How to make sure you eat food safely

There are always many opportunities to gather and share food, if it’s during the holidays or in between. Whether you eat in someone’s home, at work, or at a restaurant, it’s important to get educated and be careful about what you eat.

Food poisoning is a frequent occurrence and each year millions of people in the United States get sick from contaminated food. Symptoms of food poisoning may be mild or severe and may include upset stomach, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and dehydration.

Here are some general precautionary measures:

  • Buffets and the Two-Hour Rule: Perishable foods like meats should not sit at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Hot and Cold: Keep Hot Foods HOT and Cold Foods COLD.
  • Cold foods:  should be held at 40 °F or colder.
  • Leftovers:  Don’t forget to discard all perishable foods, such as meat, poultry, and casseroles left at room temperature longer than 2 hours.

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What To Eat When Trying To Get Pregnant

Diet plays a role in fertility, and there are several publications that show just how much a woman’s diet can affect her ability to become pregnant.

Research about Fertility and Diet

Results from the Harvard’s Nurses’ Health Study suggest that the majority of infertility cases due to ovulation disorders are preventable through modifications of diet and lifestyle. This large study followed 17,544 women without a history of infertility for 8 years while they tried to become or became pregnant. Another study from Australia showed that fast food and less fruit in the diet decreased fertility. 

Researchers say that a woman’s diet affects ovulation, and hypothesize that women with healthy insulin levels — the hormone that controls blood sugar — are more likely to ovulate normally. Those who have insulin resistance or diabetes are more prone to irregular ovulation.

In males, research has shown that semen quality in men improves with a “Prudent” diet (high intake of fish, chicken, fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains) as compared to a “Western” diet (high intake of red and processed meat, refined grains, pizza, snacks, high-energy drinks and sweets). 

In addition to diet, research has also shown that less TV swatching and more moderate to vigorous activity were associated with better sperm counts. 

The following was found in a review of studies between the relationship of diet and male fertility:

“..healthy diets rich in some nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, some antioxidants (vitamin E, vitamin C, β-carotene, selenium, zinc, cryptoxanthin and lycopene), other vitamins (vitamin D and folate) and low in saturated fatty acids and trans-fatty acids were inversely associated with low semen quality parameters. Fish, shellfish and seafood, poultry, cereals, vegetables and fruits, low-fat dairy and skimmed milk were positively associated with several sperm quality parameters.”

“However, diets rich in processed meat, soy foods, potatoes, full-fat dairy and total dairy products, cheese, coffee, alcohol, sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets have been detrimentally associated with the quality of semen in some studies. As far as fecundability is concerned, a high intake of alcohol, caffeine and red meat and processed meat by males has a negative influence on the chance of pregnancy or fertilization rates in their partners.”


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Can I increase my chances having twins with a certain diet?

Question: I have a perfect 6-month-old daughter and we will start TTC next month. I will be 37 in August and would LOVE to have twins. I have been eating a diet to increase chances for twins (as well as a boy). My questions are:
1. Many say to wait until as close to ovulation to conceive a boy so we were going to try that. However, will that decrease the likelihood
 of twins? In other words, do you have a better chance of twins if you have sex each of the 5 days of fertility?
2. With respect to diet, how far in advance should you start or is it just during the time TTC/ovulation?

Dr. Amos Answers:

You are asking some interesting questions. There are two different kinds of twins: Monozygotic and dizygotic twins.

Monozygotic twins are twins from a conception with one egg and one sperm. The fertilized egg then spits after conception. Monozygotic twins are also known as ‘identical twins’ or maternal twins.

Dizygotic twins are twins achieved from the conception of two different eggs with two different sperms. These are also known as non-identical or fraternal twins.

There is no way to increase your chances of monozygotic twins. They happen spontaneously in about 1 in 250 pregnancies.

For dizygotic twins, there must be two different ovulations with two different eggs. There is no evidence that you can increase your chances ovulating twice with either food or different kinds of sex. More sex or sex at different times will not make you ovulate more (or less).

Fertility drugs or IVF in-vitro fertilization increases the chances of having twins, but it would not be ethical to increase the chances of twins intentionally because twins are associated with increased pregnancy risks especially premature births.