Get ready to spice up your grocery list because we’re talking about the nutrition you need to boost your fertility! Whether you’re trying to conceive or simply want to improve your reproductive health, eating right can make a big difference. So put down the chips and grab some nuts, because we’ve got an expert-endorsed guide to the foods you should add to your diet for a better chance of conceiving.
“Nutrition is a key factor that plays a key role in female fertility. It is important to maintain a healthy weight and eat a nutritious diet to improve fertility and ensure a smooth pregnancy,” says Dr. Astha Dayal, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Chief Consultant at CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram. In addition to prenatal vitamins, there are certain dietary changes that can help improve fertility outcomes.
The vitamins you need to boost your fertility
We’ve all heard of the pregnancy or post-pregnancy diet, but it’s also important to be aware of what you eat before pregnancy. Here’s something prenatal vitamins which should be taken at least 3 months before conception if you are planning to become pregnant, says Dr. Dayal:
* Folic Acid: This is necessary to prevent damage to the brain and spinal cord.
* Calcium: It promotes strong bones and teeth in both mother and child.
* Iron: It helps in the development of blood and muscle cells for both.
* Omega-3 fatty acids: It helps in brain development.
* Vitamin D: It is important later in pregnancy.
In addition to these vitamins, a balanced diet is equally important. Being overweight or undernourished can affect egg production and pregnancy outcomes. For example, in India, 30 percent of female infertility cases are related to ovulation problems caused by polycystic ovary syndrome. “A low glycemic index diet helps improve hormonal imbalance in women with polycystic ovaries,” says Dr. Dayal.
The gynecologist also explains that the importance of nutrition has been studied in different populations and proved that it affects not only the formation of the egg, but also the quality of the embryo and the effectiveness of implantation. An unhealthy diet can disrupt the microbiome and can lead to chronic, low-grade inflammation that is linked to several diseases associated with infertility.
The nutrition you need to boost your fertility
As suggested by dr. Dayal, the following dietary changes may help improve fertility:
1. Reduce trans fats in your diet
Trans fats are present in processed and packaged foods. “They are increasing insulin resistance, which leads to hormonal imbalance,” says dr. Dayal. Instead, he suggests consuming more monounsaturated fatty acids, such as those found in olive oil. Fats from plant sources such as nuts, avocados, grapeseed oil have anti-inflammatory properties and should be included in your fertility diet.
2. Avoid simple carbohydrates
Simple carbohydrates like processed food, sweets, desserts, cold drinks, juices, maida, rice, potatoes, which immediately release sugar in the body, are a big no when you are trying to conceive. Dr Dayal advises switching to complex carbohydrates that release sugar very slowly, such as fibre, beans, vegetables, fruit and whole grains.
3. Eat a high protein diet
High protein diet which includes protein from vegetarian sources such as nuts, seeds, lentils, chana, rajma and is considered better than animal sources for improving fertility.
Fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines are good sources of omega 3 fatty acids, especially DHA, which helps improve fertility.
5. Try to avoid dairy products
Some studies have shown that an excess of low-fat dairy products can reduce fertility and should be avoided. It is believed that the hormones present in dairy products, such as estrogen and progesterone, can disrupt ovulation and hormonal balance.
6. Eat antioxidants
A diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, such as all green leafy vegetables, berries and citrus fruits, beans and nuts, will help increase fertility. Fruits like watermelon and asparagus should be in your diet to improve egg quality.
7. Have a gluten-free diet
Gluten is a protein found in barley, wheat and some other grains. Some people are sensitive to gluten and may experience digestive problems or inflammation when they consume it. Inflammation can negatively affect fertility, so avoiding gluten may be beneficial for some women. However, it is important to note that gluten does not need to be avoided by everyone and that a gluten-free diet should only be recommended by a doctor or registered dietitian if necessary.
8. Say no to caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant that can increase heart rate, blood pressure and cause insomnia. It can also interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients, such as calcium and iron, which are important for fertility. Dr Dayal recommends limiting caffeine intake to 200mg per day, which is roughly equivalent to one cup of coffee or two cups of tea.
9. I do not abuse substances
Abuse of substances such as alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs can negatively affect fertility. They can disrupt ovulation and hormonal balance in women. If you are trying to conceive, it is important to avoid these substances altogether.
Simple lifestyle changes like these can go a long way in increasing your chances of conceiving and ensuring a smooth pregnancy. Remember that good nutrition is the key to a healthy pregnancy and a happy family.