Experts used to think that erectile dysfunction was predominantly caused by psychological or neurological problems and whilst that’s true for some men, evidence now clearly suggests that for the vast majority, the issue is worsening blood vessel function. It’s affected by the same risk factors as heart disease and it can be its first indicator. High blood pressure, obesity and smoking markedly increase the risk of both heart disease and erectile dysfunction.
Pregnancy and Fertility
A healthy vegan diet before and during pregnancy helps you have a vivacious and robust baby! Want some proof – see the gorgeous photos of four former Viva! staff, now mums of beautiful, strong vegan kiddies.
Early onset of menarche (the first period) may negatively influence the future health of women – in particular, it has been linked to an increased risk of hormone-related cancers such as ovarian and breast. Some types of food have been implicated (meat, milk, animal protein and fats in general) and to clarify whether soya can play a role, a team of scientists examined this in a high soya-consuming population.
Dangerous environmental pollutants called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were the first industrial compounds to experience a worldwide ban on production more than 30 years ago because of their potent toxicity. However, they are very persistent and therefore still present in our environment. Once in the body, PCBs accumulate in the fat tissue and can cause long-term problems such as reduced infection fighting ability, mental and behavioural problems, decreased activity of the thyroid, reproductive problems, can induce cancer and severely damage the development of a baby.
Soya foods contain phytoestrogens, including isoflavones, which have weak oestrogen-like qualities. Because of this, some people think soya foods can affect male fertility. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this notion. A recent review of all the available research shows that neither soya foods, nor isoflavone supplements from soya, affect testosterone levels in men. This research adds to the large body of evidence supporting the role of soya as part of a healthy veggie diet.
Scientists in Spain have revealed how meat and dairy foods may be linked to fertility problems. This study found that men who ate the most meat and full-fat dairy products had fewer and slower sperm, while those who ate the most fruit and vegetables had higher quality sperm that swam faster. Lead researcher Professor Jaime Mendiola said “…among the couples with fertility problems coming to the clinics, men with good semen quality ate more vegetables and fruit, which means more vitamins, folic acid and fibre and fewer proteins and fats, than those with poor sperm quality”.
A new study from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine shows that the daily consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables can reduce the risk of miscarriage. Researchers questioned 603 women who had experienced a miscarriage in the first trimester, and 6,116 women whose pregnancies progressed beyond 12 weeks. They identified several factors linked to an increased risk of miscarriage including high maternal age, previous miscarriage, low body mass index (BMI), high alcohol consumption and stress.
New research from the Harvard School of Public Health shows that eating oily fish during pregnancy could raise the risk of premature birth. The blame may lie with the high levels of mercury found in some fish. In this research, information was gathered from 1,024 pregnant women on the amount and type of fish eaten during the pregnancy. Hair samples were taken and the amount of mercury in each sample was measured. Results showed that those who ate the most fish, (especially canned fish), had the highest levels of mercury. And women who gave birth more than two w
Drinking cow’s milk increases the chances of having twins. New research published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine reveals that women who drink cow’s milk are five times more likely to have twins than vegan women. The author of the study, Dr Gary Steinman, suggests that the growth hormone IGF-1 may be to blame. Steinman suggests that IGF-1 may survive digestion, enter the bloodstream and stimulate the ovaries. Previous work shows that IGF-1 levels in the blood are about 13 per cent lower in vegan women than in women who consume dairy.
Expectant Mums-to-be can take heart this Easter….according to new research from Finland eating chocolate during pregnancy can make happier, livelier babies. Researchers at the University of Helsinki questioned 305 women before and after they gave birth. The women were asked to rate their stress levels and their chocolate consumption before they gave birth. Six months after the babies were born they were asked to rate their babies’ happiness. They found that women who ate chocolate regularly during pregnancy were more likely to say they had happy, active babies who smiled and laughed more.