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Are you ready to become a first-time mother or expand your family? There is an endless amount of information available to help women become pregnant, and the advice ranges from the practical to the absurd.
Adjusting your eating habits is one of the simplest and most effective ways to boost your fertility.
Why Is Diet So Important?
Just how strong is the connection between diet and fertility? According to research done at Harvard, women whose lifestyle included five specific factors, including following a fertility-focused diet, had a significantly lower risk of infertility than women whose lives didn’t include any of the factors — in fact, their risk was 80 percent lower!
The reason behind the strong connection between fertility and diet is simple. A healthy diet is good for the entire body, including the reproductive organs. Eating the right foods and avoiding other foods, can even help women with PCOS to balance their condition and become pregnant.
Of course, you shouldn’t blindly embark on any diet plan without first consulting your doctor. Since you’re trying to get pregnant, it may even be best to talk to a fertility doctor rather than your regular physician about what you eat. The chances are that your doctor will recommend some if not all of the following changes to your diet.
Cut Out Highly Processed Carbs
As tempting as that candy bar is, it could actually decrease your chances of getting pregnant. This is because simple carbs, such as those in sweet treats, white bread, and white rice, can cause your blood glucose level to spike. The increase in blood sugar will lead to increased insulin, which can inhibit ovulation.
According to Fit Pregnancy, “In our study, women whose diets had the highest glycemic load (a measure of the amount of bad carbs eaten and how quickly they’re turned into blood sugar) were 92 percent more likely to have ovulatory infertility than those whose diets had the lowest glycemic load.”
Eat complex carbs. Replace white bread with whole wheat bread, and snack on veggies and beans. These complex carbs take longer to digest so your insulin level will stay more even.
Be Picky About Your Fats
Strive to avoid trans fats at all times. Trans fats are commonly found in items such as margarine, French fries, and packaged baked goods. They’re so bad because they can lead to insulin resistance, which makes it more difficult for your body to absorb the glucose that is in your bloodstream. When you’re insulin resistant, your pancreas produces extra insulin, which, as noted above, can affect ovulation.
Try to incorporate more healthy fats into your diet. The best fats are those from foods that contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which can boost hormone production and reduce inflammation. They can even help with your menstrual cycle. Perhaps the most important benefit, though, is that Omega-3s are important for developing infants. When your body has all the nutrients it needs for a healthy baby to grow inside of you, you may be more likely to get pregnant.
Some great foods that contain healthy fats include the following: fish, such as mackerel and salmon; nuts, particularly walnuts and almonds; flax seeds; egg yolks; and hemp seeds.
Eat Whole-Fat Dairy
Conventional wisdom often urges consumers to lean toward reduced-fat dairy products, but many experts are changing their tune on that. A doctor quoted on Fit Pregnancy stated, “We found that the more low-fat dairy products in a woman’s diet, the more trouble she had getting pregnant. The more full-fat dairy products she ate, the less likely she was to have trouble.”
Why is this the case? One reason may be that low-fat dairy can disrupt hormone levels. Furthermore, high-fat dairy products slow down the release of sugar into the bloodstream, which goes back to the relationship between insulin levels and fertility.
You don’t want to gorge yourself on high-far dairy, certainly, but you should choose whole milk over skim. And don’t feel guilty about putting a little heavy cream in your coffee. However, be sure to avoid high-fat dairy products with a ton of sugar, such as ice cream and some types of yogurt.
Cut Back on Caffeine
Some studies have found that a high caffeine intake can negatively impact fertility, while other studies have found no such connection. However, to be on the safe side, it would be a good idea to trim back your daily caffeine intake. One or two cups of coffee each day should be your limit; you don’t want to consume more than 300 milligrams of caffeine.
When you do take in caffeine, choose forms that don’t come with a lot of sugar. Black coffee, tea, and unflavored lattes are all good choices. Steer clear of soda, energy drinks, and specialty coffees that cater to those with a sweet tooth.
Whenever Possible, Choose Organic Foods
Foods raised with added hormones or pesticides can affect the hormone levels in your body, which in turn may impact your chances of becoming pregnant. Although there isn’t conclusive research to prove that eating organic improves fertility, it can’t hurt to give it a try.
Boost Your Fertility
The Bottom Line? Eat Like You’re Already Pregnant
Many of the above recommendations align closely with diets for women that are already pregnant. Eating the right foods prepares your body for pregnancy. Also, when you’re eating healthy, you know that you could be providing your baby with the nutrients he or she needs even before you’re aware that you’re pregnant.
Another huge benefit of committing yourself to a healthier diet is that it can help you lose weight. Women with a healthy BMI tend to get pregnant more quickly and have fewer complications during pregnancy than those who are overweight. Excess fat can affect a woman’s hormone levels and menstrual cycle, making it more difficult to conceive. Attaining a healthy weight can also lead to a healthier baby and lower risk of miscarriage.
boost your fertility
If you’ve had the same eating habits for years, it might be a huge challenge to make the needed adjustments in order to boost your fertility. However, the effort will be more than worth it.