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Independent health store advice on boosting your fertility

Looking for advice on natural wellbeing? Your local independent health stores can offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise. This issue we speak to Sarah Woodhall from health store Horans in William St, Limerick city

How can I boost my fertility? This is a question that I frequently get asked, both as a nutritional therapist and working at Horan’s Health store. I have always advised anybody on a fertility journey to create a balance in all aspects of their health – this includes diet, exercise and their emotional wellbeing.

The role of diet

When making any dietary changes for boosting fertility, I first look at the individual’s daily eating rituals. I remove foods that inhibit the body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients, and then replace foods that enhance absorption and improve egg quality. Anti-nutrients that I remove are trans and saturated fats, processed sugar, fizzy drinks, excess caffeine, also removing alcohol and nicotine reduces toxin levels.

Once the diet has been changed, I replace and introduce foods that are high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These foods include cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and kale, pulses, lentils, nuts, seeds, beans and quality grains like quinoa.

I suggest including foods that are high in beta carotene like carrots and sweet potatoes, and fruits and vegetables that have a low glycaemic index to maintain blood sugar balance. Fruits that are high in antioxidants such as blueberries and berries are beneficial, as antioxidants protect a maturing egg from damage.

Including omega-3-rich foods enhances fertility and egg quality and reduces inflammation. Leafy greens, spinach, flax seeds and fish such as salmon are all great sources of omega-3, which is an essential fatty acid.

Eating regular meals every three to four hours throughout the day is crucial for blood sugar balancing, which then balances hormones. Water should be filtered, and getting good quality sleep is essential for repair and rejuvenation.

The role of supplements

Purchasing a good quality supplement is a really good investment. Supplementation boosts certain key nutrients and prevents any nutritional deficiencies. For women I recommend you take one with a full spectrum vitamin B-complex, magnesium, vitamin E, zinc, selenium, iron, CO-Q10, folic acid and D3. A male supplement needs to include zinc, CO-Q10, l’arginine, Iron, magnesium, vitamin D3 and a B-complex.

A superfood that I suggest for women is royal jelly. The queen in the hive is the only bee allowed to eat the royal jelly – as a result she becomes the most fertile, producing more eggs and is the only female in the hive that can reproduce.

The importance of stress reduction

Our emotional wellbeing is linked to our physical wellbeing. High levels of stress increases cortisol in the body, which has a direct negative effect on hormones. When the body is in a state of stress or emotional turmoil conception can become less of a priority as the body strives to create balance. Daily stress reduction practices are important at this time.

Low impact and mindful exercise is beneficial in balancing hormones and reducing stress. Movement creates a natural flow throughout and prevents stagnation within the body. Swimming, yoga or walking in nature reduces cortisol and increases endorphins, which relieve stress.

Flower remedies are an amazing addition to your plan. These remedies support your emotional well-being and have the ability to create an energy shift that changes your perception of a situation from heavy to light.

The final advice I always offer to clients and customers is to keep a positive mindset. This is a powerful tool to use. What you tell yourself the body listens to. Replace those heavy negative thoughts with “having a baby is something that happens so easily for me and is part of my human experience”. What you believe and perceive to be true, you eventually achieve.

What’s What and Who’s Who at Horans in Limerick city?

“Horans in Limerick first opened in Roches St, and six years ago we moved into a much bigger premises in William St,” says manager Sarah Woodhall. “We are one of the bigger Irish health food stores. There are 14 Horans health food shops and each has a different clientele.

“We cater for a wide range of customers including women working or at home, athletes, men working in the city, the farming community, teenagers into vegan food, everyone really. Our very first customers still visit us regularly – it’s like we are on a life journey together. We have the personal touch which you don’t get in a big store.

“Most people who come through our doors buy something. These days people are more aware of the chemicals in products and are really waking up to what they are putting into their bodies. We have expanded our vegan range as this has become more popular. You really can’t tell the difference with many vegan products now.

“When you walk into the shop, the right-hand wall is full of supplements – we do a lot of high end products, but would also offer affordable ranges. We are going more into food-based supplements such as freeze-dried food and soya and gluten-free products.

“Our foods include nuts, seeds, grains and flour. A massive seller for us is herbal tea and people seem to be drinking more of it during the pandemic. We offer at least 10 different types of kombucha from Ireland and the UK. We have dairy-free cheese and milk in the fridge and vegan products too.

"Our beauty section is all natural and cruelty-free. We stock skincare products – moisturisers, serums; soaps, shower gels, shampoo and conditioner; hair dye and feminine hygiene products.

“Our cleaning section includes everything you need for your home. All plastic bottles are of natural origin and plant-based. Sales are up on incense sticks and essential oils. People seem to be burning nice things in their home, and drinking herbal teas more.

"We have a loyalty card, take telephone orders and customers can buy from the Horans website"

VISIT: Horans, 73 William St, Limerick
SPEAK TO: manager Sarah Woodhall, shop assistants Amade Kurvink and Iva Yates
CONTACT: (061) 319 405
OPENING HOURS: Current lockdown hours Monday to Saturday 9am-5pm

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