There is a huge amount of information out there recommending food to eat and avoid when pregnant but what about before you fall pregnant? Eating the right foods can boost your fertility and to keep your body healthy.
In terms of general health, being extremely overweight or underweight can make your periods irregular, making it harder to conceive. It is advised to talk to your doctor about maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise. Focus on nutrition, lots of fruit and vegetables, complex carbohydrates and lean proteins, avoiding processed foods such as fast food and foods that are high in sugar and salt. All the good nutrients from a balanced diet will prevent insulin from disrupting your body’s hormone balance, which is essential for reproduction. You can consider taking a prenatal vitamin also to ensure you are getting the vitamins you need.
Calcium is an essential nutrient for keeping your reproductive system healthy and for strengthening both your bones and the bones of your baby when you do conceive. You should aim to eat about two servings of dairy, such as milk, cheese, and yoghurt per day. These servings should be whole milk, rather than skim. Full fat milk can help to protect you from ovulatory infertility, while skim milk may actually hinder ovulation. If you’re lactose intolerant or vegan, you can find calcium in many soy and tofu products.
Iron is very important to a regular menstrual cycle, which will help you to conceive. You can get enough iron by eating beef and other red meats, oatmeal, and leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and other greens. Leafy greens will also provide you with folic acid, which is essential for preventing birth defects.
Protein is important for a healthy body but not all proteins are created equal. Some studies have found that plant-based proteins are better for fertility than animal proteins. So maybe include beans, lentils, and quinoa in your diet. When you do opt for meat, choose lean options such as chicken, eggs, and lean cuts of beef and pork. And what about fish? Oily fish such as salmon and tuna provide powerful omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for a soon-to-be mom and growing baby. They also facilitate the flow of blood to the uterus. Just make sure that you avoid high-mercury fish such as swordfish and mackerel. Mercury can remain in your body for over a year, so it’s important to reduce your exposure to it as soon as you’re trying to conceive. If you’re not a fish fan, you can always opt for a fish oil supplement instead.
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