Diet and fertility are now trending subjects, and years of evidence have found that foods do impact fertility, both positively and negatively. So if you are planning to get pregnant, you might want to look at a fertility diet plan to boost your chances of conceiving.
Is There a Fertility Diet Plan?
The idea of foods impacting fertility, in both men and women, has been well-established. The idea crystallized after data was analyzed from the three Nurses’ Health Studies – a four-decade-long prospective cohort study with over 120,000 registered participants.
The basic principles of the Fertility Diet are as follows –
- Eating more plant-based protein
- Avoiding trans-fat and using more unsaturated vegetable oils
- Choosing complex carbohydrates like whole grains and shunning simple carbs (sugary drinks and sweetened snacks)
- Consuming whole-fat dairy every day
- Take folate and multivitamin supplementation
- Get enough iron from foods
The fertility diet works in conjunction with healthy lifestyle habits that include starting an exercise regimen, avoiding caffeine, recreational drugs, tobacco and alcohol, and aiming for a healthy weight.
Getting Pregnant: Fertility Diet Plan
Let’s break down the principles of the fertility diet plan to give you details on what to eat, why, and what to avoid.
Proteins are a major structural and functional macronutrient of our body. They are also vital in making eggs and sperm. While trying to get pregnant, choose more plant sources for this important nutrient. Beans and lentils are not just rich in proteins that support better ovulation, but also contain fiber and folate that is essential in maintaining a good hormonal balance. Additionally, lentils have high quantities of polyamine spermidine, which is thought to assist in the fertilization of eggs by sperm.
If you want non-vegetarian protein, choose salmon. Salmon is universally acknowledged as a fertility all-star due to its abundance of omega-3 fatty acids, which help maintain the health of your reproductive system and keep you in the best possible condition; its high protein content; and the fact that it is nearly devoid of mercury that is found at high levels in many other fish. When you are trying to conceive, salmon is a far healthier option than red meat, which, because of the large amount of saturated fat it contains, may make it more difficult for you to become pregnant. The Mediterranean Diet also recommends poultry.
Choosing Healthy Fats
Moderate consumption of healthy fats from plants is an essential recommendation of the fertility diet. Saturated fats from nuts, olives, and grapeseed oil has been shown to reduce inflammation that is vital to improving ovulation and fertility in women.
Snacking on nuts like avocados and almonds also provides other benefits. Avocados are loaded with nutrients such as vitamin K and potassium that help your body in a variety of ways, including the absorption of vitamins, the management of blood pressure, and more. They also include monounsaturated fats and high levels of dietary fiber and folic acid, both of which are known to be essential in the first stages of a woman’s pregnancy. Almonds are rich in zinc, vitamin E and L-arginine, vital to the health of the reproductive system, making them one of the best nut options for boosting fertility.
Choose Complex Carbs
Eat more complex carbohydrates and less highly processed foods to improve fertility. Refined carbohydrates found in cookies and white bread are rapidly absorbed and metabolized by the body into blood sugar. The pancreas secretes insulin into the bloodstream to bring down the surge in blood sugar, and research suggests that elevated insulin levels can hamper ovulation.
Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains are examples of complex carbohydrates, which are absorbed slowly and have a more progressive influence on blood sugar and insulin levels. Fertility-boosting nutrients like vitamin E and B vitamins can be found in abundance in grains that have been minimally processed. Insoluble fiber, found in abundance in whole grains, seeds and vegetables, is a source of nutrition for the gut microflora. A healthy gut flora population is important for a healthy metabolism and fertility.
Roasted sunflower seed can be consumed during mid-meal hunger pangs. They are rich in vitamin E and loaded with vital nutrients like folate and selenium, which are both fertility boosting nutrients. Additionally, they are an excellent source of omega-6 fatty acids.
Choose Whole-Fat Dairy
When trying to conceive, consuming an adequate amount of calcium is of the utmost significance, yet, not all forms of calcium are made equal. The calcium that is included in skim milk and other types of milk with a lower amount of fat does not absorb as well as the calcium that is present in whole-fat dairy products. Additionally, whole milk is a rich source of both protein and vitamin B12. Low-fat dairy has also been found to increase the risk of ovulatory infertility in women. While choosing dairy products, ensure that they come from sources that do not use hormones and antibiotics in the animals.
Take Folate and Multivitamin Supplementation
Before becoming pregnant, all women should take folic acid supplements to increase the amount of folic acid in their bodies, which will provide the fetus with the best possible protection from neural tube disorders like spina bifida. Ovulatory difficulties can also be avoided with a daily folic acid intake. Doctors recommend taking 400 micrograms of folic acid daily beginning two months before attempting to conceive and continuing until 12 weeks into a pregnancy.
Pregnant women also benefit from the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) provided by vitamin supplements. Supplementing your diet with a high-quality multivitamin will ensure that you acquire all the necessary nutrients that you might not get from your diet.
Get Iron from Natural Sources
Eat green leafy vegetables and fruits that are rich in iron. Iron is required to reduce the incidence of anemia which reduces fertility and also makes pregnancy difficult. Adding veggies and fruits to the diet also helps in getting enough antioxidants that keep metabolic processes going smoothly and reduce oxidative stress. Fruits in the citrus family, such as oranges and grapefruits, are among the most abundant natural sources of vitamin C, one of the best antioxidants. Grapefruits and oranges both include polyamine putrescine, which has been found to increase egg and sperm quality in certain animal studies. The antioxidant compounds and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients found in raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries have also been found to boost fertility in both men and women. All three types of berries include these components. The risk of infertility was much lower among women who consumed a lot of fruit.
Best to Avoid These
Certain foods and lifestyle habits need to be avoided while attempting to get pregnant.
When attempting to conceive, it may be best to drink coffee and tea in moderation (rather than cutting them out entirely). The caffeine in these drinks is a diuretic, which means it can dry up your mucous membranes and alter the composition of your cervical mucus, making it harder to conceive. Reduce your caffeine intake by substituting low-caffeine, decaf, or herbal teas into your regular routine. Caffeine levels in green tea are lower than in coffee or brewed black tea of the same volume.
It is well accepted that alcohol use should be avoided by couples trying to conceive, as it affects both sperm quality and ovulatory function. Heavy drinking has been linked to a decline in fertility and fetal alcohol syndrome.
Research shows that large amounts of soy may have a detrimental influence on fertility, thus it may be wise to minimize soy powders and energy bars from your fertility diet. Large amounts of soy protein isolate, say some experts, may have estrogen-mimicking qualities and throw off your hormone balance.
A Healthy Lifestyle Leads to Better Fertility
A healthy metabolism is vital for all biological processes to work smoothly. Fertility is no different. Fertility levels are usually high in a body that is healthy and that follows healthy lifestyle habits.
We have discussed the role of a healthy diet in enhancing your chances of getting pregnant. But apart from a good meal plan, you must also start a moderate exercise regimen, and stay active and fit. Aim for a healthy BMI as obesity and being overweight can play spoilsport in your efforts to achieve pregnancy.
Apart from all this, it is also desirable to manage your stress and be in a good mental space. Try meditation, yoga and stress-relieving activities to stay fit, both mentally and physically.
At Reproductive Health and Wellness Center, we are strong proponents of a holistic strategy to enhance fertility, apart from using state-of-the-art assisted reproductive technologies to help you in achieving a successful pregnancy. We believe that natural processes are helpful in assisting you to conceive and we start off by creating a customized plan for every client as each case is unique.
To experience the best services of a fertility clinic in a boutique setting, contact our fertility specialist today.
At Reproductive Health and Wellness Center, we are experts at treating fertility issues. We provide the latest in cutting-edge embryo science by using the latest technologies, and we create innovative fertility plans tailored specifically to each individual. But we’re so much more.