Did you know that the food you eat plays a significant role in how fertile you are? There are many factors that contribute to how healthy your body and reproductive system are and nutrition is one crucial component that is completely within your control. Not only is nutrition powerful for a fertile body but it also plays a big role in supporting a healthy pregnancy from pre-conception to birth.
Many people think that their eating habits are healthy but it is good to know that eating for fertility can be somewhat different to what you may expect. The reason for this is that foods for fertility have specific purposes and benefits, for example, some support hormonal health, fetal development, egg health, sperm quality and many more.
Certain nutrients are required for a fetus to develop and grow. According to many scientific studies, when a fetus is given an environment that supports it’s requirements (through nutrition and lifestyle), the chances of fertility increases dramatically. It is therefore also possible for nutrient deficiencies to cause birth defects if the fetus is not receiving what it needs to thrive.
Eating for fertility is something that takes no extra time, energy or effort. We all eat anyway so why not choose foods that will support a pregnancy and give you the best chance at falling pregnant. And not to mention, your overall health and wellbeing will improve.
Humans were most fertile prior to modernized foods and at the time of traditional diets. These foods consisted of healthy oils, protein, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. These are critical for protecting the sperm and the egg from free-radicals, they support hormonal balance, build nutrient levels and provide energy.
So let’s get stuck into your fertility nutrition; the do’s and don’ts for a healthy pregnancy!
Grass-fed, free-range, organic meat
Convention meats unfortunately consist of added hormones and antibiotics that disrupt our own hormones, upset our digestive system and provide toxicity to our precious body. Grass-fed, free-range and organic meats come from well-cared for animals that are fed quality food themselves and provide us with a great source of protein and essential fatty acids.
Ask your health food store or google search for a local stockist that can support your journey.
Organic vegetables and fruit
Organic foods are grown without the use of toxic chemicals and it has been shown that these chemicals disrupt our own body’s hormones. This can reduce fertility, cause miscarriages and deny the fetus of quality, safe nutrition. It may not always be possible to go completely organic for financial reasons, but take a look at what you spend your money on the most. Perhaps you can reduce your spending in an area of your life and use that money to buy organic produce. If not, shop fresh from your local farmers and avoid the supermarket when possible. Supermarket produce is generally covered with herbicides and pesticides for longer shelf life, mass production and transportation.
Dr Weston A Price travelled the globe many years ago, researching the health of traditional people and their diets prior to industrialization. He found that the most fertile groups were those that included wild-caught salmon into their diets. Wild-caught fish is rich in DHA and EPA (Omega-3 fatty acids – see ‘Good Fats’ for more info), vitamin D and vitamin A – all imperative for a successful healthy pregnancy and in fact, they have been shown to reverse infertility for some women.
For too long, we have been scared to consume fats when in fact, good fats help to balance hormones, promote ovulation, increase blood flow in the reproductive area and help reduce body fat (believe it or not).
Omega-3 essential fatty acids are ‘good fats’ and they are essential to fertility. Our body is not able to produce Omega-3 fatty acids, therefore we must get them from our food or take a dietary supplement, but always choose food first. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for your babies growth, a healthy central nervous system, to prevent miscarriage and a premature birth, to name a few.
Incorporating more ‘good fats’ pre-conception and throughout a pregnancy will also support your overall wellbeing, energy levels, hormonal health and vitality.
Examples of Omega-3's are flax oil, fish oil, cod liver oil, wild-caught fish. Other fertility friendly fats are avocados, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, organic nuts, organic seeds and ghee.
Just as it is important to eat certain foods for fertility, it is just as important to steer clear of things like processed foods, reduce inflammation by cutting down sugar / caffeine / alcohol intake and avoid problematic foods such as gluten and soy. These foods and substances have been shown in studies to negatively affect fertility and by removing them from your diet, you are giving yourself the best possible chance at falling pregnant and maintaining a successful pregnancy.
Find out more about how I can help you with my Fertility Coaching services.
Yours in health,