Whole foods are unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods that are fresh from the soil or animals eating natural vegetation. They include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. They are a powerhouse of disease-fighting vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. Nutrition plays a significant role when it comes to fertility. A whole food diet can help you in your quest for conception. This is true even if you don’t use any specific fertility-enhancing supplements. The nutritional content of your diet can also make all the difference when it comes to staying pregnant and delivering a healthy baby. Here we will explore some fertility benefits of following a diet rich in whole foods.
1. Whole Grains
Whole grain foods serve as healthy sources of calcium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, and certain B vitamins, as they play a vital role in healthy fertility. An additional nutrient, fiber, which is found mainly in whole grains, has been shown to increase the chances of getting pregnant. Whole grains also contain phytoestrogens that can increase fertility by helping to balance your hormones and regulate ovulation.
In addition to the nutrient benefits above, whole grains can help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and aid in the prevention of heart disease, while also keeping you energized throughout the day. For a better chance of getting pregnant, whole grains should be consumed in whole wheat, brown rice, oats, and quinoa; all of which are great sources of fiber and these essential nutrients.
2. Beans and Legumes
Legumes and beans are excellent sources of protein and iron. They are also a good source of fiber. Proteins play a significant role in cell replication. They also improve ovulation in women undergoing fertility treatment. If you are vegetarian or vegan, these foods are also an excellent substitute for animal proteins. When it comes to iron levels, an iron deficiency during pregnancy can lead to anemia, which can cause severe complications for the mother and child. Legumes such as soy, lentils, peas, kidney beans, chickpeas, and lima beans are good sources of iron.
Additionally, during pregnancy, the body needs additional nutrients to help produce the necessary elevated blood and other fluids for you and baby. This necessity for added nutrients can be especially true for pregnant women who are anemic or suffer from chronic illnesses such as hypothyroidism.
3. Fruits and Vegetables
Vegetables provide an excellent source of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that can aid in male and female fertility. You should include vegetables such as kale, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, and cabbage in your fertility diet, as they are packed with nutrients needed for conception. These vegetables can help to boost your fertility not only by the individualized nutrient benefits but also by improving liver function.
Additionally, many vegetables contain the mineral zinc, low levels of which can cause the testes not to produce enough testosterone to have a healthy sperm count. In addition, fruits are rich in antioxidants, dietary fiber, phytochemicals, and a multitude of vitamins that can help to regulate the body’s immune system; which will help to maintain optimal fertility and protect the body from free radicals.
4. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts contain healthy fats that provide energy and oxygen to sperm, this energy helps them swim strongly, be more mobile and find their way toward the egg more easily. Nuts are also a great source of zinc, folate, magnesium, and selenium, which can help with not only conception and fertility health but also with mood. Nuts can easily be sprinkled on breakfast cereal or yogurt, included in a salad, or eaten as they are.
Click here for a complete look at The Best Nuts for Fertility Health
On the other hand, seeds are just as beneficial. Seeds, like sunflower and pumpkin seeds have carbohydrates and protein to promote healthy sperm production. Some types of fat are necessary for the development of a healthy embryo, however avoiding fattening foods such as fatty meats and full-fat dairy products when trying to conceive can be beneficial, especially for women dealing with PCOS or weight issues. Thus, the healthy fat sources found from such as nuts, seeds, and avocado, can help maintain a healthy weight while also promoting healthy fertility and ovulation.
For a complete look at Seed Cycling for Fertility, click here.
5. Fish Oils and Cold-Water Fish
Cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and tuna contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for developing a healthy nervous system and fetal brain. Dietary and supplemental forms of fish oil contain DHA, which is necessary for brain development in unborn babies, and may reduce the risk of miscarriage, preeclampsia, age-related macular degeneration, asthma, and diabetes. Eating sufficient amounts of fertility-friendly fish and seafood can also add vitamin D to your diet, which can support both your and baby’s bone health. The key is to choose the varieties of fish that have lower levels of mercury, as heavy metals can be toxic to a growing baby. In addition to supporting women’s fertility and fetus growth, fish oil and omega fatty acids can also aid in sperm health and men’s reproductive health.
When it comes to getting pregnant, a healthy diet is crucial for both partners. It can also be important to talk to your doctor and get a complete check-up to ensure that nutrient levels are where they should be and that everything, reproductive-wise, is working properly.
For those uncertain of where to start with balancing a healthy diet, a nutritionist can help you identify particular vitamins and minerals that may be lacking in your diet, and how to incorporate certain foods to help your body function at its best. Natural conception can take time, and patience and consistency with your efforts is important. Thus, a commitment to lifestyle changes in your diet can help you on your way to fulfilling your goals for growing your family and creating a healthy lifestyle even beyond pregnancy.
For A Couple’s Guide to Starting and Maintaining a Fertility-Friendly Diet, click here.