It seems that diet may play a strong role in the way our genes are expressed and influence our fertility just as it plays a role in other challenges to health and well-being. Whether you’re currently trying to conceive or struggling with unexplained infertility, paying a little extra attention to your diet won’t hurt. Here are my top 10 tips for boosting your fertility:
1. Provide your body, ahead of time, with the extra nutritional requirements it needs to produce and sustain a healthy pregnancy: folic acid, B vitamins, zinc and essential fatty acids (omega 3’s). Did you know that the neural tube starts to develop shortly after conception and is closed at 28 days? The recommendation for folate prior to conception is 0.4 milligrams, or 400 micrograms everyday. Some women are known experience less morning sickness if they begin a prenatal supplement before conception. Once you begin taking the prenatal supplement, you should STOP taking all other supplements. Excessive amounts of certain nutrients can be toxic and hazardous to your health and the baby’s development.
2. Balance your weight: Overweight women produce to much progesterone and underweight women produce too little estrogen. Both these hormones and their balance are crucial to fertility.
3. Change your diet: saturated fats, junk foods, preservatives, flavorings, pesticides and alcohol are unfriendly to fertility. Focus on fresh, organic, seasonal produce and get back to basics by making healthy home-made foods as much as possible.
4. Gluten intolerance is linked to unexplained infertility and recurrent miscarriage. Intolerance to gluten, often undiagnosed, contributes to nutrient malabsorption (the body does not readily absorb nutrients like iron, zinc and folic acid which are critical to reproduction). If you’re experiencing trouble getting pregnant, consider asking your physician to screen you for celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Alternatively, go on a gluten-free diet for a trial period for a few months.
5. Sugar and artificial sweeteners are bad for your health! Cutting out sugars and artificial sweeteners from your diet is a huge fertility booster.
6. Eliminate tobacco use, alcohol and caffeine consumption. Components of tobacco smoke are known to damage ovarian follicles and cause premature aging of the ovaries. High caffeine intake has been shown to cause spontaneous abortion. Caffeine readily crosses the placenta, it causes increased foetal heart rate, increased breathing and effects the placental blood flow. Limit to under 200 mg per day.
7. Most women I know consume skim and low fat dairy products in an effort to maintain their weight. Fat, including fat from dairy products, is vital to the reproductive process. Ditch the low fat and skim products in favour of the organic, non sweetened, full fat products to ensure you are absorbing enough calcium, vitamin A & D.
8. Stress management: take your mind off your daily stressors and make sure to find the time to exercise, have a massage, meet a friend, write a journal, take a nap or even better take a holiday.
9. Be a green queen: minimise your chemical exposure (BPA’s from plastic), toxins from diet (pesticides, fungicides, herbicides), pollution, radiation and electromagnetic’s (mobile phones, wireless internet). These cause free radicals which damage our DNA.
10. Think positive!
Take care of your body so that it might become ready to nourish and nurture the growth of your future children. Looking to your diet, and eliminating potentially problematic foods, might very well be an affordable and effective route to take to prepare your body to conceive.
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