When struggling to conceive, our first thoughts are often of sophisticated diagnostic testing, strong medications, high-tech medical treatments and a lot of dollar signs. But fertility, in its essence, really comes down to a healthy reproductive system, and that can be developed and supported through certain vitamins, minerals and nutrients. After decades of medical research focusing on fertility enhancing technology, scientists have come full circle and have taken another look at how nutrition can improve fertility and support pregnancy. Research has found specific foods and eating patterns can significantly increase your chances of conceiving, and there are also certain foods you should avoid…
Can I Really Increase Fertility Through Food?
There have long been myths passed down through families about foods like oysters and champagne, garlic, ginseng, yams and kelp increasing fertility. While these don’t have much, if any, scientific backing, there are a number of other nutrients and food types that have been proven to assist people trying to get pregnant. A study from Harvard found that whole grains, healthy fats, high-quality protein, and, funnily enough, an occasional bowl of ice-cream, can actually boost fertility. The comprehensive research looked at the diet and fertility of more than 18,000 women over an eight-year period, and discovered that fertility could be improved through diet.
What Is A Fertility Diet?
A natural fertility diet is a way of eating to support your body’s reproductive health. It includes nutrient-dense foods that feed your hormones what they need to function and produce properly, as well as supporting balance, fetal development, egg health, sperm health and blood health. As well as improving your chances of conceiving, a fertility diet provides the nutrients necessary to grow a healthy baby and support your body through pregnancy.
Why Follow A Fertility Diet?
Nutrition is a powerful tool in helping women get pregnant and a fertility diet can help you prepare for pregnancy, boost fertility and support a healthy pregnancy. The building blocks for hormones come from the food we eat, and the antioxidants that help protect the egg and sperm from free radicals make their way into our bodies through food. Eating a balanced healthy diet is fine, but when it comes to eating a fertility diet, that can look very different, so it is important to know what to consume, when to consume it, and what not to consume. Unlike most fertility treatments, following a fertility diet is something that is available to just about anyone, regardless of location, fertility issues, age, time and money.
The Significance Of Breakfast
Research has discovered a link between eating a big, healthy breakfast and an increased chance of conceiving. According to a 2013 study, a high-calorie breakfast can actually increase the chances of women with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) fall pregnant. Researchers found that timed caloric intake could influence insulin resistance and hyperandrogenism in lean PCOS women.
Of the 60 participants, half were given a larger breakfast and smaller dinner (980 kcal breakfast, 640 kcal lunch and 190 kcal dinner) for 90 days, while the other half ate a large dinner and small breakfast (190 kcal breakfast, 640 kcal lunch and 980 kcal dinner). There was a significant decrease of AUC glucose and AUC insulin in the high caloric breakfast group, which meant their resistance to insulin had dropped. The male hormone testosterone also decreased by 50 per cent in the same group. These women also had an increased ovulation rate, improving their fertility, and the sex hormone-binding globulin increased by 105 per cent. No changes were observed in the low caloric breakfast group. Researchers concluded that the amount of calories consumed throughout the day is important for women trying to conceive, but the timing of that caloric intake is even more important, with breakfast being the most important meal.
An Easy Breakdown (Fertility Diet Tips To Live By)
There are a few guidelines to follow when eating a fertility diet and here are some important ones to remember…
Avoid Trans Fats – Trans fats can clog arteries, threaten the heart and blood vessels and threaten fertility, so it’s best to keep these foods to a minimum. Even a small daily intake can increase insulin resistance, which can potentially cause metabolic disturbances and affect ovulation.
Aim For Variety – Think of food as rainbows and try to get as many colors, especially when it comes to fruit and vegetables, throughout the day as possible. On top of that, make your intake of fruits and vegetables abundant every day – taking in as many of them as you can!
Think Fresh – The fresher the food, the better. As food ages, it loses its nutrient density, so when trying to get as many vitamins and minerals into your body as possible, aim for fresh food.
Ditch The Processed Food – Try to minimize your consumption of fast foods and processed foods as much as possible. Avoid them altogether if possible, but if you can’t quite manage that, at least be aware of the amount you are consuming and try to significantly decrease it.
Eat Organic – Where possible, try to eat fresh, organic food to minimize your intake of any additives and chemicals.
Use Unsaturated Vegetable Oils – Coconut, avocado, nut and seed oils are great options because these monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats help improve sensitivity to insulin and cool inflammation, which both benefit fertility.
Eat Vegetable Protein – Cut down a little on your consumption of meat and replace with vegetable protein options, like beans, peas, tofu and nuts. Choosing vegetable protein over animal protein has been found to lessen the risk of ovulatory infertility.
Eat Complex Carbohydrates – Carbs that are high in fiber and digested slowly in the body, like whole grains, vegetables, whole fruits and beans, control blood sugar and insulin levels, unlike easily digested carbs such as white bread, pasta and cakes. High insulin levels are understood to inhibit ovulation, so it is important to keep them controlled.
Drink Whole Milk – If you drink milk, choose full fat instead of skim while trying to get pregnant, or eat a small dish of ice-cream or full fat yogurt every day. These dairy products provide the body with plenty of nutrients to help support your baby’s development, including calcium and vitamin D.
You may also like: