Plant Based Diets: Good for your heart, your health, and your womb

beans-338288_1280
beans-338288_1280

Meatless Monday, an awesome campaign reincarnated almost 12 years ago, has done quite a bit to increase the popularity of vegan, vegetarian, and "flexitarian" cuisine. The campaign itself has a fascinating history which dates all the way back to World War I (1). Since then we have learned a plant based diet has the potential to make a fantastically positive impact on our health and maybe even our fertility. The official Meatless Monday website gives the following reasons to consider adopting a more plant filled diet: "Because going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. And going meatless once a week can also help reduce our carbon footprint and save precious resources like fossil fuels and fresh water. (2)"  What they didn't mention is getting more protein and iron from plants is a great way to increase fertility.

If you recall from my second post (click here if you haven't had a chance to read it or need a refresher) two of the tips were to turn vegetarian sources for protein and iron to up your chances of getting pregnant. Two separate articles showed the benefits of getting these nutrients that we usually associate with eating our fine feathered, furry, and scaly friends from grains, legumes, fruit, and vegetables instead. The researchers of Iron Intake and Risk of Ovulatory Infertility found women who got more of their iron from iron rich plants, like beans, peas, sunflower seeds, nuts, and dark leafy greens, had a lower risk of ovulatory infertility.

In the other study, Protein intake and ovulatory infertility, researchers found interesting relationships between vegetable protein, animal protein, carbohydrates, and fertility. When researchers tinkered with the data to simulate replacing 5% of total calories originally from carbohydrates with animal protein the risk of infertility went up; when they did the same with plant protein infertility went down. They then simulated replacing animal protein with plant protein, once again the risk of infertility was reduced. If you are looking for ways to use this information to change your eating habits, consider adding beans, lentils, seeds, and nuts to your diet.

Meatless recipes to come!

1. The Monday Campaigns, Inc. (n.d.). History. Retrieved January 5, 2015, from http://www.meatlessmonday.com/about-us/history/

2. The Monday Campaigns, Inc. (n.d.). Why Meatless? Retrieved January 5, 2015, from http://www.meatlessmonday.com/about-us/why-meatless/