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Things to know when trying to conceive at 40

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Getting pregnant at the age of 40 is probably more common than you may realise, though it is a fact that the body faces some unique challenges during pregnancy as a woman ages.

However, if you are trying to conceive at an older age, you need to be aware that even though fertility declines naturally as you age, it is possible to get pregnant after the age of 40.

If you are still having your periods, there is a chance you can get pregnant, although you have a much lower chance of conceiving naturally once you celebrate your 40th birthday than earlier in your reproductive years.

There is about five per cent chance during your menstrual cycle that you might get pregnant naturally once you are 40 years old. Compare this to a 25 per cent chance per cycle when you were in your 20s, when your fertility was at its peak.

There are many reasons for the decline in the success rate of pregnancy after 40. The rate of miscarriage is about 40 per cent after the age of 40. This can be due to many reasons, but the biggest reason is that there is a higher chance of genetic abnormality in each egg.

As a woman, your ovarian reserve also decreases over time, meaning you have fewer eggs left by the time you turn 40. The story around eggs is one that has been told several times. When you were born, your ovaries contain all the eggs that you would ever have – about a million in total. This number declines as you age because you typically lose about 30 immature eggs daily. And it’s not just you; this is what every woman of reproductive age experiences.

By the time you reach puberty, your ovaries would contain around 300,000 eggs; and by age 30, you are down to 100,000. At 40, you would have no more than 20,000 eggs left, and these are more than enough for your fertility needs.

Your ovarian reserve can be tested with a blood test called the Anti-Mullerian Hormone test. AMH is a hormone produced by the follicles in your ovaries where egg cells develop. This declines throughout your reproductive lifespan. The lower your AMH number, the fewer eggs remain in your ovarian reserve. But the AMH test result doesn’t tell anything about the quality of the remaining eggs.

The percentage of normal eggs that every woman has decreases as she ages. After age 40, the percentage of genetically abnormal eggs increases. This means that even if those eggs are fertilised, the pregnancy may not end in a live or genetically normal baby.

Clinically, at age 25, a woman has approximately 75 per cent normal eggs. By age 35, that number drops to around 45 per cent, and by 40 years, it’s around 20 to 30 per cent. This is one reason why most physicians recommend genetic testing for abnormal conditions in women pregnant after 40 years.

Besides naturally declining fertility, another challenge you can face as a woman that is over 40 is that you may have been diagnosed with other conditions which can cause pregnancy complications and/or more difficulties getting pregnant. You are at risk if you are obese, hypertensive, diabetic or have thyroid disorders, fibroids and endometriosis.

If you have other medical conditions, you should make sure your physician is aware that you are trying to conceive so that they can optimise your health appropriately to prepare for the pregnancy. A preconception counselling appointment with your regular gynaecologist can help pinpoint areas for improvement and give you personalised recommendations.

Remember that help is available if you haven’t got pregnant. Your fertility specialist can assist with fertility issues, so do not overlook a consultation with a specialist on the options available to you.

Health

Cough, dry skin, fatigue… See dangers of eating cold food

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For whatever reasons,some people love cold foods and for them, a meal is incomplete without a cold drink.

Chiefly, cold meals are not foods that should become a habit; they should be eaten on rare occasions and determined by the room or body temperature.

They do more harm than good in the body;

Damage the spleen

The main components of the digestive system is believed to be the stomach, small and large intestines however, Chinese medicine believes that the stomach and spleen are the main components of the digestive system.

According to Chinese medicine, cold and damp foods can damage the spleen hence the spleen’s function in aiding nutrients absorption can be severely diminished.

This is because the body is regularly exposed to wet and cold foods and lack of proper absorption can put off balance virtually any of the body’s systems, making the body prone to diseases.

Expend more energy from the body

Taking in cold foods is like giving the body extra work to do as the body has to expend some energy to warm up the cold foods.

The body needs calories to warm up the cold food and these calories are taken from the ones already stored up in the body.

The process equally demands some energy from the body for proper digestion and to combat illness.

Expose the body to illness

Health issues like fatigue, cysts, tumours, bacterial infections, coughs, catarrh, dry skin, excessive bloating amongst many others could be developed if cold foods are excessively eaten.

This is because when cold food is ingested, the body counteracts the temperature difference in order to make available a suitable environment for these enzymes in the stomach necessary for digestion to function well.

Phlegm is formed in the lungs when cold food enters the oesophagus, which lowers lung function and capacity because the cold food encounters the warm vaporized fluid in the lungs.

Furthermore, phlegm formed in the lungs blocks the free flow of energy that travels through the body; the danger of this is person’s ability to maintain a normal temperature.

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Food

Five health benefits of ofada rice

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Ofada rice is a local variety of rice grown in the southwestern part of Nigeria, particularly in Ogun state. It is believed to have been named after Ofada town, where it was first cultivated.

It is unpolished rice that is highly sought-after due to its unique flavour and taste. Ofada rice is traditionally boiled and served in a leaf with a spicy sauce filled with locust beans popularly called Ayamase.

This local rice is filled with lots of nutrients ranging from zinc, potassium, calcium, iron, vitamin B1 and more.

Here are some of the health benefits you would enjoy when you add it to your diet.

Aids digestion
Ofada rice helps improve the digestive system and makes digestion easy due to the dietary fiber present in it.

A study has shown that Ofada rice contains more phosphorus and fiber in raw, cooked, and soaked states than imported rice.

These nutrients also help in reducing the risk of bowel disorders, constipation, bloating, and other gastrointestinal cancers such as gastric ulcers.

Prevents neurodegenerative disease
Ofada rice improves cognitive reasoning and prevents neurodegenerative diseases — health conditions that affect the neurons like Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.

According to a study, the content of Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) found in germinated brown rice like ofada helps calm the nerves thereby preventing these diseases.

Lowers bad cholesterol level
Ofada should be added to your diet if you want to let go of those high cholesterols due to their selenium content.

Low cholesterol in the body means a healthy heart which eventually leads to a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Ofada also helps keep diabetes in control. A study has shown that its low glycemic index controls blood glucose levels thereby reducing the risk of diabetes.

Strengthens the bone
There is a great amount of folate, zinc, magnesium and phosphorus in ofada. All of these nutrients play important role in building and maintaining healthy and strong bones in the body.

Ofada is also recommended to avoid bone-related diseases.

Aids weight loss
Replacing white rice with ofada can help you lose weight. Yes, it can because it is a low-calorie and gluten-free food and also contains high fiber levels.

These nutrients help increase your satiety and prevent you from consuming excess calories that can make you gain weight.

To learn how to prepare ofada rice, click here.

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Health

Studies say these 7 drinks can help you lose weight

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Are you trying to lose weight? You’re not alone. While there are no particular drinks that can make you shed instantly, certain beverages can keep you satiated for longer and prevent you from consuming excess calories throughout the day.

There are also certain drinks we take in — particularly sugar-sweetened beverages — which account for unnecessary calories in the body which lead to weight gain and unfavorable health effects.

Here are some low-calorie drinks you should incorporate into your diet to achieve your weight loss goal.

Water

Increasing your water intake is one of the easiest ways to improve your overall health.

Water has no calories and also tends to fill you up so you don’t overeat.

According to research, taking water before a meal helps you cut down on calories and lose weight.

Drinking enough water has also been proven to increase resting energy expenditure — the number of calories you burn while resting — by 24-30% in just 10 minutes.

Also, a 2019 study found that increased water intake and replacement of caloric beverages with water result in a loss of 5.15% in body weight.

So henceforth, ditch those caloric drinks and sip water.

Coffee

Due to the caffeine in it, most people take coffee to improve their mood and energy. However, it can also help in weight loss.

Drinking coffee has been shown to decrease appetite and calorie intake while also increasing the number of calories you burn while resting.

However, adding creamer, milk or sugar increases coffee’s calorie content, which can cancel out the weight loss benefits.

So drink it black or with lower-calorie additions like almond milk.

Protein shakes

Protein shakes or smoothies are drinks or beverages that are high in protein content.

The protein content in these shakes and smoothies curbs hunger; promotes fullness, and decreases appetite, which is quite important when trying to shed some pounds.

A study also found that protein drinks increase the level of hunger-reducing hormones and decrease ghrelin, a hormone that increases appetite.

Whey, pea, and hemp protein powders are some types of drinks you can add to your diet today to lose those calories.

However, while getting them, make sure to check the product labels in order to avoid getting the ones with too much sugar.

Black Tea

Black tea is great for weight loss due to the high content of antioxidants — called polyphenols — present in it.

A study has shown that the polyphenols found in black tea promote weight loss and reduce the risk of obesity.

It found that it reduces calorie intake, stimulates fat breakdown, and boosts the growth of healthy gut bacteria.

Ginger Tea

Ginger is mostly known to be a spice and a herbal remedy for some conditions like nausea and cold.

However, some studies have proven that it has beneficial effects on weight loss and also cardiovascular health.

Due to its antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and a compound called gingerol in ginger, it can improve blood sugar and reduce bad cholesterol.

Ginger tea also reduces appetite and increases the number of calories needed to digest and absorb food.

Green Tea

Green tea is rich in two powerful antioxidants — catechins and caffeine.

These antioxidants, according to a study, are beneficial to weight loss as they help increase fat burning and boost metabolism.

Vegetable juice

It is generally known that eating vegetables is beneficial to health. However, turning them into juice also help lose weight.

Taking vegetable juice will reduce carb intake which will eventually lead to the loss of significant calories.

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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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