There are studies and research that have proven time and again that proper diet and lifestyle changes can boost fertility to a great degree. You just need to get on track and find out what kind of food would increase your chances to get pregnant when you are trying to conceive. Pregnancy diet or “trying to conceive” diet is all about eating healthy in order to prepare a much more conducive environment in the body before the baby arrives. Do you know, Jenifer Lopez went on a spinach diet because she was desperate to start a family with her then husband Marc Anthony, in 2006. She used to consume spinach three times a day, on her doctor’s recommendation, to increase her chance to get pregnant. In this post, we will go into details about how to boost fertility and increase your chances to conceive. But first, let’s find out what causes infertility.
What Causes Infertility in Females?
Infertility is the inability of women who belong to the reproductive age to conceive or get pregnant through natural means. Hormonal imbalances such as hypothyroidism, polycystic ovarian disease, low follicular count, fallopian tube blockage, poor egg quality, pelvic inflammatory disease, obesity, low ovarian reserve, endometriosis, cervical issues, uterine fibroids, uterine issues, are the various factors that can cause infertility.
Objective of Trying to Conceive/Pre-Pregnancy Diet:
- Boost fertility.
- To clear nutritional deficiency.
- Lower the risk of birth defects in baby.
- Beneficial for successful conception.
We would like to reiterate that a majority of pre-pregnancy vitamins, minerals, nutrients, should be from a person’s diet, and that’s where food plays an important part. A diet rich in the following vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients will notch up your chances to conceive and come out of infertility.
Pre-Pregnancy Diet Should Have All These Vitamins and Nutrients:
1. Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 and B9 are extremely important in female fertility. Women with optimum B6 levels, have low homocysteine which is an amino acid which causes ovulation problem.
2. Vitamin B9, folic acid: CDC recommends that women should be taking at least 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid at least one month before getting pregnant, so it shows how strongly vitamin B is connected to fertility. It is also an important vitamin to prevent birth defects in babies such as spina bifida and anencephaly. Citrus fruits like lemon and oranges, dark leafy green vegetables, broccoli, avocado, okra, beetroot, cauliflower, celery, asparagus, carrots, beans, nuts are all rich in vitamin B9.
3. Vitamin D: Vitamin D is synthesized in the body with the help of sunlight. Low levels of vitamin D directly impact fertility causing ovulation problems and risk of endometriosis.
4. Iron: If you are iron deficient, it’s better to buffer up to improve blood circulation. Iron deficiency leads to anemia which may lead to infertility. Chicken, spinach, nuts, lentils, green leafy vegetables all are rich source of iron.
5. Vitamin E: The antioxidant levels in vitamin E neutralizes the effect of free radicals and prevent damage to egg and sperm cells.
6. Zinc: Zinc is thought to improve fertility in both males and females.
7. Calcium: Calcium is needed for proper functioning of reproductive system. When you get pregnant, if there is a deficiency in calcium, your body will take the calcium from your bones and supply it to the fetus, increasing your risk of developing osteoporosis later on. Milk, yogurt, cheese, broccoli, buttermilk, curd, fish, eggs, green leafy vegetables are all rich sources of protein.
8. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids may help regulate key ovulation-inducing hormones and increase blood flow to the reproductive organs
9. Acetyl L-carnitine and L Arginine: L-arginine is a naturally occurring amino acid necessary for protein synthesis. Acetyl L-carnitine (ALC) is an antioxidant and these two are thought to help with female infertility.
10. Fiber – carbohydrates like fiber in your diet might help boost your fertility levels. Plus, if you’re planning to get pregnant, increasing your fiber intake by 10 grams day can lower your risk of developing gestational diabetes. Regulates blood sugar. Examples of fiber. Certain types of fiber can help remove excess estrogen by binding to it in the intestines. The excess estrogen is then removed from the body as a waste product.
11. Selenium: Selenium, which is found in tuna, eggs, etc., is though to boost fertility level in females.
12. Coenzyme Q10: It’s an antioxidant which neutralizes the effect of free radicals. It has been linked to higher-quality eggs and increased pregnancy rate in IVF patients.
How to Treat PCOD with Diet:
PCOS/PCOD is a hormonal disorder with increased male hormones, cysts in the ovaries, painful periods, increased facial hair growth, obesity, infertility, insulin resistance, etc. PCOD/PCOS is a hormonal disorder and a healthy diet and lifestyle can tackle a lot of symptoms associated with this disease. And so, quite naturally, the question that is most often asked is what diet would help to tackle PCOD. Diet plays a major role in reducing infertility associated with PCOD, for example, completely cut down refined carbs. In PCOD, increased carb intake has been linked infertility. A low-carb diet helps to reduce hormones such as insulin and testosterone, both of which can lead to infertility. Additionally, one can follow these dietary tips:
1. Opt for a Low GI diet: A low glycemic index diet will help to control sharp insulin spikes and maintaining optimum blood sugar levels. In this diet, one should consume whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and lean proteins. Some examples are meat, fish, eggs, beans, kidney beans, peanuts, lentils, chickpeas, low-fat yogurt, plain yogurt, whole milk, soy milk, grapefruit, apple, peach, orange, grapes, asparagus, broccoli, celery, cucumber, lettuce, capsicum, bell peppers, spinach, tomatoes, cooked carrots, rice bran, etc.
2. Take Healthy Fats: Healthy fats, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids help to maintain normal insulin levels. Monosaturated fats help to reduce bad cholesterol and also boosts immunity. Avocados, butter, ghee, coconut oil, extra virgin oil, fish, flaxseed, chia seeds, nuts and seeds like almonds and walnuts, whole eggs are all rich in healthy fats.
4. Reduce intake of carbs: As mentioned earlier, a low-carb diet prevents insulin spikes. Opting for a low carb diet helps to reduce blood sugar, improving blood insulin and testosterone levels, and increasing insulin sensitivity, and taking you out of the pre-diabetic stage. It also helps in weight loss.
5. Diet rich in Lean Protein: Women on high-protein diet have low levels of androgen than someone who is not on such a diet. A diet rich in protein would not cause much of an insulin spike and helps in weight loss as well. Some examples of lean protein are greek yogurt, skinless chicken, prawns/shrimp, paneer, salmon, tuna, fish, lentils, egg whites, lamb, tofu, oats, nuts, etc.
6. Consider consuming vitamin D and chromium supplements: Women with PCOS should consider consuming vitamin supplements; especially vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency at times triggers obesity, reduced ovulation and the unwanted development of insulin resistance. Likewise intake of chromium supplements improves insulin sensitivity amongst obese women by almost 38%.
Tips To Boost Fertility with Diet:
- Always keep a good balance of vegetables and fruits in your daily diet.
- Completely eliminate refined sugar. You could healthy substitutes like jaggery, honey to satisfy your sweet tooth. Here are 8 Best Healthy Replacements for Refined Sugar.
- Drink more than 8 glasses of water because lack of hydration will impair blood circulation and may affect fertility as well.
- Eat a healthy breakfast, rich in protein, iron, etc. For example, spinach omelette, ragi dosa, sweet potato, oatmeal, are good breakfast ideas.
- Keep processed food away.
- Keep away from transfat because it can effect the ovulation process. For example, margarine, fried food, processed food all have transfat. This is a list of 15 Transfat Food Items you should Avoid to Lose Weight Effectively.
- Completely give up smoking and alcohol.
- Eat food rich in antioxidants – antioxidants neutralize free radicals that can damage the quality of sperm and egg cells. Here’s a diet rich in antioxidants that you can follow.
- Say no to refined carbs.
- Reduce food with high glycemic index such as white rice, white bread, ice cream, etc.
- Avoid soy products because they have phytoestrogens can interfere with hormone levels and cause fertility issues.
- Come out of sedentary lifestyle, include at least one hour of exercise into daily routine. Even brisk walking for 40 minutes will do a great amount of good.
- Let Go of Stress: A majority of women with infertility often report elevated stress and anxiety levels. It would be a good idea to de-stress and lower anxiety levels to boost fertility.
- Switch to Plant Protein instead of Animal Protein – If you’re trying to get pregnant, switch to plant-based proteins such as paneer, chickpeas, nuts, seeds and legumes for your daily dose of protein.
Food Items that Boost Fertility in Women:
1. Berries like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries.
3. Leafy green vegetables like spinach.
7. Brown rice.
8. Sunflower seeds.
11. Whole milk.
13. Olive oil.
Remarkably, Rati Beauty diet programs also use the above-mentioned ingredients in a healthy way to supply the body with vitamins and nutrients so that one loses weight in a healthy way without compromising on nutrition.