When you’re starting, or adding to, your family, you begin to make healthier choices regarding your lifestyle. Wine with dinner becomes water, or non-caffeinated tea. Fruits and veggies begin taking the place of doughnuts and chips. You may change up your exercise routine, and opt for wholesome date nights instead of party-filled late nights.
Many women, as well as their partners, realize the relevance of what goes into their bodies, food wise, and opt for healthier, cleaner, whole foods over processed, or fast food. But, there may be some necessary tweaking even to the cleanest of diets when you’re trying to become pregnant-especially while you’re undergoing fertility treatment.
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Harvard researchers have found a diet that is heavy in processed foods (lunch meats, pre-packaged foods, for example), red meats, simple carbs (including potatoes), sweets, and sweetened beverages, have a negative impact on both female fertility and the quality of the man’s semen. Avoiding many of these foods on a regular basis is wise in order to maintain good health, but becomes even more necessary when trying to boost your fertility.
The healthiest diets for those couples trying to conceive involve meals centered around whole foods, that is foods as close to the source, unrefined, and non-processed as possible. Eating foods such as those found in the Mediterranean diet, lean meats, fish, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and dairy, has proven beneficial to fertility in both men and women.
The Best Foods to Eat When You’re Trying to Conceive
Different foods fuel your body-and your reproductive ability-in different ways. Here is a list of the best foods to boost your fertility, whether you’re trying to conceive naturally, or via IVF, these foods will help.
- Fruits and Vegetables: The cornerstone of any healthy diet, fruits and vegetables offer myriad nutritional benefits. The vitamins and minerals contained within the rainbow of nature’s bounty offer amazing fertility benefits. For instance glutathione, found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, as well as asparagus and a variety of melons, may improve the overall quality of your eggs.
- Plant Based Fats: Certain fats, in moderation, are an excellent addition to any fertility diet. Consuming healthy monounsaturated fats found in nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, and grape seed oil, helps to reduce inflammation, which has a direct impact on your fertility. Adding these fats to your diet during IVF can improve your odds for success. Skip the trans-fats altogether as high amounts can trigger ovulatory disruptions.
- Whole Grains: The good carbs found in whole grains can help you in so many ways when you’re trying to become pregnant. Whole grains are slyer to digest, helping you maintain blood sugar and insulin levels. Whole grains contain B vitamins, vitamin E, and soluble fiber, all of which promote healthy fertility. Some studies suggest a correlation between gluten and hormonal imbalances. If you suffer from hormone-related issues, such as PCOS, try grains such as quinoa, amaranth, and millet.
- Protein: If you’re looking to boost your fertility aim for more plant proteins, such as beans, nuts, tofu, lentils, seeds, and quinoa. High amounts of animal protein in the diet can result in inflammation, which is anti-fertility. Limit your consumption of red meats, and fatty meats, opting instead for lean cuts of beef, chicken, and cold water fish. Protein-rich eggs are a great source of choline, which is necessary for healthy brain development in utero.
- Dairy: You should aim to consume 1-2 servings of full-fat, or low-fat dairy each day. Avoid fat-free dairy while you’re trying to become pregnant as dairy fat has proven helpful to fertility. You and your partner, should up your intake of yogurt. Not only are the probiotic benefits instrumental in the health of your future baby, but semen quality is improved as well.
What Should You Avoid?
In addition to cutting out processed foods, you should absolutely ditch the sugary beverages like sodas, excessive coffee (you can still have 1-2 cups of coffee per day!), and energy drinks. Watch your intake of fruit juices as well because they can be high in natural sugars, which disrupt your insulin and cause spikes in blood sugar. Skip the artificial sweeteners as well, including the so-called healthy ones. The cortisol response can interfere with ovulation.
Processed foods of any kind should be avoided as much as possible, however processed soy foods, such as bars and powders, need to be put away for a while. The soy isolates, found in large quantities in processed soy, mimic estrogen and create a hormonal imbalance. Make sure your partner avoids these products as well, as they can cause a testosterone imbalance.
A Healthy Future
Whether you’re trying to boost your fertility in hopes of conceiving a baby, or not, eating a healthy diet is always a good idea. Maintaining a lifestyle free from harmful substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, and recreational drugs, an overabundance of highly-processed foods, or unlimited sugar-laden treats, along with moving your body, helps to improve your quality of life, which is important to you and your growing family.