The Holiday Season is here! ‘Tis the time to enjoy with family and friends. And how can enjoyment be complete without food? While you are trying to boost your chances to conceive with a regimented lifestyle that includes a healthy diet and exercise, the celebrations may throw a wrench into the works.
The trying-to-conceive path is usually not the one with a lot of compromises. While the holiday season is one of our favorite times of the year, women going through the TTC process cannot afford to exercise their full liberties and hence overindulge during celebrations and get-togethers. However, if they plan their diet for fertility, females can still make the most of the holiday season and enjoy the love and warmth of near ones without disturbing their schedule.
Importance of a ‘Fertility Diet’
Up to 15% of couples struggle with infertility. Numerous lifestyle choices that have an impact on both men’s and women’s reproductive health have the potential to cause infertility. The age at which one aims to start a family, the sources of nutrition, weight control, physical activity, mental distress or chronic trauma, tobacco, alcohol and recreational drug use (or abuse), prescription drugs, caffeine or other psychoactive stimulant consumption, environmental and occupational exposure, etc. are aspects that affect fertility.
The Fertility Diet is a concept that has gained a lot of interest in recent decades since the idea was first crystallized from the The Nurses’ Study. The conclusions drawn from the study have given us certain dietary principles that can boost fertility and overall health. When you are trying to conceive, most experts advise you to eat as if you are pregnant already. This can actually help the body to prepare for conception.
Even though many parts of life cannot be changed, lifestyles, attitudes and habits can. There are a number of organic strategies to boost your fertility among which is diet. In essence, altering one’s diet and way of life might increase fertility.
How to Maneuver Your Way Through the Holidays?
While you navigate through your plans to stick to your diet schedule during the holidays, it is worthwhile to note that the production and quality of eggs can be affected by changes in BMI. In order to best prepare your body for pregnancy or other pregnancy-related therapies, it is crucial to maintain a healthy weight. So how do you ensure that you enjoy and still not overindulge during festivities? We have some tips for you.
BYOF – Bring Your Own Food!
While you control what you serve if you are throwing a party, you can bring your own food when attending parties at other places. With this, you can enjoy it without constantly worrying about under or overeating. With healthy alternatives to traditional recipes, we are sure even other diners will want to have a taste of what you bring. Salads, cauliflower rice, sautéed green beans, and roast veggies are a few delicious food choices.
Another way to keep a check on what and how much you eat, try to have a hearty, substantial lunch to help you resist harmful temptations. Protein-rich foods will give you a feeling of fullness (satiety). Same is the case with full-fat dairy products. Not only will high-fat dairy make you feel full, it is known to increase fertility.
Don’t forget your supplements of folic acid and multivitamins on top of your balanced diet.
Check Your Carb Intake
Excess carbs can easily increase your weight. But you also need carbs to provide your body with energy. So how do you balance this? While choosing your carbs, choose whole grains rather than sugary foods and processed carbohydrates since they can have a negative effect on your ability to conceive.
Foods high in simple, refined and processed carbs have been connected to decreased female fertility. Such carbs not only spike your blood sugar levels, they can also affect your hormones and create an imbalance. They will also increase your blood insulin levels, which is necessary to regulate blood glucose levels. Consistently higher insulin levels can result in insulin resistance. The endometrial cells in the woman’s womb (uterus) may be affected by this hormonal imbalance, which may interfere with ovulation, and lead to inflammation in the body, which may hinder conception and the development of a healthy pregnancy.
Consuming too much sugar and refined carbohydrates have also been associated with decreased semen quality in men and higher risks of infertility. Women who consume more trans fats, processed carbs, and animal proteins have a higher risk of ovulatory infertility.
Ensure that fresh fruits and vegetables make up half of your plate at every meal. They supply a wide variety of nutrients including antioxidants, vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B12, and calcium, among others. Don’t forget to add watermelon and asparagus as they provide the body with a plentiful supply of glutathione, a nutrient crucial for egg quality. Another superfood veggie is kale which has nutrients essential for the metabolism and synthesis of estrogen and is considered among the best foods for fertility.
Choose High Protein Foods
Protein-rich foods not only provide essential nutrients but also help control appetite and reduce cravings. If you are choosing animal protein sources, add more chicken and fish, instead of red meats. Beans and lentils are great sources of vegetable proteins. Additionally, protein and good fats build up necessary hormones and have an impact on the chemicals in the brain that stimulate and improve mood. Fatty fish are rich sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids that are a known fertility booster.
You should not have to feel as though you need to restrict yourself and forgo all the wonderful holiday meals you have been anticipating throughout the year; yet, be careful not to overindulge. Enjoy small bites of the foods you like to eat most rather than an all-or-nothing strategy when you are dining. During a substantial meal, indulge in a few small amounts without feeling guilty. Whether it’s filling, gravy, sweet potatoes with marshmallow toppings, or your preferred pies and desserts, pick something you know you’ll enjoy and yet be able to portion control.
Say No to Alcoholic Beverages
Alcohol is not only harmful to the developing fetus during a pregnancy, but it also has an effect on your fertility levels. Excessive drinking also has an effect on male fertility – it can diminish sex desire, cause impotence, impair sexual performance, and have an adverse effect on the quality of sperm. Women who drink four or more standard drinks each week are also more likely to have issues with their ability to get pregnant. Ovulation, menstrual cycle regularity, and reproductive hormonal secretion including estradiol, testosterone, and LH, which are vital while attempting to conceive, can all be negatively impacted by alcohol.
While celebrating, choose alcohol-free options, but try not to indulge in sugary mocktails.
Besides Diet, Don’t Forget Your Workout Routine
You must not let your fitness routine lapse during the holidays! Even though it’s typically the first thing to go when we’re overloaded with obligations and social engagements, consistent, moderate exercise has been demonstrated to increase female fertility and conception rates. Exercise helps treat disorders like PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), which can negatively influence your odds of conceiving, in addition to helping lower the risk of miscarriage and reduce the likelihood of ovulatory infertility. It can also regulate menstrual cycles to increase your probability of conceiving.
A woman’s body’s regular cycles, including ovulation, can be disrupted by a lack of sleep. Schedule time for at least seven hours of sleep every night.
As the Holiday Season approaches, even the most devoted women have conflicting emotions about their dietary behavior. The stress, pressure, and overindulgence associated with seasonal feasting can be bad for your wellness, especially if you are adhering to specific and controlled dietary choices all year round in order to efficiently prepare yourself for healthy conception. You may, however, reduce stress and enjoy your time with friends and family this holiday season by following the tips and sticking to your routine.
At Reproductive Health and Wellness Center, we advise you to not overthink and just be in a healthy state of mind to enjoy this festive time with the people you love and care for. For what use is trying to stick to a schedule if you are not in a great mental space? Let go of conflicting emotions, and appreciate the fact that some indulgence is okay for the body and great for the mind. Healthy eating and enjoying the festivities can coexist. The trick is to enjoy this time and let the happy hormones flow.
If you are trying to conceive unsuccessfully, are struggling with infertility, considering fertility treatment, or exploring assisted reproductive technologies like IVF (in vitro fertilization), contact a fertility specialist at RHWC 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.