We’re learning more and more everyday about the role nutrition plays in lifelong good health. In fact, a healthy diet, along with exercise, and living in a way that takes care of our bodies instead of stressing them, is the very foundation of physical, and emotional, well-being. Nutrition is at the root of all of this, as it feeds our bodies, providing the fuel to successfully do all that you need to do in a day.
As your body depends on good nutrition for optimum performance, so does your reproductive system. Although there is no one diet recommended for improved fertility, it can safely be said that a diet devoid of necessary vitamins, minerals, essential protein, and fatty acids-those nutrients we all need to be our best-will do nothing to encourage healthy fertility, and may cause health issues that could prevent, or impede, conception.
Creating Fertile Ground
A steady diet of fatty, sugary, and processed foods can seriously affect your overall health, including your reproductive health. These foods have been linked to inflammation within the body, which can make it much more difficult to conceive, and, once conception occurs, inflammation makes it difficult for the fertilized egg to implant into the wall of the uterus.
Obviously, a diet filled with these empty calories, and lacking in nutritional support, isn’t a wise idea, especially when you’re attempting to become pregnant. Eating this type of “junk food” at high levels can damage your fertility, no matter what your weight. But, regularly consuming high-calorie/low-nutrient foods can lead to obesity, which only complicates your fertility.
Weight and Fertility
Obesity has a direct impact on the fertility of both women and men. For women, the excess adipose fat can affect hormone production, leading to interruptions in your menstrual cycle, making it difficult to conceive. For men, being overweight can impact the quality of sperm, and the ability to maintain an erection. The fuel you put in your body contributes to the success of every bodily function.
Being underweight also interferes with your fertility. Those women who are below a healthy BMI take much longer to conceive than those of a healthy weight. Just as being overweight can cause hormone production to become out-of-whack, so can being underweight. When you’re overweight your body produces excess estrogen via the fat cells. For those who are underweight, the body can’t produce enough estrogen, which can cause problems with your menstrual cycle, and even stop your periods altogether.
Rule Out Other Issues
The best course of action, for anyone who is struggling with fertility, especially for those who are over-, or underweight, is to have a physical, to ensure the issue is related to lifestyle, and not an underlying medical cause. This includes your partner. There are several conditions which can cause you to be under-, or overweight, and may, in fact, also make it difficult to become pregnant.
Nutrition and A Healthy Lifestyle are Key
Once you’ve been found medically sound, it’s time to work on lifestyle changes. Both you, and your partner, should avoid alcohol, get regular aerobic exercise, even a 30 minute walk, 5 times per week, and begin changing your diet to lots of lean protein (white-meat poultry, seafood, soy, lentils, beans), leafy green vegetables, whole grains, and minimal amounts of healthy fats.
If your fertility issues lead you to IVF, it’s especially important that you begin making your nutrition a priority. The journey to having your child can be stressful at times. You want to be your healthy best and ready for baby.
Beneficial to Your Health and Your Baby’s Health
It can be a challenge for some couples, or individuals, to give up their Friday night pizza and beer, sweet treats, and juicy burger, but, in the long run, your health will benefit exponentially. Keep in mind, what you’re feeding yourself is what you’ll be feeding your growing baby. For more information on fertility and diet, go here.