Why Ovulation Problems Occur and How to Prevent Them

Just to make sure we’re all on the same page in terms of sexual health, here’s a quick sex ed lesson: every month, your ovaries are meant to release an egg from the follicles as part of the reproductive cycle, and this is known as ovulation. The ever-changing balance of your hormones – such as oestrogen and progesterone –  is the trigger behind ovulation. However, for many women this doesn’t always go to plan, which can have a negative effect on your entire wellbeing. But why does it go wrong for some women?


If your diet is largely made up of processed and highly refined fats and carbohydrates, your ovulation wellness suffers. Moreover, there are hormones the mimic oestrogen, known as xenooestrogens, which are also thought to interfere with normal oestrogen functioning. This is especially the case with the synthetic xenoestrogens found in chemical-based cleaning, hair- and skincare products, and fertilisers and pesticides used in conventional farming. Additionally, soya products, such as soya milk and tofu, are high in phytoestogens, and so should be eaten with caution. While these plant oestrogens are good for you in moderation, you should not eat soya products more than a couple of times a week. However, eating the right foods can be a great complementary wellness tool for improving your ovary health.


1. Wholegrains: Foods such as barley, rye, spelt, freekeh, brown rice, millet and amaranth can bolster your ovary wellness, partly due to their high-chromium content. This leads us nicely onto…


2. Foods high in chromium: Aside from wholegrains, this means foods like sweet potato, corn, seafood, apples, oranges, bananas and veggies such as tomatoes, broccoli, onion, spinach, garlic, basil, lettuce, chilli, green capsicum, beetroot and mushrooms. Chromium makes up a key component of your ovary health, as is helps your body to fight insulin resistance and control sugar cravings.


3. Dark leafy greens: Spinach isn’t just high in chromium, it’s also packed with calcium, vitamin C, folate and magnesium. Other nutrient-full dark leafy greens to watch out for include Asian greens, beet and turnip greens, rocket, kale and parsley.


4. Quinoa: Although it was known as “the mother grain” to the Incas, quinoa is not actually a grain but a seed from a herb that grows at very high altitudes. However, while that’s very nice to know, the only thing you need to remember is that quinoa is chock-full of protein, calcium and fibre. If you’re new to quinoa, simply use it as you would rice.


5. Flaxseeds: These seeds have anti-inflammatory properties, meaning that they act as an antidepressant and even aid you in weight loss. When it comes to ovulation, however, flaxseeds really shine, providing your body with hormone-balancing lignans and phytoestrogens (plant sources of oestrogen). These components help to stabilise your ratio of oestrogen to progesterone, which helps regulate the ovulation process.


6. Kale: Although it has already had a mention under the “dark leafy greens category,” kale is so good for your ovary health that it deserves a special mention. Not only does this superfood have more antioxidants than any other vegetable; it’s loaded with calcium, which plays an important role in the maturation of your eggs and follicle development in the ovaries.


7. Seeds: Sesame, sunflower and poppy are a great source of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium and fatty acids. While that’s great for your general health and wellbeing, these seeds are also packed with zinc, which is known to aid reproductive health.


8. Liquorice root: High testosterone levels can be a sneaky culprit behind normal ovarian functioning, but liquorice root has been shown to reduce testosterone. However, you should avoid excessive amounts if you are on blood-thinning drugs or have any heart condition.

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