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  • Writer's pictureMalvika Malhotra

Nutrition for Sexual and Reproductive Health

On this occasion of "Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Day", we thought why not discuss on this lesser discussed topic.

Most of us might be aware of several problems and issues related to retrodictive health, but why don't we discuss them openly? Why is there still a hesitation?

Sexual and Reproductive health issues are as serious as Cancer. So let's start being more open about it openly and helping the one's in need. I think spreading awareness is the first way to begin a conversation and become able enough to reach the one's in need.

There are several topics that require a detailed discussion under this topic but today let's discuss about the Nutritional aspect and its affect on Sexual and Reproductive health.

5 reasons why nutrition is important for sexual and reproductive health

1. Foods for a healthy development of sexual and reproductive health

A diet that is well nourished and balanced, comprising of all food groups. Sexual and reproductive health takes a huge turn during adolescent age especially for women as they are usually at high risk of malnutrition and anemia. Incorporating good amounts of both macro and micronutrients are essential, like Carbohydrates - cereals, grains and breads; Proteins - pulses, legumes, lentils, meat; Vitamins and Minerals - Fruits and vegetables; Healthy fats - nuts, seeds, oils, pulses and legumes, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and oils; Milk and Milk products; and most importantly Water.

2. Foods for Healthy Weight

Several research say that being overweight can create numerous problems, be it hormonal or physical. Excessive amounts of fat deposition in the body can cause an imbalance in estrogen levels which can affect the fertility in women and even in women. An imbalance of hormones in the body can lead to several issues like PCOS and anovulation in women and reduced testosterone levels in men. Hence it is essential to keep the hormones and weight in balance and check by including healthy sources of Vitamin E, Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts and Seeds. They also help improving the sexual functions.

3. Foods for improving Sexual Drive (Libido)

Libido is nothing but sexual desire or drive. There are several internal and external factors that have an effect on libido such as, hormonal levels, food habits, medications, sleep, etc. Every individual's libido is different and for most it reduces as the age increases. For the healthy functioning of libido there are certain foods that need to be included in the diet, like

  • figs, banana, avocado, strawberries

  • foods high in antioxidants, chocolate (as it has methylxanthines that help in activating libido)

  • aromatic herbs (garlic, basil, ginkgo biloba) as they help in treating sexual or erectile dysfunction, simulates senses, etc.

On the other hand, an unhealthy diet, increased alcohol consumption and lethargic lifestyle can affect the libido.

4. Food for Sperm and Egg health

The general advice for healthy sperm and egg is a well balanced diet that includes -

  • Fresh and clean fruits and Vegetables on daily basis.

  • Complex carbohydrates like whole grains and cereals.

  • Increased intake of fibrous foods.

  • Inclusion of healthy fats like - seeds, nuts, fish and oils and avoid trans fats.

  • Healthy protein sources - paneer, tofu, lentils, lean meat and legumes.

  • Essential vitamins and minerals - Folic Acid, B Vitamins, Vitamin A, C, E, Calcium, Zinc, Magnesium and Selenium.

  • Inclusion of good amount of water is equally essential for the balance of hormones and removal of toxins.

  • Avoid Processed foods, foods that might have additives, artificial sweeteners, high sugary foods, etc.

5. Foods for Fertility

For a couple to get pregnant, reproductive nutrition matters. It not just increases the chance of conceiving but also have a healthy pregnancy. It is important to include foods rich in Vitamin C, Iron, and Folic acid, to avoid and prevent the risk of birth defects. These essential food groups also help in good development and strengthening of organs.

At the same time it is important to avoid foods that might deteriorate the chances of a healthy pregnancy, like - Processed foods, increased intake of caffeine, excessive consumption of alcohol, high fatty foods, etc.

These five reasons are just some basic yet essential tips that might help to have a healthy sexual and reproductive health. But, in case of any issues related to sexual health, let's not take it lightly. Its ok to open up and meet an expert in the field rather than ignoring the problem or taking advice from a non-expert.

"Every human being is the author of his or her own health or disease"

- Gautam Buddha

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