By Susan Heckler
If motherhood is on your mind, the sooner you prep your body for growing a healthy baby-to-be, the better! There are actually foods you can add to your diet that may make conception easier.
There are many possible reasons for infertility, and then there are the unexplained issues. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health published findings from a study of more than 18,000 women tracked over an eight-year period to determine if their diet was influential in their ability to conceive.
Their research concluded that women who ate foods containing greater quantities of trans fats, animal proteins and carbohydrates, along with other contributing dietary factors, were more likely to have an ovulatory disorder. This ovulation problem is responsible for about 20 percent of women seeking help in becoming pregnant.
If you find you are not ovulating or are not on a regular cycle, you may want to try:
Alternate protein sources such as vegetable protein sources. • Add some high-fat dairy • Don’t forget your vitamins
Some suggested super food ideas that can tip your fertility scales in your favor:
Brown rice is a good source of complex carbohydrates and folic acid. In a six-year study of 18,000 Harvard nurses, those who chose white rice were 92% more likely to experience infertility compared with those who ate brown rice. Three servings a week is recommended for overall good health.
Whole milk contains a good amount of calcium, which is great for reproductive health as well as your bones. The extra fat you don’t get from skim or low-fat is needed for pregnancy. One serving of whole milk or full-fat ice cream, yogurt or cottage cheese in your diet will give your body the required calcium.
A study done at the Harvard School of Public Health concluded that higher consumption of monounsaturated fat, such as olive oil is directly associated to higher odds of childbirth.
Vitamin C-enriched foods are essential for women planning a pregnancy. Broccoli is loaded with B vitamins as well as calcium, iron, and zinc. Broccoli can help boost fertility due to its high content of vitamin C. Vitamin C also improves sperm quality and protects sperm from DNA damage.
According to the Centers for Disease Control’s Assisted Reproductive Technology report, low levels of zinc in women have been directly linked to miscarriage in the early stages of a pregnancy. Oysters are an excellent source of zinc for Moms to be and in males, zinc helps increase testosterone and semen levels.
A Yale University study concluded infertile women often suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Eggs contain vitamin D, are rich in antioxidants and carotenoids that boost fertility in women. You can safely enjoy up to six eggs per week if you do not have a weight issue.
Salmon has a high content of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help regulate reproductive hormones, increase blood ow to reproductive organs, and even minimize your stress. Selenium is a mineral that produces antioxidants, which protect the eggs and sperm from free radicals. Have a serving of oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, and anchovies into your diet two to three times a week.
Black beans are high in fiber that helps regulate blood sugar levels, which helps reduce fertility issues such as polycystic ovary syndrome and immunological issues while helping a healthy hormonal balance. This is a vegetable protein which, according to a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology can make you more fertile. Black beans contain folate, manganese, protein, magnesium, and iron.
Almonds is one of the best super foods as it contains vitamin E. A diet high in vitamin E has been shown to improve sperm health in men and a deficiency in women can be one cause of infertility. Vitamin E is also an important antioxidant that helps protect DNA in sperm and eggs.
Avocados boost fertility as it is high in folic acid, monounsaturated fat and good enzymes. The monounsaturated fat in avocado helps regulate the hormones involved in reproduction and increase your chances of conceiving.
You can increase your chances of conceiving by reducing your stress, sleeping properly, drinking plenty of water, exercising regularly, managing your weight, quitting smoking and avoiding alcohol.