If you are trying to get pregnant it can be a stressful time, especially if you have been trying for some time or know that you have less chance of conceiving due to age or health issues. One way to boost your chances is to eat the right foods to ensure your body is at optimal health. So what are the best fertility foods for women?
First, use your common sense. In order to achieve the best health you know you need to have a good balanced diet and focus on healthy, whole foods including fresh fruit and vegetables, unrefined carbohydrates, and good protein sources. Avoid refined sugar, bad fats and food preservatives. Try to eat as many organic foods as possible to avoid the toxins that are in non-organic and processed foods. Organic fruit and vegetables are also richer in nutrients so you need to eat less of them to absorb the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function properly. Avoid caffeine and alcohol; both have negative effects on the body and will reduce your body’s natural balance.
As well as following a sensible eating plan, there are some foods that the body really needs to encourage conception.
- Whole grains are important for fertility because they release energy slowly and don’t cause sugar and insulin spikes. Healthy insulin levels are good for fertility so stick to wholegrain bread, oats and brown rice instead of refined carbohydrates like white rice and anything containing white or bleached flour.
- Folic Acid is one nutrient that we hear about a lot when it comes to getting pregnant and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Also known as vitamin B9, it is vital for producing red blood cells and key components for the nervous system, as well as creating genetic material and normalizing brain function. Your body can’t store Folic Acid so it needs to be replenished regularly. Good natural sources of Folic Acid include leafy green vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, broccoli, wheat germ, apricots, avocados and liver. Leafy vegetables are also a good source of Iron, which is vital for the production of red blood cells to carry oxygen around the body.
- Vitamins B6 and B12 are also important; in fact, Folic Acid needs Vitamin B12 to create genetic material. Again, these B vitamins need to be replenished regularly because they are not retained by the body. Good sources of B6 include bell peppers, spinach, garlic and bananas, while B12 can be found in fish, milk products, meat and eggs.
- Zinc is a vital mineral for healthy cell division and genetic material and, as a result, is important for fertility in both men and women. You can obtain zinc naturally from rye, oats, pumpkin seeds and almonds.
- Plant protein is usually considered better for fertility than protein from animal sources. That means cutting back on your meat intake and choosing beans, lentils, nuts and grains (like Quinoa and Buckwheat).
- We’ve already mentioned eating the right kinds of fats. Good fats (monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and Omega-3 fatty acids) help maintain healthy hormone levels and reduce inflammation. Good sources of essential fatty acids include avocados, salmon, sardines, and sesame and pumpkin seeds, although many women prefer to take a high quality fish oil supplement as well.
- Other vitamins that are considered vital to fertility are: Vitamin E, found in leafy green vegeatables, plus wheatgerm and sunflower seeds; Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits, blackcurrants, strawberries and kiwi fruit; and Vitamin A, found in carrots, spinach, cabbage and tomatoes.
As you can see, eating a healthy, balanced diet is essential to improve your fertility, and some foods stand out more than others. Focus on eating carbohydrates that release the energy slowly, good fats, protein from a mixture of sources, and plenty of different fresh fruit and vegetables, and you will give yourself the best chance of conceiving.