While much about the role diet plays in the health of a pregnancy is well known, the importance of nutrition prior to conception is not as frequently discussed. Making changes to your diet while you are trying to conceive can actually boost your fertility.
One reason for this is that your body weight can be the key to infertility issues. According to the National Infertility Association, the female being either underweight or overweight accounts for 30% of all infertility issues. This is because in addition to your ovaries, your fat cells help regulate the estrogen in your body. If you are underweight, you may not be producing enough estrogen for proper ovulation, and if you are overweight, you may be producing too much estrogen.
Experts believe a Mediterranean-style diet can be the key to optimum health for fertility purposes. Below are some suggestions for improving your reproductive health through diet.
- Pay attention to the types of fats in the food you are consuming. Ideally, you want to completely eliminate your intake of Trans fats, which are found frequently in margarine, commercial baked goods, and other processed foods. Instead, seek out more monounsaturated fats. These can be found in hazelnuts, pistachios, almonds, natural peanut and almond butters, avocadoes, and olive, canola, and peanut oils.
- Cut back your intake of animal proteins and replace them with vegetarian protein sources such as tofu, nuts and cooked dried beans.
- Enhance your diet with more vegetarian sources of iron. These include whole grains, long grain rice, spinach, beans, eggs, and lentils.
- Take a daily multivitamin that includes folic acid.
- Avoid herbal teas and supplements. There are herbs, such as ephedra, St. John’s wort, sassafras, licorice, and ginseng that have been linked to fertility issues. Additionally, there are many supplements on the market that are not regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration, which means they could contain harmful ingredients.