Although everything varies by individual, the healthier you are, the more fertile you’re likely to be. A Goldilocks weight — not too heavy and not too thin — increases the chance that you’ll easily conceive. So does eating the kind of diet that supports your body, rather than stresses it.
In our world of environmental stressors, including pollution and degraded soil, a fertility diet may not be as simple as eating a few more apples a week. But when you eliminate as many toxins as possible from your life and from the foods you eat, you give that baby you want a fighting chance of being created.
At Mian OB/GYN & Associates, expert OB/GYN Dr. Rafiq Mian and our team want you to conceive naturally and easily. If you'd like to enhance or preserve your fertility — and eat delicious foods while doing so — here’s what you need to know.
First, the bad news
If you’re a sugar addict, you may be distressed that improving your fertility starts with kicking that habit. The impact of sugar on fertility is pretty profound: In one study, women who drank three or more sodas per day had a 52% reduced rate of pregnancy compared to those who didn’t drink soda.
Sugar doesn’t just affect women’s fertility, however. Men who consume high amounts of sugar have lower sperm quality and reduced fertility. If you and your partner want to improve your odds, cut out:
- Corn syrup
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Fruit juices (eat whole fruit instead)
Now the good news: Just because you give up sugar doesn’t mean your life has to be less sweet. You can make healthier choices, such as cooking with sweet potatoes that taste sweet but are low on the glycemic index. You can also choose natural sweeteners that boost flavor but not your blood sugar, such as stevia and monk fruit extract.
The other “food” that needs the boot is trans fat. Trans fat, which is found in hydrogenated vegetable oils, hides in fast food, certain processed foods, and many junk foods, such as store-bought baked goods.
Now, the good news
Your diet just got a lot more colorful, flavorful, and varied. When you eat for fertility, you can pile your plate with fresh salads bursting with greens, reds, and yellows, with plenty of healthy extra-virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, herbs, and spices.
You can scour the Mediterranean (cookbooks!) for inspirational recipes and ingredients so you know what to look for when you head to the grocery store.
Load up your basket with:
- Fresh seafood and fish
- Grass-fed, organic meats (not conventional or factory farmed)
- Pastured, organic poultry and eggs
- Brussel sprouts
- Leafy greens
- Broccoli and cauliflower
- Spinach and kale
- Sweet potatoes
- Whole and sprouted grains
- Nuts and seeds
Satisfy your sweet tooth with:
- Apples with skin
- Goji berries
If the list seems overwhelming, start with the most potent fertility foods. Both asparagus and watermelon help your body make glutathione, which your ovaries use to produce healthy eggs. Kale and other leafy greens contain phytochemicals that also give fertility a boost.
More good news
Do you remember the days when dietitians insisted that fat makes you fat? Well, that’s true in the case of unhealthy fats, such as trans fats, which trigger inflammation. But many other fats are healthy and fertility friendly, such as:
- Grass-fed, organic dairy products
- Olive oil
If you’re lactose-intolerant, try goat or sheep dairy instead of cow dairy. If milk protein is an issue for you, look for A2 milk and dairy, which has a more digestible form of milk protein.
Healthy fats make vegetables tastier and more filling, too. Experiment with good-fat dressings and toppings to keep your tongue tantalized.
Protein is also essential for fertility and pregnancy, so load up on the healthy kinds. Avoid any conventional, factory-farmed meat or poultry. In addition to organic, grass-fed meats, consider grass-fed organs, such as liver, which are loaded with B vitamins. If you like tofu, aim for the fermented kind.
A little more bad news
Not surprisingly, anything that could be toxic to you could be toxic to your baby and may prevent conception, implantation, and gestation. You already know that you should quit smoking, ditch recreational drugs, and limit alcohol. But really, just stop drinking alcohol until you break out the champagne at your baby’s birth.
Don’t forget your folic acid
When you’re pregnant, it’s essential to take 400 mcg folic acid daily to prevent neural tube defects in your baby. However, you should start taking folic acid now: It boosts, fertility, too.
Now, the best news
A healthy lifestyle can help you conceive, have a smooth pregnancy, and a healthy baby. Of course, you may still need help — either with conception or during your pregnancy — and that’s why we’re here as part of your team.
If you want to learn more about your fertility, how to increase your chances of pregnancy, and how to get prenatal care once you conceive, contact us today. You can phone our expert team at our office in Silver Spring, Maryland, or fill out our online booking form.