Is it oysters? No. Chocolate? Not quite (if only though!). Strawberries? Maybe. The answer to eating yourself fertile is not quite as exciting as a special valentines meal. But hey, the oysters and the chocolate at least might get you in the mood! Especially as it’s a common issue that when we have babies on our mind, we can’t get them off our minds. And let’s face it, that’s not always fun. In fact, planning a pregnancy can be such a daunting, exciting, disappointing, joyful and nerve-wracking experience that it certainly tends to raise a lot of questions in our mind. So, let’s start with some good news to brighten up your day! You’re in for some unexpected benefits.
Firstly, women who planned their pregnancies seem to have a much lower rate of nausea & vomiting in the first trimester, especially the severe form of it, called hyperemesis gravidarum. Hooray! This is because women who have higher stress levels tend to have more problems with nausea in early pregnancy. And it goes without saying that unplanned pregnancies can be extremely stressful sometimes. Planned pregnancies also tend to have fewer problems with both mom and baby. This is simply because these moms have had the chance to adopt healthy lifestyles, such as giving up alcohol and smoking, eating healthier, and treating any current health issues.
And although our bodies are designed to procreate, there are times that our body decides that pregnancy might not be such a good idea right now. Take professional female athletes for example; up to 25% have exercise-induced absent periods (luckily reversible problem, I may add). And no periods = low fertility (generally, not always). This is particularly true for athletes that need to maintain a low body weight, and use most of their energy and calories exercising. Their bodies are basically saying, if I can’t even get enough calories and nutrition to feed myself, how can I feed a growing baby?
I realize that most of you reading this will not be underweight professional athletes, but this example showcases how clever our bodies can be, and applies to other health issues that may be preventing you from getting pregnant. So by trying to help yourself become healthier, you will naturally increase your fertility.
So moving on to my favorite topic; food. Let’s discuss how to eat yourself fertile. Boys, this list applies to you too.
- Ditch the zero fat options. Yes. It’s all about healthy fats here; extra virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, oily fish, olives, and full fat yogurt. Fat is important for our health and the fat free options are just loaded with sugar.
- Eat more veg. I know you know this one. Go for it and you might be surprised how good you feel. Include a good portion of vegetables with every meal, or at least every lunch & dinner. Oh, and ketchup doesn’t count.
- Swap the white stuff for whole grains. Brown rice, whole wheat bread & pasta, oats, barley, quinoa, bulgur, among others. They help maintain your blood sugar levels stable which is important for fertility.
- Greens, greens and more greens. We all know how important folate (the natural form of folic acid) is for pregnancy, and greens are packed full of it. Plus, they have other benefits such as iron, vitamins and minerals.
- Replace meat with beans. Oh I know how boring that sentence sounds. But I don’t mean give up meat altogether, just don’t eat it every day. Beans have lots of goodness in them; protein and fibre that we all need for fertility.
- Drink plenty of filtered or mineral water. We generally just don’t drink enough of it. Coffee, tea, juice, milk and soft drinks are not replacements.
- Say no to sugar. This list just gets worse and worse right? But no one ever said ‘a biscuit a day keeps the doctor away’. Sugar highs and lows have been shown to negatively affect fertility, especially when it comes to PCOS sufferers.
- Eat real, unadulterated, unprocessed, home cooked food. They will always be healthier, fresher, and lower in sugar and salt when made by you or a family member than when made in a factory.
So there you have it. I know this list may not be groundbreaking new information to you. But the simplicity in this list is its very beauty. It’s not rocket science. It’s going back to basics with food, and eating the real deal; whole, unprocessed food that the earth gave us. And if you don’t believe what I’m saying- surely research from Harvard University will convince you? In their study those who ate a ‘fertility diet’ were 66% less likely to have fertility problems. They even wrote a book about it. Of course, there’s no denying that there are many other factors involved in fertility. Exercise regularly, de-stress, get enough sleep, and you’ll be on the right track!