If you are trying to conceive, is your diet full of fertility-enhancing foods? According to studies, unlike other factors you can’t control – such as age and genetics, eating certain foods and Avoiding others, is something you can do yourself to improve your ovulatory function.
Many doctors recommend that women of childbearing potential, who do not use contraception, take a daily prenatal vitamin. Women who are planning to become pregnant should take a prenatal vitamin for at least a month before trying to conceive. In some women, a higher than usual dose of folic acid may be recommended, depending on the medications they are taking and other medical conditions they have.
Doctors also recommend the following to maximize the chances of a healthy pregnancy:
- Try to maintain a healthy weight before conception. Overweight women have a higher risk of complications.
- Avoid excessive use of vitamins before conception. Too much vitamin A, for example, can be bad for a developing fetus.
For women trying to conceive naturally (without “assisted reproductive technologies” such as in vitro fertilization), the following vitamins and nutrients can have a positive effect on fertility:
- folic acid
- vitamin B12
- omega-3 fatty acids
- healthy diets (such as the Mediterranean diet)
On the other hand, antioxidants, vitamin D, dairy products, soy, caffeine and alcohol seem to have little or no effect on fertility. Trans fats and “unhealthy diets” (which are rich in red and processed meats, potatoes, pastries and sugary drinks) have been found to have negative effects.
Studies in men have found that sperm quality improves with healthy diets (as described above), while the opposite is associated with diets high in saturated or trans fats. Alcohol and caffeine have little effect, good or bad. Importantly, sperm quality is not a perfect predictor of fertility, and most studies do not actually examine the impact of the father’s diet on the percentage of successful pregnancies.
In couples receiving assisted reproductive technology, women may be more likely to become pregnant with folic acid supplements or a diet high in isoflavones (plant estrogens with antioxidant activity), while male fertility may be aided by antioxidants. .
Most people mostly associate age and certain medical conditions with fertility problems. It seems less understood that daily lifestyle factors, such as diet, weight, smoking and alcohol intake, can also affect how fertile we are.
Influence of diet on ovulation
The main way in which diet affects fertility is through ovulation. Ovulation problems – The process by which a woman’s egg becomes available for fertilization each month accounts for about a quarter of all cases of infertility.
Adequate hormonal function is essential for successful ovulation. Unfortunately, poor diet can devastate our hormones, which in turn can lead to ovulation problems. This means that eating certain foods and avoiding others can actually improve our fertility.
Most women are familiar with hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, but when it comes to diet and fertility, the hormone we are most interested in is insulin. Excess insulin in your body can prevent ovulation. by preventing the eggs from maturing properly and increasing the formation of ovarian cysts.
The woman will often have high insulin levels, if she eats a carbohydrate-dominated diet high in sugar and starchy foods, e.g. white bread, white flour, white potatoes, white rice. This type of diet forces the pancreas to secrete much more insulin than usual to help the body metabolize large amounts of carbohydrates.
What changes in diet will help ovulation?
The simplest rule is to limit your intake of anything containing sugar (refined carbohydrates), along with foods high in “trans fats” (eg ready-made snacks, french fries and some margarines), which can increase levels. of insulin and disrupt ovulation.
The best way to avoid these types of foods is simply to eat “real food”, ie. foods that have not been processed but have simply been grown, such as vegetables, eggs and animal meat. Increased intake of fatty acids such as omega-3 (found in flaxseed, fish oil, salmon, sardines and walnuts) also recommended as it contains hormonal cursors and therefore helps to stimulate ovulation.
Food is an important source of vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, which foods have very little nutritional value. If you haven’t prioritized the “good stuff,” you may be missing one or more vitamins or minerals.
Although a pregnancy-specific daily multivitamin is recommended for all women trying to conceive, it should not be used instead of a complete diet.
Choose spinach, beans, pumpkin, tomatoes and beets, to improve the intake of iron and other important nutrients.
Indulge in healthy vegetable fats in moderation. Nuts, avocados, olive oil and grape seed oil can reduce inflammation in the body, which helps promote regular ovulation and overall fertility. Some good fats can even help women who are really struggling with infertility.
To improve the quality of the eggs, fill your plate with fruits and vegetables!
Eat more complex (“slow”) carbohydrates and limit highly processed. Your body quickly absorbs bad carbohydrates (such as cookies, pastries, white bread and white rice) and converts them into high blood sugar. To reduce the rise in blood sugar, the pancreas releases insulin into the blood – studies have found that high levels of insulin inhibit ovulation. Good carbohydrates (those containing fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains) are absorbed slowly and have more -gradual effect on blood sugar and insulin.
Eat less protein than red meat, and focus on more fish. Fat-free chicken, turkey, pork and beef are great sources of protein, zinc, iron – all important building blocks for a healthy pregnancy.
When choosing foods that increase fertility, rely on plant proteins. Moreover, vegetable protein (from beans, nuts, seeds and tofu) comes with healthy fats and is relatively low in calories and can be useful for weight loss. A study shows that the risk of ovulatory disorders is halved when 5 percent of your total calorie intake comes from plant proteins.
Consume one or two servings a day of whole milk or other whole milk foods, such as yogurt, and less skimmed and low-fat dairy products. This is because it has been shown that high intake of low-fat dairy products increase the risk of ovulatory infertility compared to high-fat dairy products.
Reduce sugar levels and stick to less processed sweeteners. Concentrated doses of sweets can completely increase your blood sugar, creating problems with insulin and your overall hormonal balance. Get rid of sweets and desserts in a fertility diet and don’t forget about weaker sugar bombs such as fruit juice, energy drinks and sweet teas.
Drink coffee, tea and alcohol in moderation and avoid sugary drinks altogether.
Avoid forms of processed soy, especially powders and energy bars. One of the foods you should avoid when trying to conceive is soy, which can have a negative effect on fertility.
Diversify your plate No matter how good your fertility diet plan looks, too much of everything is never good for the body. The more variety you have, the more likely you are to be able to fill your nutritional gaps.
Take daily multivitamins, which contain at least 400 micrograms of folic acid and 40 to 80 milligrams of iron.
Learn the best fertility foods for men. Boys are good to eat foods rich in zinc to prevent the conversion of testosterone into estrogen, as well as more cheese. You can also encourage him to take vitamins daily. Prenatal vitamins for men are vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, zinc and lycopene.