When you are pregnant, there are a lot of rules about what you should and shouldn’t eat, but what about when you’re trying to conceive?
The period leading up to pregnancy should be focused on fostering a healthy diet to boost fertility.
Fertility can sometimes be a considerable challenge, so it is crucial to adopt a fertility diet when you are trying to get pregnant.
Why is a healthy diet so important when you are trying to get pregnant?
In reality, the road to parenthood starts much sooner. You don’t have to wait until you conceive to create healthy habits. Actually, by following a female fertility diet before getting pregnant, you are more likely to boost your fertility, lower the risk of congenital disabilities, and reduce your chances of developing health problems.
Furthermore, a healthy diet will help your body adjust faster to any change brought by pregnancy. Hence, it is crucial to stop smoking (if you do it), avoid alcohol, and eat well to keep your weight scale for your height. In addition, the baby will need a lot of nutrients, particularly folic acid, iron, and calcium.
Regardless of whether you are trying to conceive naturally or through a fertility treatment, there are some fertility-boosting foods you can add to your diet.
Which nutrients should I consume when trying to get pregnant?
More important than telling you what you should and shouldn’t eat is showing you the nutrients you should consume to foster your baby’s healthy growth.
Here are some of those nutrients:
Folic acid/folate: this nutrient is one of the most important, and you should consume it before and during pregnancy. It isn’t easy to find it in food, but you can take it as a supplement. Studies have shown us that 400 mcg of folic acid daily can significantly help your health and your baby’s health. Speak to your doctor about getting supplements, or you can also find folic acid in leafy green vegetables, oranges, strawberries, beans, and nuts.
Calcium: calcium is essential for your reproductive system and may help you conceive faster. Moreover, your baby will need it to develop its teeth and bones, and it will assist you in preventing diseases. You can find this nutrient in milk, yoghurt, cheese, kale or broccoli.
Iron: this mineral is essential for commuting oxygen throughout your body and delivering it to your baby. Good sources of iron are fortified breakfast cereals, lean meat and spinach.
Omega-3: the omega-3 fatty acids support ovulation-inducing hormone regulation and increase blood flow to the reproductive organs. You’ll find it in nuts, seeds, seafood, salmon and tuna.
Fibre: fibre is a complex and slowly-digestible carbohydrate that gives you the sensation of being full for longer. You can find it in whole grains (bulgur, quinoa, oats), high-fibre cereals, fruit, vegetables and beans.
Protein: it is essential to supply your baby with all of the vital nutrients. Eat lean proteins like chicken, turkey and fish, but include plant-based proteins such as nuts, seeds, legumes, or black beans.
What should I eat when trying to get pregnant?
Take into consideration that a balanced and nutrient-enriched diet is the key to having a female fertility diet. Therefore, ensure you eat from all of the food groups to increase your chances of conceiving.
Find below some foods you should eat for a happy and healthy pregnancy:
Fruits and vegetables: make sure half your plate is composed of fresh fruits and vegetables at every meal. You can eat leafy greens, asparagus and fresh fruit. Check with your doctor which vegetables you should eat as each person is different.
Bread, whole grains, or other starchy foods: choose whole wheat bread and favour the wholegrain varieties for their fibre substance.
Dairy: include between two to three portions of milk, yoghurt, cheese, or another good source of calcium.
Chicken, Turkey, fish, eggs, beans, and nuts: add proteins to your every meal as they help you develop a healthy pregnancy. Make sure to check the fish you eat because some species are avoided during pregnancy due to their high levels of mercury. Nevertheless, it would be best to consume more plant protein like lentils, tofu, edamame, nuts, beans, or other good plant-based proteins. You may add pumpkin seeds to your diet as they are a good source of iron. A quick tip: toast the pumpkin seeds in the oven for a crunchy snack.
Healthy fats: favour unsaturated fats, such as nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil. These foods can help you lower cholesterol and provide essential fatty acids. Also, healthy fats, like olive oil, are monounsaturated fat that helps to increase insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation throughout the body.
Hydratation: You should drink 1,5 – 2 litres of water per day. If you exercise or if the weather is hot, you should increase the quantity. Limit your intake of caffeine per day and avoid alcohol.
What foods should I avoid if I’m pregnant or trying to get pregnant?
Some food only contributes to boosting your energy, but it is prejudicial for fertility boosting:
Caffeine and alcohol: as stated above, limit your intake of caffeine and avoid drinking alcohol.
Sugary drinks and processed sweeteners: cut off concentrated doses of sugar. It can harm your blood levels and create disorders with insulin or in your general hormonal balance. So eliminate candies, fruit juice, energy drinks, desserts or sweet teas. Of course, you can eat a candy sporadically when you crave it, but not every day or every week.
Soy: soy may hurt fertility. You should avoid forms of processed soy, especially powders and energy bars. This rule goes for both women and men, as it may influence testosterone levels too.
Processed foods: a diet enriched in whole grains and vegetables with less processed protein may protect you against ovulatory dysfunctions.
Saturated fats: avoid saturated fats and favour the healthy fats mentioned above in this article.
You now better understand which foods you should eat and avoid and the nutrients you need to boost fertility. Thus, you can also comprehend that having a fertility diet is the key to securing fertility and healthy pregnancy.