Struggling to get pregnant? Here’s what to eat and avoid to boost your chances of conception  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
- A whole list of what-to-eat is given to a woman while she is pregnant
- But, what about the foods that a woman must have in order to get pregnant in the first place?
- Fortunately, there are certain foods that can support a woman while facing any fertility related issues
New Delhi: Taking care of your body is one of the most important steps to optimise your chances of having a baby. Infertility is now a common problem with many women having difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant. The fact is, infertility isn’t always a woman’s problem. However, a report published in the Office on Women’s Health, a part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, stated that about one-third of infertility cases are caused women’s problems. A healthy lifestyle that includes eating a variety of healthy foods, improving exercise habits, eliminating alcohol, and quitting smoking (if you smoke) can increase your chances of becoming pregnant.
A well-balanced diet can certainly help support reproductive health, although there is no magical fertility diet that will guarantee your chances of conception. Eating certain foods and staying away from others may help to promote ovulation and fertility health. Some of the most important nutrients needed to boost fertility are iron, fibre, carbohydrates, monounsaturated fats (the ‘good’ fats), vegetable protein, high-fat dairy, and plenty of vitamins and folic acid. On the other hand, some foods you should stay away from when preparing for conception are red meat, processed foods, fast food, artificial sugars, sweetened soft drinks, and energy drinks. If you’re really craving any of these foods, then just consume them in small quantities!
Foods to eat and foods to avoid when trying to get pregnant
“If you are trying to conceive, one of the things that you should take care of most is your diet and nutrition. Eating wholesome and balanced foods will provide you with plenty of nutrition that is required to keep your reproductive system healthy and most importantly your hormones stable. Ultimately, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet will help improve your fertility. A ‘rainbow’ diet, which includes a wide array of colourful fruits and vegetables, is one of the best ways to include a high amount of nutrition in your meals,” said Dr Radhika Sheth, Consultant, Fertility Specialist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Mumbai (Malad and Vashi). And here are some diet tips suggested by the doctor to help boost your fertility:
- Have plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, especially berries and green leafy vegetables as they are a rich source of antioxidants that help in cell repair.
- Intake of plant-based fats in moderation can help. Nuts, avocados, and olive oil can reduce the inflammation in the body, which helps to improve ovulation.
- Avoid all trans fats (e.g. foods such as chips, French fries, and margarines). These foods increase insulin resistance leading to high insulin levels, which, in turn, leads to metabolic disturbances that impair ovulation.
- Avoid bad carbohydrates which are highly processed. These include cakes, cookies, white bread, polished rice. The body converts them into blood sugar which increases in spikes. This leads to insulin spikes that can inhibit ovulation.
- Good carbohydrates are those that contain fibre such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains like amaranth, millet and quinoa. These are digested slowly and lead to a slow rise in blood sugar and insulin, and not a sudden sugar spike.
- Fish and meat are good sources of protein, zinc, iron. Fish like salmon, sardines and tuna are an excellent source of DHA and omega-3 fatty acids. These foods can help develop the baby’s brain and nervous system.
- Plant-based proteins (beans, nuts, seeds, other legumes, such as lentils and chickpeas and tofu) are low in calories and can be helpful for weight loss. This is especially of benefit in patients with ovulatory disturbances like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
- Reduce sugar intake. Artificial sweeteners are not healthy alternatives. Instead, opt for less-processed sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, and stevia, a natural sweetener.
- Male fertility-friendly foods are asparagus, sunflower seeds, brazil nuts and oysters. These are rich in selenium, zinc, vitamin B12, and protein.
- Cinnamon is yet another superfood, and it is known to improve ovarian function and encourage proper egg production by combating insulin resistance. This is especially useful for women who have been diagnosed with PCOS. Adding cinnamon to your diet, if you have PCOS or want to boost your fertility, is advisable. A quarter teaspoon of cinnamon consumed on a daily basis, either in curries, cereals or even raw form, could do wonders for your reproductive health. Try topping your toast, tea, oatmeal or smoothies with some cinnamon powder for a tasty breakfast.
It is important to note that when you’re eating for reproductive health, foods that can help lower stress hormones and increase blood flow to the uterus should be included in good quantities in your diet. Last but certainly not the least, water, it’s not technically a food, but it’s a super essential ingredient for egg health as well. Aim to drink 8 glasses of water a day. Stick to purified water and avoid consuming water from plastic bottles. Chemicals from the plastic bottles could have a negative impact on the health of the eggs produced. Keep a jug or glass of water by your bedside table or work table to remind yourself to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.