Making the decision to have a baby is an exciting and simultaneously overwhelming choice. As many people know, it can take time to conceive, and there are several things you can do to improve your chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy baby.
No matter if you have been trying to get pregnant for months (or longer), or if you have just started thinking about having a baby, you can boost your fertility by eating a well balanced, healthy diet rich in these 14 foods.
Proteins are often called the building blocks of life, which makes them ideal for when you are trying to get pregnant. Naturally lean meats like turkey and chicken or lean cuts of beef will increase your iron.
Tip: Aim for getting two servings of protein a day, as studies have shown that women with higher levels of iron are more fertile than women who lack this necessary nutrient.
The Right Seafood
Seafood often gets a bad rap in the fertility-pregnancy world, but there are some items that are ideal for conceiving.
Fish such as salmon and herring are loaded with omega-3, which are fatty acids that can regulate hormones and even reduce stress.
Whole or Vitamin D varieties of milk are loaded with calcium, which can play a key role in your reproductive health. Women who have had ovulation issues can especially benefit from one serving of whole milk a day.
It is important to note, however, that this kind of milk is a full-fat item, so stick to just one serving to avoid putting on weight, which will adversely affect your fertility.
Refined grains such as white rice or sugary snacks will affect your hormones and yourreproductive cycle by causing your blood sugar to spike. Opt instead for whole grains that will keep your blood sugar stable and give you a good dose of the fertility-important folic acid.
You may be familiar with the fact that berries such as raspberries and blueberries are full of antioxidants, but did you know that those antioxidants play a role in protecting your cells fromaging and other damage?
In addition to keeping your body – and your eggs – healthy, these berries can also promote healthy and strong sperm, making them perfect for a couple’s snack.
The wild yam has been linked not only to ovulation, but also multiple births. Researchers have found that in societies where women load up on wild yams, twins are more prevalent.
Yes, oysters are an aphrodisiac, but they actually can play a bigger role in the fertility process. Why? Because they are rich in zinc. (So are whole grains, nuts and eggs, for those of you who prefer not to slurp down oysters). A zinc deficiency can actually slow egg production and cause for menstrual cycle problems.
Okay, so this isn’t exactly a food, but vitamins are important. A Harvard study revealed that women who regularly took an iron supplement as well as multivitamins that had folic acid had fewer problems with infertility in terms of ovulation issues.
The typical recommendation is 400mcg of folic acid. If you aren’t sure which vitamin to take, consult with your physician.
As a good source of protein, eggs also contain choline, which is an essential nutrient. Your body should get choline from real food and not a vitamin because it only has the ability to synthesize it in small amounts.
Scientifically speaking, choline converts to betaine when consumed, and betaine will prevent homocysteine levels from becoming too high. When homocysteine levels are high, it can lead to poor egg and embryo development as well as an increased risk for miscarriage.
Cauliflower and Broccoli
Cruciferous vegetables contain a phytonutrient, di-indolylmethane, which aids in the process of metabolizing estrogen.
This is especially important for women who struggle with endometriosis or fibroids, because those conditions are often associated with too much estrogen.
Yellow and orange foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes and cantaloupe are rich in beta-carotene, which helps to balance out hormones and has even been linked to preventing miscarriages.
Load up on these foods to encourage cell growth. Baby carrots are alkaline, which means they are the opposite of acidic and thus create a balancing and welcome effect in your body.
Not only does pineapple pack beta-carotene, but it also has bromelain. This nutrient has anti-inflammatory properties, and research has shown that it could support implantation when you are trying to get pregnant.
Experts do not recommend taking bromelain as a supplement because the dosage could be too high and therefore counter-productive.
Bananas provide an excellent source of vitamin B6, which can regulate hormones. A deficiency of this vitamin has been linked to irregular menstrual cycles and even poor sperm and egg development.
Foods to Avoid
Remember how we said that some people feel fishy about eating seafood? Well, they are right to do so. Keep in mind that certain varieties, such as swordfish, tuna steak and shark, are loaded with mercury, which has been linked to infertility. Avoiding trans fats is a must, which means you should trade that bag of chips for a bag of carrots.
Studies also show that steering clear of caffeine and alcohol while you are trying to conceive is important. Not only will these items dehydrate you, but they can also make cervical mucus reject sperm. The acidity found in processed foods can do the same thing.
Eating balanced meals and listening to your physician are essential to conceiving. Don’t forget to stay well hydrated as not getting enough water can cause cervical fluid and sperm to become sluggish. A healthy diet means a healthy body, setting the stage for better fertility and ultimately, a healthy pregnancy.