The best foods to eat to boost fertility

Many women don’t give a second thought to falling pregnant until they realize that it has been a few months of “trying” without a positive pregnancy test to show for it… Infertility is a very difficult and painful subject for many and I too have walked the road for 16 months so have an understanding of the emotional rollercoaster it can be. (Read my Overcoming Infertility story)

Fortunately for me, my journey ended with the arrival of my beautiful daughter (now 3) but during that time I remember being so desperate for something, anything to do to make me feel like I was actively trying to rectify the situation I was in. An impossible pursuit but one I found helpful – if only because it kept my mind busy! I read every book and blog I could on the subject and something that I found to be helpful was changing a few of my eating habits.

The food we eat has such a huge impact on our bodies and general health and wellbeing that it is obvious that it would also greatly affect fertility. With that in mind I thought you might find this Food for Fertility article by nutritionist and mom, Carolyn Heintz, interesting reading.

Foods to Eat to Promote Fertility for Women

Becoming a mother was a childhood dream that came true with seemingly little effort. I didn’t realize how fortunate I was until one of my best friends, Meredith, called me one day in tears. She had been desperately trying everything to get pregnant for months. She felt like she had tried absolutely everything–but it wasn’t until I scheduled an appointment with her that we were able to pinpoint a problem.

As a nutritionist, I firmly believe that a person’s diet is overlooked as an important component of fertility. I’m happy to say that, after altering her diet to better nourish her body, Meredith became pregnant with her first child a year and a half later. The following is a list of the foods and supplements that I incorporated into her diet to help improve and promote fertility in women.

The Fertility Diet

The first thing Meredith had to change was her food choices. It was crucial to eliminate heavily processed foods and opt for natural and organic produce whenever possible. A good fertility diet contains these key components:

Healthy Fats (Fish Oil, Borage Oil, Seeds, Avocado, Nuts, and Sunflower Oil): The essential fatty acids to incorporate into your diet Omega 3, 6 and 9. Omega-3 acids improve fertility by regulating hormones in your body, increasing cervical mucous, promoting ovulation, and by overall improving the quality of the uterus by increasing the blood flow to the reproductive organs. Up your body’s omega-3 levels by eating salmon, walnuts, tuna, flaxseed, sardines, and olive oil. Omega-6 fats help improve reproductive cell structure, decreases risk of inflammation, and further improve the condition of organs in the body. You have to be especially careful with omega-6 fats, however, as a diet with too many omega-6 fats is linked with heart disease. As with everything in life, balance is key. The third healthy fat to incorporate into your diet is omega-9 which helps restore nutrients in your body to help sustain life. Omega-9s can be found in avocados, nuts, and vegetable oils.

Vitamins (A, D, E): Vitamin A, an essential fat-soluble vitamin found in animal products, carrots, pumpkin, and spinach, helps follicles develop and improves cervical fluid. Vitamin D, which is also fat-soluble, helps support production of estrogen and assists in regulating cell growth. Vitamin E is essential to your fertility diet because it helps in the proper absorption of other fat-soluble vitamins, and improves fertility by normalizing hormone production.

Iodine: Found primarily in seafood, fruits and vegetables, this mineral is essential to incorporate into your fertility diet and is required for healthy thyroid function that assists with the production of sex hormones. Low levels of iodine are, in my experience, one of the main reasons for fertility or miscarriage.

Increasing Your Fertility

Before Meredith became pregnant, not only did she have to change what she ate, but how she ate as well.
Here are some other changes that Meredith altered to fulfill her dream of motherhood:

Eating Vibrant Colours: This is a good rule of thumb: make your plate as colourful as possible! By increasing her intake of fruits and veggies, Meredith reinforced her body with essential vitamins and minerals to provide an overflow of antioxidants and micronutrients. The more vivid the colour, the more nutrient-packed the produce.

Curbed Caffeine: Replace coffee with steamed milk, coupled with a nice shot of syrup as a substitute to restore the calcium in your body. If you are someone who can’t totally forsake caffeine (like me and Meredith), try to limit yourself to one cup a day.

Eating More Fish: By fulfilling the Omega-3 fatty acid requirements, Meredith was able to improve her fertility. Not only are these acids important to the baby’s brain and eye development, they also provide many pregnancy-related benefits too. Women trying to conceive can safely eat up to 12 ounces of low-mercury fish per week.

Drinking Alcohol Sparingly: Although Meredith definitely enjoyed her glass of wine, she understood that she needed to give it up. To lift her spirits, I informed her that the best time to enjoy a worry-free drink is the day she got her period. Otherwise, if you’re trying hard to get pregnant, only drink a maximum of two drinks per day – no more – until you conceive. For those who want better results, I would recommend forsaking it all together.

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Today’s average diet includes highly processed food, chemicals, artificial flavoring and preservatives that are unknowingly affecting your chance of getting pregnant. Instead of grabbing frozen meals and heavily processed junk, rather focus on incorporating natural and organic produce into your diet.

What is worth bearing in mind that this Fertility Diet is just as beneficial to your once you discover you ARE indeed pregnant so making these lifestyle changes at the start of your fertility journey will only do good for both you and your future baby!

 

It took 15 months of hard work and careful diet considerations until Meredith happily announced she was pregnant. When she welcomed baby Maxwell to her family, she gave a great amount of credit to her fertility diet and lifestyle changes.

 

About the Author: Carolyn Heintz is a nutritionist working in beautiful San Diego. She splits her time between working as a nutrition consultant, writing for her blog, and as a personal advocate for lifesaving health screenings. Her favorite time, however, is spent chasing after her two beautiful daughters.

Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for over 9 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

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