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Simple Carbs Are Linked To Infertility, Study Finds

Simple Carbs Are Linked To Infertility, Study Finds

What are simple carbs?

Simple carbs are forms of carbohydrates that are quickly digested and moved into the blood stream as various forms of sugar, usually glucose. Simple carbs are often highly processed. For example, white pasta and French bread are two common foods that are considered to be high in simple carbs. They are made from wheat which has been subjected to refining processes that strip away a high proportion of their natural fiber and other nutrients. Whole grain foods take longer to be broken down by the body and are sometimes referred to as “complex carbohydrates” or “slow carbs.”

You may already know that simple carbs are not good for digestive health. They tend to lack fiber and so relying on them as a primary source of carbohydrates can leave you at increased risk of constipation and digestive discomfort. Ingesting too many simple carbs can also cause blood sugar levels to crash, resulting in symptoms such as irritability, tiredness and strong cravings for yet more simple carbs. Simple carbs also tend to be high in calories yet contain little by way of nutrition, meaning that a diet high in these kinds of foods puts you at risk of unwanted weight gain.

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The link between simple carbs and fertility

In addition to these considerations, there is also a connection between simple carbs and fertility you should be aware of if you are trying to become pregnant. When your body ingests a simple carb, it rapidly breaks it down into sugars. This triggers the pancreas to release insulin so that the amount of sugar in the bloodstream can be regulated.

If you consume simple carbs on a frequent basis, you are likely to have high levels of insulin circulating in your bloodstream. This can impair a woman’s ability to ovulate on a regular basis because insulin encourages the production of abnormally high levels of male hormones in the ovaries. This hormonal disruption can drastically lower a woman’s fertility.

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Research looking at the dietary habits and fertility of 18,000 women carried out by those behind the large-scale Nurses’ Health Study concluded that whole grains, healthy fats and lean proteins are helpful for women looking to get pregnant. Making dietary changes will not help every woman who is struggling to get pregnant, because fertility is caused by a lack of ovulation (also known as “anovulation”) in a quarter of cases. If you have been trying to conceive for over a year and have not become pregnant despite making significant lifestyle changes, it is important to consult with a medical professional in order to uncover the underlying reason behind your infertility. However, a significant minority of women may find that changing the foods they eat may bring them the result they want.

Moreover, eating fewer simple carbs will help you feel more energized in general, which is important throughout pregnancy and beyond. Even if you require additional medical help in order to conceive, eating a healthier diet is always a smart move.

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Make sensible dietary swaps to increase your chances of conceiving

As a first step in improving your diet and increasing your chances of a natural conception, consider swapping your favorite processed carbohydrates for some more wholesome alternatives. Try whole-wheat bread instead of white versions and cauliflower rice in place of white rice, for example.

If you dislike the taste or texture of whole grain foods, remember that it can take time to retrain your taste buds. Start by including whole grain foods with one meal of the day and building from there. If you like to eat toast for breakfast, you could begin by swapping white bread for a whole grain variety. Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet is another great way to control your blood sugar levels and regulate the amount of insulin circulating in your body.

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More by this author

Jay Hill

Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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