Being healthy and staying healthy is important when you’re trying to get pregnant. In addition to maintaining good overall health, you can also boost your fertility by following a fertility diet. The fertility diet, also referred to as the conception diet, focuses on improving ovulatory function by eating as if you’re already pregnant. Read on to learn more about nourishing yourself to increase your fertility.
What You Should Eat On the Fertility Diet
An unhealthy diet leads to poor health, and when your body lacks essential nutrients, the health of your eggs is also compromised. Whether you want to regain or boost your health, getting ready for pregnancy is one of the best reasons to start eating more healthily.
A More Colorful Diet With Fruits and Vegetables
Eat fruits and vegetables that are rich in glutathione, such as watermelon and asparagus, to improve egg quality. Fill at least half of your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables to maximize the nutrients you need for reproductive health. Kale, in particular, aids estrogen metabolism, and goji berries have phytochemicals that impact fertility.
The best way to cook vegetables and minimize loss of nutrients is to quickly roast them dry and in high temperature, or microwave them with a small amount of water.
Switch Protein Sources
For your fertility diet, increase your plant-protein intake from legumes, nuts, seeds, and algae. This will also further increase your plant-food intake which will reduce your calorie intake and help you maintain a healthy weight for pregnancy.
According to one study, getting 5 percent of total calorie intake from plant proteins can reduce the risk of ovulatory disorders by half. Another study found that women with the highest animal protein intake are 39% more likely to experience infertility.
You can also get more protein from coldwater fish, such as canned light tuna, salmon, and sardines. These are also excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. You can safely include them in your fertility diet twice a week. Eggs are also a great protein source.
Minimize or avoid protein from red meat; but beef with the fat trimmed, pork, chicken, and turkey are okay as they also contain other minerals that support a healthy pregnancy.
Load up on Complex Carbohydrates
Refined carbs, such as white rice, bread, and pasta, are quickly digested and converted into glucose which leads to spikes in blood sugar levels. This increase also prompts the release of more insulin and when there are high levels of insulin in the bloodstream, ovulation may be inhibited.
What you should load up on are complex carbs, which are high in fiber and take the body longer to digest, so they’re not quickly converted into glucose and, therefore, do not cause spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. Focus on whole grains and beans, as these are rich in fiber, as well as B-vitamins and vitamin E, both of which help boost fertility.
Women with hormonal disorders, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) may have to avoid or minimize gluten intake. Gluten has the potential to cause an inflammatory response in the body which creates a less than ideal condition for conception. Implantation may become more difficult and ovulation may also be inhibited.
Know Your Fats
Studies involving women who undergo IVF have found that consuming monounsaturated fats from avocados can increase success rate by three and a half times compared to women who do not consume healthy, plant-based fats during their IVF cycle.
Other sources of these healthy fats include olive oil, grapeseed oil, and nuts. Monounsaturated fats help reduce inflammation, which is important in maintaining regular ovulation and promoting general fertility. It’s important to remember, however, that while these fats are healthy, they should still be consumed in moderation.
When you’re trying to conceive, you should avoid all trans fats, which are found in commercially baked goods, processed foods, deep-fried foods, animal products, and some margarines. Trans fats contribute to higher than normal levels of insulin in the blood which often disrupt metabolic processes and your ovulation cycle.
The Real Deal With Dairy
A fertility diet includes one to two servings of full-fat dairy products or whole milk. You will have to consume less nonfat and low-fat dairy, as high intakes of these products have been found to increase the risk of ovulatory infertility.
On the other hand, you may have to limit dairy intake on a fertility diet if you’re having trouble getting pregnant. Most dairy products today contain artificial hormones which can cause a disruption between your brain and your ovaries. If your doctor does advise that you limit or avoid dairy products to increase your fertility, you will also be advised on the best ways to increase your calcium intake.
Take a Sugar Break
This means cutting down on your sugar intake to help maintain normal blood sugar and insulin levels and hormone balance. Your fertility diet should exclude all sweets and artificial sugars. Artificial sweeteners, in particular, have been found to inhibit ovulation. For your sugar cravings opt for agave syrup, maple syrup, stevia, and other minimally processed sweeteners.
The score on caffeine and alcohol
A few cups of coffee or tea a day, or one to two drinks of alcohol have been shown to have little negative effect on ovulation. These drinks are diuretics, however, and result in dehydration. When you are dehydrated, your mucus membranes also become less moist which, in turn, affects the consistency of the fluid in your cervix.
While on a fertility diet, you should limit caffeine intake to less than 200 milligrams per day, and your alcohol to at most three glasses spread throughout the week.
All processed forms of soy should be avoided while on the fertility diet, as these contain estrogen-mimicking properties which can disrupt hormonal balance and negatively affect fertility. Soy in its natural forms, such as edamame, tempeh, and miso paste, are okay to consume in moderation.
The Fertility Diet – Final Thoughts
It’s important to stay as fit and healthy as possible when trying to get pregnant. Nourish your body with whole foods and limit intake of unhealthy food products. You will be preparing your body to nurture another life, so you must create the ideal environment for this miraculous process by following a fertility diet that suits you best.