For those couples embarking on the journey through IVF, diet is as important as ever. The foods you eat create a nutritional foundation upon which all your bodily functions are built. Your diet factors in hormone production, semen production, your egg count, egg quality, the quality of your uterine lining, and a whole slew of other fertility-related processes. Therefore, it stands to reason your diet plays a fairly significant role in the success of your IVF treatment, from the start.
Foods that Aid IVF Success
An anti-inflammatory diet is instrumental in IVF success. To that end, minimize the intake of processed foods, fast foods, and sugar. Healthy fats, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and clean proteins such as fish, legumes, and low-fat poultry are all part of an anti-inflammatory diet. Whole grains, omega 3 rich fish, and nuts contribute significantly to a healthy uterine lining. Soy products are fine, and even considered to be beneficial, for women undergoing IVF.
Here are some suggestions to power you through your day while you undergo IVF treatment:
Avocado toast is a healthy, easy-on-the-tummy way to start your day. Simply toast up your favorite whole grain bread, and top with sliced avocado. Not only will you keep the morning munchies at bay, you’ll also get a healthy dose of good fat, and important pregnancy vitamins C, E, and K, along with zinc, riboflavin, magnesium, and folate. Top that toast with a poached protein-rich egg and you’ll make breakfast even more nutritious.
Oatmeal is an easy, on-the-go breakfast that brings the pregnancy boosting ability of whole grain to the table. Top with some fresh fruit and low-fat, or dairy free milk and you have a complete breakfast.
Smoothies fire up your mid-morning slow down more than any coffee drink or donut ever could. Blend antioxidant-rich berries, some folate heavy greens like spinach, or kale, and nuts or wheat germ, yogurt, non-dairy or low-fat milk, and you have the power of nutrients to aid in IVF success. For a cool treat, make your smoothie the night before and leave on your desk until snack time.
Try to center your lunch around whole grains, fresh veggies, and lean protein. A salad of ancient grains like farro, freekeh, quinoa, and kamut, mixed with deep green leaf lettuces, kale, or spinach, sunflower seeds, and a light vinaigrette, served with low-mercury fish, grilled chicken, or tofu, is a delicious way to get all the best nutrients to aid in IVF.
Afternoon is the ideal time to enjoy a nice, healthy helping of fruit. Go for fresh fruits like pineapple, citrus, strawberries, grapes, kiwi, apple and papaya-whatever your favorite fresh fruits. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of chia seeds, sesame seeds, or sunflower seeds, or have some peanut, almond, or soy butter for a healthy fat addition.
Dinner is a great time for an easy-prep “nourish bowl”. Delicious and comforting bowls begin with a foundation of brown rice, or any whole grain you prefer. Top with greens sautéed in olive oil, grilled vegetables, your choice of protein, and a tahini-lemon sauce, or the healthy sauce of your choosing.
These are just a few ideas to get you started on a diet that will improve your odds of IVF success. Of course diet is a huge part of your health, but lifestyle also plays a role in your successful IVF treatment.
A Word About Lifestyle
Lifestyle and diet go hand-in-hand, for the success of your IVF outcome. Obviously alcohol and smoking are counterproductive to your health, and the health of your baby, as are any other recreational drugs. If you’re feeling stressed try some of these healthy ways to cope, today and going forward.
- Talk with a friend, or seek out a therapist who specializes in helping those undergoing fertility treatment. Ask your fertility team for a referral.
- Exercise, especially if you’ve maintained a fitness program for a while. But, as always, check with your physician first.
- Practice yoga and meditation. These ancient arts have calmed and centered people for centuries.
- Treat yourself! Schedule a day at a spa. A little pampering and self-care does wonders for the soul. And don’t leave it at the spa. Extend your feel-good self-care by taking regular bubble baths, schedule therapeutic massages, and learn to listen to your body.
- Say no to outside stresses right now, including family gatherings and other social obligations, volunteering, extra work commitments, and even something as simple as doing the grocery shopping. Learning to say “not right now” is one of the healthiest things you can do for you and your future family.
Do What You Need to Do for You
Eating right and putting the needs of you and your partner front and center are two of the best ways to prepare your body, and mind, for the road ahead. You wouldn’t embark on a journey without packing your essentials and the journey through IVF is no different. Do all that you can to ensure your peak health now and the payoff will be grand.