Preconception Nutrition for Couples
Can certain foods boost fertility? Absolutely! If you are trying to get pregnant or planning to be, then add these wonderful foods that boost your fertility and skip certain foods too. These prepregnancy foods prepare your body for a fertility mode and growing a healthy baby. These foods are not only for a mother-to-be but also for the father-to-be!
Despite certain factors (obesity, genetic problems, infections), nutritional deficiencies & unhealthy food habits are the contributing factors for infertility. Because the same nutrients are essential before and after conception. We know people who are eating healthy are also facing infertility. But what important is – eating healthy nourishes your body and aid as a healthy platform for getting pregnant and growing a baby.
Eat more complex carbs which are digested slowly. So, add good carbs which are rich in Fiber like Whole grains, Fruits, vegetables and Beans.
Unsaturated fats are good not only for the heart but also for the hormones aiding fertility and even minimize stress. Omega fatty acids cannot be produced by our body. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is also an omega-3 fatty acid, helps in development of brain and eyes of the baby. Oils like Olive oil, Flax seed oil, Grape seed oil, Safflower oil, Sunflower oil, Wheat germ oil, Sesame oil, Corn oil, Peanut oil or butter (but avoid trans fat if present in them), etc. are good sources of Omega. Fishes like Sardines,Herring, Salmon, Tuna, Trout, Mackerel (low mercury levels are the best!). Nuts like Walnuts, Almonds and fruits like Avocados are other sources.
Plant proteins are good to add. We can get them from Lentils, Beans, Nuts, etc. Actually too much protein will lower fertility! Get less from Lean red meat, Chicken, Turkey, etc.
4. Minerals & Micro nutrients
Multivitamins, antioxidants, minerals are the micro nutrients are also important for fertility.
Beta carotene, Vitamin B complex, C, the sunshine Vitamin D, the Fertility Vitamin E, and antioxidant are essential for fertility and pregnancy, but needed in minute amounts. So, don’t overload with them! Generally, fruits like Berries, Pomegranates and vegetables like Carrots, Potatoes are rich in vitamins and antioxidant.
Whole milk is rich in fat and calcium. Whole milk? Yes! Removing fat from milk will disrupts its sex hormones,thereby affecting your fertility. So, whole milk is essential food in fertility, as it is rich in protein, calcium. While other than milk, we can also take Low-fat yogurt, Cheese to gain a total of 1000 mg of calcium, needed for a day. If you are Lactose tolerant, then replace dairy products with Green leafy vegetables.
b. Iron & Folate
Leafy greens like Spinach, Romaine lettuce, Arugula, Broccoli are good sources of iron, folate and also calcium. Other sources are Dried fruits, Raisins, Seafood, Poultry, etc. Folate is very essential for the neural ( brain & spinal) development of fetus. It also reduces the miscarriages and genetic problems in baby. Folate helps in healthy sperm and ovulation.
Helps in production, functioning and repair of DNA. Seen in Nuts, Oysters, Eggs, Dark chocolate.
Essential mineral for thyroid hormone and fetal development. seen in Sea foods, Milk,Yogurt, etc.
Water soluble micro nutrient potentially reduce harmful gene effects that results in birth defects. Found in Egg yolk, rich in Cauliflower.
Essential for healthy fluids in both female and male genitalia.
Foods & Habits to avoid
- Saturated fats, trans fats (hydrogenated oils).
- Sugar (especially the white one)
- Caffeine– reduce fertility and linked with early miscarriage,excretes calcium out of the body.
- Processed foods like soda, tinned foods, preserved foods, fries and junk foods like doughnuts.
- Mercury rich fishes like sword fish, king mackerel, shark, tile fish, tuna.
- Harmful substances in food like MSG, high fructose corn syrup.
- Alcohol which wipes away the sperm producing hormones.
- Foods and herbs containing phytoestrogens– soy, licorice, ginseng, etc. which may disrupt the reproductive hormones.
- Exposure to radiations like X-rays and Microwave, prior to 3-4 months of conception.
- Tap water leading to toxic exposure.
- No physical activity (instead, exercise regularly).
- Stress leads to infertility.
Tips: Taking a daily supplement of prenatal vitamins right before three months of conception help fill any gap !
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Disclaimer: Though the above post purely implies the importance of nutrition in fertility, this do not underestimate any medical treatments or medicines treating infertility; and it is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this post. The authors intention is to reveal the importance of ‘food as a medicine’, according to Natural Medicine.