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INFERTILITY

The foods consumed and toxins ingested can have an effect on eggs and sperm for up to 90 days ahead which is why it is important to consume foods that only have a beneficial effect and remove toxins three months ahead of the time for a planned conception. Organically grown food and meat from grass-fed free-range animals that contain no chemical pesticides, antibiotics and hormones will greatly improve the chances of conception.

Filtered and bottled water is also a better choice and natural cosmetics and household cleaning products can help to eliminate toxins absorbed by the skin and lungs all of which helps improve fertility. Eliminating chemical toxins from the diet, home environment and the body will greatly improve chances of conception.

See

Changes to the diet can greatly increase the chances of healthy ovulation and sperm production, prevent recurrent miscarriage and support a healthy pregnancy. First and foremost the diet should include foods that support the glands and healthy hormone production. Secondly the bodies of both the potential mother and father should be cleansed and detoxified at least three months before conception is planned. Thirdly unhealthy foods and toxins should be eliminated including alcohol, unnecessary drugs and tobacco, processed foods and synthetic additives and non-organic foods as much as possible.

There are cases of infertility that cannot be rectified naturally such as scarred fallopian tubes due to infection or genetic faults etc. but, in all cases, a nutritious diet can help improve the development and health of a foetus whether conceived naturally or by IVF treatment. The sexually transmitted disease, gonorrhoea, can cause infertility due to the scarring of the fallopian tubes, therefore it is important to use condoms during intercourse to avoid becoming infertile.

 

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MALE INFERTILITY

Inadequate sperm production and quality is one of the most common reasons for male infertility as it decreases the odds of one of the sperms fertilizing the egg for conception. According to the World Health Organization, the normal concentration of sperm is at least 20 million per ml of semen. Fewer than 15 million sperm per ml is considered a low sperm count, also called oligozoospermia. Conception problems are associated with fewer than 40 million moving sperm in the ejaculate.

Oligoospermia can happen due to a wide variety of reasons and contributing factors like hormonal abnormalities, infected semen, infection in the prostate gland, varicoceles (enlargement of veins within the scrotum), damaged sperm ducts, use of anabolic steroids, cigarette smoking, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, toxic chemicals, certain medications, heavy metal exposure and radiation. Even vaginal lubricants tend to be toxic to sperm.

Recent studies indicate that heating of the testicles due to electromagnetic frequencies may also contribute to low sperm count. Thus, habits like keeping a laptop on the lap or a mobile phone in trouser pocket are not advised when trying to conceive.

NATURAL REMEDIES TO INCREASE SPERM COUNT AND MOTILITY

Ashwagandha

A study by Indian researchers Iin2013, found that ashwagandha root extract can significantly increase sperm count, semen volume and sperm motility. The study participants were given 675 mg of ashwagandha root extract in 3 divided doses, daily for 90 days. Plus, this herb promotes healthy testosterone production. It also improves overall health, increases vitality and reduces stress and anxiety.

Method

  • Mix teaspoon of ashwagandha powder, also known as Indian ginseng, in a glass of warm milk.

  • Drink it twice daily for a few months.

  • Another option is to take ashwagandha root extract. Consult your doctor for proper dosage.

Aspartate

Aspartate builds up in the testicles, where it alleviates a rate-limiting step of testosterone synthesis and thereby increases testosterone levels. Foods rich in aspartate are: Apples, apricots, bamboo shoots, beef, buckwheat, cod, egg white, lamb, nuts, oily fish, pine nuts, seaweed, sesame seeds, shellfish, soya beans, sunflower seeds, parsley, peanuts, rabbit, spirulina, tofu, veal and venison.

Korean Ginseng

Korean ginseng, also known as panax ginseng, is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine to help the body adapt to stress. It also can be used to increase testosterone, sperm count and motility to enhance male fertility. It can also help improve erectile performance as well.

Method

Take one to three capsules of 500 mg Korean ginseng daily for at least three months. Always consult a health practitioner before starting this or any other supplement regimen.

Garlic

Garlic acts as a natural aphrodisiac and increases sperm production. It contains a compound called allicin, which boosts the endurance of the sperm and also improves blood circulation. Plus, the mineral selenium in garlic helps improve sperm motility.

Method

Simply include two crushed or sliced garlic cloves in the daily diet. Allow them to sit for 10 minutes after crushing or slicing to enable the chemical reaction that produces the allicin to take place before consuming or cooking them.

Maca Root

Maca root of the black variety can help improve sperm production and motility. It is a popular fertility herb that also helps balance the hormones.

Method

Take 1 to 3 teaspoons of maca root in 2 divided doses for a few months daily. It can be added to a glass of filtered or bottled water, milk or fruit juice, a healthy smoothie or protein shake or just sprinkle it on cereal. As maca root is high in fibre, start by taking teaspoon and gradually increase the dosage over a few weeks.

Moderate Exercise

Studies have found that moderate exercise can help boost healthy sperm production. A 2013 study published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine indicates that the increase in sedentary lifestyle among young men has lead to a decline in the overall quality of semen. The study found that young men who lived a sedentary lifestyle and watched more than 20 hours of television a week had a 50% lower sperm count compared to those who did not watch much TV. Those who engage in at least 15 hours of moderate exercise a week have better sperm quality and 73% higher sperm count than those who do little or no exercise.

Method

To increase the sperm count, do some type of physical exercise for at least one hour a day on a regular basis. Outdoor physical activities (except cycling) as well as weight training are also beneficial.

NOTE: Avoid overexertion can lead to a decrease in sperm count. Cycling, is not recommended as it can place pressure against the scrotum and increase scrotum temperature.

Gokshura

Gokshura, botanical name Tribulus terrestris, is an Ayurvedic remedy to increase sperm count and improve sperm quality as it can enhance hormone levels. A 2012 study by Indian researchers also found this aphrodisiac herb to be helpful in treating oligozoospermia (low sperm count).

Method

Take one to three capsules of 500 mg Tribulus terrestris daily for a few months, but only after consulting a health practitioner.

WHAT TO DO THREE MONTHS PRIOR TO CONCEPTION (MALES AND FEMALES)

Avoid soya beans and products unless they have been fermented, as with miso, because they contain compounds which mimic human hormones and can reduce fertility. Some high-gluten grains such as wheat can affect fertility in those that are sensitive to gluten. Other alternatives exist, See below. Also avoid low-fat products as often sugar and other additives replace the fat that is removed and fat is required for the absorption of many important nutrients. However, most conventional dairy products contain hormones (mostly oestrogen) which can have a negative impact on testosterone levels in men so it is important to only consume organic dairy produce. Sugar should be reduced radically which means many processed foods and soft drinks should be also eliminated. Replace sugar with honey or sweet fruits.

  • Beans, lentils and pulses provide an excellent source of fibre, protein and other nutrients vital to fertility.

  • Berries, citrus and dried fruits like dates, figs and raisins are an important addition to the diet during preconception.

  • Eggs, blue cheese, goat’s milk and plain yoghurt with live cultures provide many nutrients vital for conception.

  • Fibre-rich foods such as amaranth, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, oats, pulses, quinoa, rye, spelt and teff must be consumed at least once a day. Only whole grains should be consumed as refined products lack many vital nutrients.

  • Green leafy vegetables and other vegetables of all colours are important to be consumed every day. Dark coloured vegetables and fruits contain anthocyanins which are important antioxidants and red or orange fruits and vegetables contain carotenoids which are equally important for fertility and a healthy baby.

  • Maca helps to balance the hormones, increase egg health, increase sperm count and sperm health while also being a tonic for the endocrine system.

  • Nuts and seeds are an important addition to the daily diet for improved fertility especially almonds and walnuts and chia, hemp, flax, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds.

  • Oily fish and organ meats should be consumed at least twice a week.

  • Raw juices can provide many vital nutrients especially apricot, banana, beetroot, carrot, celery, lemon, papaya, red grape, strawberry, tomato and spinach.

  • Red krill oil capsules should be taken daily by both males and females.

  • Royal jelly increases egg health, quality of egg and general fertility which is why it is fed to the queen bee in a hive.

  • Watercress is an excellent addition to the diet for improved conception.

NUTRIENTS REQUIRED TO IMPROVE FERTILITY

 

Providing the body with the correct nutrients so that the hormones and reproductive organs can do their job efficiently is very important. Many minerals are seriously lacking in todays foods due to refining and processing techniques and because intensely farmed land-based crops have leeched the minerals from the soil. Therefore, to keep humans fertile the soil must be looked after where we grow our crops. See algae and seaweed are the best natural sources of many important minerals and may be useful to add to the diet of both males and females when trying to conceive.. See Algae and seaweed

 

Click the blue links to find the highest natural sources of each of these vital nutrients.

  • Alpha lipoic acid has been shown to protect the female reproductive organs and improve sperm quality and motility.

  • Carnitine is an amino acid necessary for sperm cells to function normally.

  • Coenzyme Q10 is an important nutrient for every cell in the body. It has also been shown in studies to improve egg and sperm health and is necessary for sperm motility in semen.

  • Copper: A deficiency of this mineral can cause infertility.

  • Fluoride: A deficiency in fluoride can cause infertility.

  • Iron is important for women wanting to conceive because a deficiency may cause anovulation (lack of ovulation) and poor egg health which can inhibit pregnancy at a rate of 60% higher than those with sufficient iron stores in their blood.

  • Iodine deficiency can cause reduced fertility. Seafood including seaweeds and algae such as chlorella and spirulina can help to provide iodine that may be lacking in land-based crops to to growing techniques.

  • Manganese is necessary for the production of feminine hormones. A deficiency can lead to infertility in women.

  • Molybdenum: Eating foods containing molybdenum can help to improve sexual potency.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids regulate hormones, increases cervical mucous, promotes ovulation and improves the quality of the uterus by increasing the blood flow to the reproductive organs.

  • Rubidium can be lacking in the diet and cause hormonal disturbances and infertility.

  • Selenium is an antioxidant that helps to protect the eggs and sperm from free radicals that can cause chromosomal damage which is known to be a cause of miscarriages and birth defects. Selenium is also necessary for the creation of sperm. In studies men with low sperm counts have also been found to have low levels of selenium.

  • Foods rich in vitamin B complex will help to provide nutrients that will and nourish the glands and manufacture the correct balance of hormones. Vitamin B12 has been shown to improve sperm quality and production. It can also help to boost the endometrium lining in egg fertilisation, decreasing the chances of miscarriage. Some studies have found that a deficiency of B12 may increase the chances of irregular ovulation and, in some cases, stop ovulation altogether.

  • Vitamin B9 rich foods must be consumed by the mother to be for three months prior to conception and throughout pregnancy in order to avoid neural and spinal defects in the foetus.

  • Vitamin B10 is useful in the treatment of male infertility

  • Vitamin C is important for all cell functions and cannot be stored by the body so is therefore required daily for improved fertility and must be consumed in similar amounts and at the same time as foods rich in vitamin E.

  • Vitamin D is needed to help the body create sex hormones which in turn affects ovulation and hormonal balance.

  • Vitamin E (tocopherol) is an important antioxidant to help protect sperm and egg DNA integrity and has shown in studies to improve the health and motility of sperm. The name tocopherol derives from the Greek words ‘tocos’ meaning childbirth and ‘pherein’ means to bring forth.

  • Zinc is vital for both male and female fertility. It affects the hormone balance in women and low levels of zinc have been directly linked to miscarriage in the early stages of a pregnancy. In men, zinc boosts sperm levels and improves the form, function and quality of sperm. Zinc is often lacking in those that drink alcohol which forces expulsion of this mineral through the urine.

NOTE: It is only recommended that natural foods rich in these nutrients are consumed as supplements can cause harmful imbalances as they often do not contain the cofactors required for the correct absorption and utilisation of these nutrients. Click the blue links to find the natural food sources of these nutrients.

 

THE NATURE CURES DIET TO IMPROVE FERTILITY

The Nutrients, Minerals, Protein and Fibre pages can help you understand body processes and the natural foods it needs to function correctly. The nutritional value of foods is important.

Stay away from substances that can reduce chances of conception such as:  sugar, alcohol, coffee, medications, artificial additives such as aspartame, pesticides and household and cosmetic toxins.

Try grinding nuts and seeds to a fine powder to incorporate them into the diet.

Visit the Cleanse and Detoxify page to try that regime first which can clear the body of toxins and infection.

Drink one litre of bottled mineral water per day to avoid chemicals additives such as fluoride and chlorine and provide more of the essential minerals the body needs. One glass should be consumed just before sleeping to help the body eliminate waste and toxins from the body and the brain.

Meat and eggs (Three times a week)

Beef (organic lean grass-fed), calf's liver, eggs lambs liver, lamb, poultry and game bird, organ meats, rabbit and venison.

Fish (Three times a week)

Anchovies, bloater fish, carp, cod, eel, halibut, herring, hilsa fish, kipper, mackerel, octopus, pilchards, salmon, sardines, shellfish, sprats, squid, swordfish, trout, tuna (fresh only) and whitebait and all other oily fish. Anchovies are high in sodium so not advised for those with high blood pressure. Deep sea fish and bottom dwelling shellfish can be contaminated with mercury so it is advisable to consume these with some algae, coriander and other green leafy vegetables or sulphur-rich foods which can chelate (bind to) mercury and eliminate it from the body.

Dairy (Yoghurt and kefir milk daily and cheese three times a week)

Kefir milk, non-pasteurised blue cheese and yoghurt (plain with live cultures)

Fibre  (At least one every day)

Amaranth, barley, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, oats, quinoa and teff. Consume one tablespoon of psyllium husks per day in a large glass of water or sprinkled onto meals as it has powerful properties that can support  digestion and excretory processes and will work within two days to fix many colon and digestive issues.

Vegetables (A selection of at least four colours per day meaning all have been eaten at least once a fortnight)

Algae, alfalfa, artichoke, ashitaba, asparagus, aubergine, beetroot, bell peppers (all colours), broccoli, carrot, celery, chicory, collard greens, courgettes, cress, cucumber, daikon, garlic, kelp, marrow, mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, seaweed and spinach, Swede, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, turnips and watercress. Algae, such as chlorella and spirulina, contain many important nutrients and minerals often lacking in land-based crops. Take one tablespoon of one of them per day. Also consume three or four chopped garlic cloves per day. Let them and other allicin-producing plants, such as chives, leeks, onions and spring onions, stand for ten minutes to allow for the process, that produces allicin in these plants when they are damaged, to take place. Allicin has many powerful properties that benefit the health.

Legumes (Three times a week)

Black beans, black-eyed peas, broad beans, chickpeas, legumes, lentils, lima bean, mung beans, navy beans, peas, pinto bean, red kidney beans, soya beans and winged beans.

Fruit (A selection of 2 or 3 colours per day meaning all have been eaten at least once a fortnight)

Apples, apricots, avocado, bananas, berries, cherries, lemons, limes, grapefruit, grapes (black or red), mango, maqui berries, mosambi juice, orange, papaya, peaches, pears, plums, pomegranate, tangerines and watermelon.

NOTE: grapefruit can interact with many medications.

Dried Fruit (As snacks or added to meals daily. Best eaten with a handful of nuts and seeds)

Apricots, dates, figs, goji berries, raisins and sultanas.

Juice (Pure, additive free, unsweetened, preferably home-made - daily as often as required)

Beetroot (raw), carrot, coconut water, cranberry, elderberry, grape, lemon, lime, mango, mosambi, nasturtium (freshly pressed), orange, papaya, pineapple, pomegranate and tangerine. See also Raw Juice Therapy for many raw juicing recipes.

Sprouts (See the Micro-diet Sprouting page to find out how to grow your own then add to meals and snacks daily)

Alfalfa, almond, amaranth, barley, broccoli, buckwheat, cabbage, chickpea, corn, hazelnut, fenugreek, flaxseeds, kamut, leek, lemon grass, lentil, lettuce, milk thistle, mizuna, mung beans, mustard, oat, onion, pea, peanut, radish, rice, rocket, rye, quinoa, sesame, spinach, spring onions, sunflower, turnip and watercress.

Seeds (As snacks or added to meals daily)

Flaxseeds, hemp, nasturtium, poppy, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower and watermelon. Hempseeds provide the correct balance of omega-6 (inflammatory) to omega-3 (anti-inflammatory) fatty acids and should be consumed daily. A handful of pumpkin seeds can be sprinkled on any dish or in sandwiches daily and add many important nutrients.

Nuts (As snacks or added to meals daily. Best consumed with fresh or dried fruits to obtain the correct balance of vitamin C and E)

Almonds (five per day), brazil nuts (2 per week unless excessive sweating, through exercise or fever, has taken place, then eat 2 per day, cashews, chestnuts, coconut, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts (5 per day).

Common Herbs (To be consumed as often as possible daily in meals or as teas)

Basil, cardamom, coriander, cloves, dill, lemongrass, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, safflower, sage, tarragon and thyme.

Medicinal Herbs

Angelica pubescens, borage, burdock root, black seed, cnidium monniera seeds, common stinging nettles, damiana leaves, dandelion, devil's claw, drumstick, elecampane, false unicorn, golden seal, ginkgo biloba, gotu kola, horsetail, hydrangea, Japanese or Chinese knotweed, jasmine, kudzu root extract, huang lian, lavender, liquorice root, lobelia, maca root, milk thistle, motherwort, noni, oatstraw, pan pien pien, passion flower, periwinkle, pine needles, Queen of the meadow,
red clover, rock-rose flowers, saffron, saw palmetto, schizandra, scutellaria, slippery elm, yellow dock root, valerian, and wild strawberry leaf.

Spices (To be consumed as often as possible daily. Can be added to teas also)

Cardamom, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cloves (three ground), cumin, coriander, ginger, Himalayan pink salt crystals, nutmeg, paprika, peppercorns (all colours), sea salt (pure unrefined) and turmeric. A teaspoon of turmeric should be consumed daily due to its powerful healthy compounds. Sprinkle on to egg, fish and vegetable dishes or on brown rice and other grains.

Oils (Cold-pressed only and used to cook with or dress vegetables and salads, especially with foods that contain fat-soluble nutrients, such as carotene, to enable absorption)

Coconut oil, flaxseed, grape seed, coconut oil, olive, rapeseed and a blend of sesame and rice bran oils. Also take one capsule of cod liver or krill oil daily, especially during the winter months between October and April in the Northern hemisphere.

Derivatives (To be consumed and used as desired on a daily basis)

Aloe vera juice, anise seed tea, apple cider vinegar, barley grass (powder or juice), bergamot tea, black strap molasses, brewer's yeast, brine pickles, chamomile tea, green tea, honey, miso, peppermint tea, pine needle tea, tea and tofu. Barley grass is one of the rare plants to contain vitamin B12 so is a useful addition to the diet of those that limit meat intake.

At least one (and ideally many more) natural foods and derivatives should be consumed each day from each of the categories above. Pick one of the six colours of fruit and vegetables to consume daily. Yellow/orange, white, red, green, black/blue/purple and cream/brown. Nature has kindly colour coded natural food for us and each colour provides specific nutrients and minerals in the right balances which are required daily. At least one iron rich green leafy vegetable or herb should be consumed daily.

If appetite does not allow enough consumption, juice them or make teas by steeping them in hot water for 20 minutes, then strain and drink immediately to gain the nutrients without the bulk. Teas can be gently reheated and honey and lemon added to make them more palatable and to add additional beneficial nutrients. See the Nature's Colour Codes page.

NOTE Non-heme iron is found in tea and dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale. However, tea and green leafy vegetables also contain oxalates that block the absorption of iron. To assist the body in the absorption of non-heme iron eat a couple of strawberries, a kiwi fruit or some orange, tangerine or mango at the same time.

NOTE: To benefit from foods containing fat-soluble nutrients, such as the carotenoids in carrots and tomatoes, always eat together with oily foods like rapeseed oil, olive oil, fish, nut or other seed oils or avocado because carotenoids are fat-soluble, meaning they are only absorbed into the body along with fats and can then assist with the manufacture of the essential vitamin A nutrient.

See what to avoid when

  • ll essential oils if pregnant or breast feeding. Also not suitable for children under 5.

  • Allspice if suffering from stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis and diverticulitis.

  • Almonds, cabbage and kale, plums and prunes if suffering from gout, bladder stones, gallstones or kidney stones, joint problems, osteoporosis or thyroid gland problems.

  • Aloe vera, cats claw, dandelion, Echinacea and astragalus if pregnant or breast feeding or have high blood pressure.

  • Angelica (dong quai), cumin, ginger, Japanese knotweed, motherwort and turmeric if taking anticoagulants (blood thinning medication) hormone therapies and contraception or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen, have heart problems and during the first trimester of pregnancy.

  • Chlorella and spirulina if suffering from a seafood or iodine allergy, a metabolic condition called phenylketonuria (PKU), multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. If pregnant or nursing or have hyperthyroidism, consult a healthcare provider before taking spirulina. It may interfere with medications to suppress the immune system.

  • Devil's claw if diabetic or taking blood pressure or blood-thinning medications.

  • Ginseng if pregnant or breast feeding or suffering from asthma, emphysema, fibrocystic breasts, high blood pressure, clotting problems and cardiac arrhythmia

  • Goji berries if taking medication for diabetes, high blood pressure or anti-coagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin or aspirin.

  • Grapefruit can interact with many types of medications, such as statins or blood pressure medications amongst others, by reducing or increasing their effectiveness.

  • Land caltrop can cause foetal miscarriage and must be avoided by pregnant or breast feeding women or individuals with breast or prostate cancer. Excess consumption of land caltrop can cause sleep disturbances and irregular menstruation and high doses may adversely affect the eyes and liver.

  • Linden if suffering from heart disease or are pregnant or breast feeding or if taking diuretics as it could increase the concentration of lithium in the blood.

  • Liquorice root if suffering from high blood pressure, a heart condition, oedema or are taking certain medications such as warfarin or diuretics.

  • Marshmallow herb if suffering with diabetes, alcohol dependency or liver disease or if pregnant or breast feeding.

  • Nettles if suffering from heart or kidney problems.

  • Reishi mushrooms if taking medication for anti-hypertensive, blood sugar lowering medications and anti-coagulants or are pregnant.

  • Rosemary if pregnant or breastfeeding or suffering from high blood pressure.

  • Sage if pregnant or suffering from epilepsy.

  • Scutellaria if pregnant or breastfeeding.

  • Senega root if hypersensitive to salicylates or aspirin or pregnant.

  • Siberian ginseng if suffering from high blood pressure or anxiety.

  • Swiss chard if there is an existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problem.

  • Whole nuts and seeds if suffering from diverticulitis (grind to a fine powder first).

NOTE: Motherwort may be habit forming.

CAUTION: Many herbs are powerful and can react with medications. Always check before taking at the same time as any drugs.

NOTE: Some nutritional yeasts, especially brewer’s yeast, can  also interact with medications. Those who are on Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor antidepressants (MAOIs) medication are especially at risk. It is also best avoided by those carrying the herpes virus as it can induce a attack.

Try to avoid refined and processed foods, any foods with additives such as aspartame, coffee,  fizzy drinks, sugar, table salt (use Himalayan pink crystals or unrefined sea salt), white flour and white rice (choose whole grains and brown or wild rice).

Only eat fruit and vegetables if they are organic because of the risk of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides:

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"Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC

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