in their sons. The study was to examine the relationship between growth hormones and other chemicals found in beef. Men who participated in the study had their mothers complete questionnaires regarding their prenatal diets. The 387 men involved had successfully impregnated their partners at the time of the research.
♦ From the men whose mothers had the highest beef consumption (seven or more meals a week) almost 18% had sperm counts classified as sub-fertile (20million/ml or lower) by the World Health Organization.
♦ In contrast, men whose mothers had a much lower beef consumption, had an average 24% higher sperm concentration, and only 5% could be classified as sub-fertile.
♦ The average sperm concentration of the men went down as their mothers beef intake went up. Although sperm production occurs in many stages, the most important development for this process occurs while in the mothers womb.
Shanna H. Swan PhD (director of the Center For Reproductive Epidemiologe) at the University was the lead author of this study. The research findings were published online in the Journal Human Reproduction - March 28, 2007. This study was part of the government funded Study For Future Families which was a multi-center project, supported by the National Institute of Health.
Growth hormones are starting to be used on other animals besides beef and dairy cows. The New Zealand public were outraged when a member of their Green Party discovered in 2002, that a highly controversial genetically engineered pig growth hormone had sneaked into their country unannounced! This hormone wasn't even approved by the American FDA.
No hormones in your dinner - the benefits of organic food just keep getting better!
Animals have been fed antibiotics in their food for over 20 years worldwide. Antibiotics are fed to animals regardless if they are well or sick, as a preventative measure against bacterial infections that may occur.
It's believed that the drugs are being used carelessly (overuse) resulting in the emergence of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. Therefore this is now increasing the animals risk of becoming infected with bacteria. In turn, these disease causing organisms can then be passed onto humans through handling the contaminated food sources.
Evidence is accumulating that antibiotic residue in animal produce is also causing humans to become resistant to some of our important antibiotics. More and more cases are reported every year of people suffering from antibiotic resistance bacteria.
Denmark banned the use of antibiotics in animal feed and started phasing it out in 1995. The amount of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the animals has dropped dramatically since then.
Avoiding antibiotics - more health benefits of organic food!
This is where scientists have altered/manipulated the genes/DNA within the cells of organisms. Genes from one species are crossed with genes from another species to create new genetics.
This was first discovered in 1972 by Herbert Boyer (Biochemist) and Stanley Cohen (Professor of Medicine) in the U.S. This was hailed as a great scientific breakthrough for the medical field. Scientists then progressed onto experimenting on our food? Yes, EXPERIMENTS! How this is done and the methods used are scary!
Genetically engineered (GE) food was first put out into the public market in the mid 1990's for human consumption. Genetically modified crops and products are becoming widespread around the world. In the U.S it's estimated that 70% of processed foods contain some genetically engineered ingredient!
Here are a few examples of (GE) -
♦ Monsanto's Round up (herbicide) resistant soybean crops. This enables the soybean plants to withstand large doses of this toxin, which would normally kill such a crop. This company also owns the herbicide.
♦ Fish (Artic flounder) genes have been crossed with the genes of a tomato, enabling the new species of tomato to grow during winter.
♦ Several countries are experimenting with crossing human genes with cow genes to create milk with human proteins.
Genetic modification is known to use antibiotic resistance genes as selectable markers during the engineering process. These genes are present in the growing plants that we consume. This may also contribute towards antibiotic resistant super bugs.
A majority of people don't want to be eating this Frankenstein food (as it's nick named)! This type of food is totally unnatural, and we don't yet know how the human body is going to react, as the long term effects are unknown!
Significant benefits of organic food - not participating in GE, or encouraging this immoral practice!
This is when food is exposed to ionizing radiation to kill off any pathogens or insects (or in some cases sterilize the bugs) Irradiation also lengthens shelf life. This process is used in over 40 countries on plant and meat products.
This method doesn't kill 100% of microorganisms. Therefore there's the risk of certain pathogens becoming super resistant to the radiation.
Irradiation breaks up the molecules and natural digestive enzymes within the treated food, whilst producing free radicals (cell damaging to humans). Put simply, it damages the foods DNA. With the enzymes broken up, this makes the food harder for humans to digest. Food that has been irradiated can lose an estimated 10 - 80% of vitamins depending on the dose of irradiation and length of storage time!
There's also concern that when food is radiated, reactions can occur with other trace residual chemicals (for example pesticides) and this creates new chemicals classed as radiolytic products (URPs). Some say that irradiation is used to counteract poor hygiene standards.
The safety of irradiation on food is based on insufficient studies. Since the late 1980's authorities worldwide have been debating back and forth deciding on acceptable irradiation doses. The long term effects of consuming irradiated food on our health is again not known.
Another of the superb benefits of organic food - knowing that your meal still has all its natural vitamins and enzymes, which we need to stay healthy!
So hopefully the benefits of organic food are be becoming quite clear for you by now! But there's one thing that's very often overlooked. You may be surprised at what may be lurking in your drinking water! Pesticides, other various chemicals, and heavy metals can be found in our water supplies. Therefore the use of a home water filter to avoid all those contaminants is critical to our health (and fertility). You should be drinking approximately eight - 8 ounce glasses of water daily. An organic diet wouldn't be complete without a good water purifier!
Potential environmental problems
Other benefits of organic food are protecting the environment that we live in. Spray drift from agricultural chemicals are ending up in our atmosphere, soil, and as mentioned above water. This isn't good news! By supporting organic farming, you are actually promoting a cleaner, healthier environment. This would certainly benefit all wildlife and plants!
Some of the concerns regarding genetic engineering are that these man made creations could produce unknown toxins and human allergens. Birds, insects, or wind, could carry and spread the seeds of modified plant species - and who knows what may result. There's the risk that unwanted mutations or other mystery species may be created through cross pollination. One worry is that many good existing crops (major food supplies) may end up becoming extinct. Playing around with nature often ends in disastrous results!
Some family farmers have had genetically engineered plants just mysteriously ending up amongst their crops. Strange, as these farmers fields had been sown with the same seeds that had been passed down for generations. The big Corporations who have patented these GE seeds (or the genes) have then gone on to sue the farmers!
The benefits of organic food
✔ You can be certain you are eating food that's free of chemicals, hormones, genetic modification, antibiotics, irradiation, or additives! The importation of food from other countries is big business, but you can't know for sure about their practices (better to play safe).
✔ Your body can start to naturally detoxify!
✔ By introducing organics into your home, you are also looking after your family.
✔ The benefits of organic food also include more flavor. People who have converted to an organic diet, say they can taste the difference!
✔ What about expense? Some people complain that organic produce costs too much. What price do you put on your health? By looking after your body now, you can help avoid developing future health conditions.
✔ Because of the known health benefits of organic food, why don't you experiment growing some of your own (from organic seeds of course)! This can be very rewarding, and you can save a little money.
✔ Big corporations are taking over. Additional benefits of organic food include supporting your local growers. Shop around until you find a good store or market with a range of organic foods to choose from. Look for foods that are labeled as organically certified.
✔ You'll be doing your part in helping the environment and our future generations.
What is organic food? Natural and healthy is the easy answer to that question! It's no wonder the popularity of organic food is rapidly growing, with sales rising at a rate of 20 percent each year.
In the 2009 movie FOOD,INC. there's a phrase that stands out. To grow faster, fatter, bigger, cheaper! This was used to summarize the way of modern agriculture. How true!
The benefits of organic food are enormous! Organic food can help prospective parents keep their bodies clear of unknown substances and toxins (every little bit helps)! Many cases of unexplained infertility have been resolved after converting to an organic diet and a healthier lifestyle. This change will also promote a healthy start for a growing new life! Why would you put yourself through all those unnecessary health risks?
Eating natural food is a positive step, the choice is yours. Start now!
The benefits of organic food - ensuring your health!
Return to top
Fertility health Home page