You’ve probably heard it a million times, but it cannot be stressed enough – staying away from processed foods and embracing healthy dairy, whole grains, organic foods and fruit and veggies is the best way to prepare your body for conception. But did you know that some foods are actually proven to enhance your fertility when strategically included in your diet? If this is new to you, stay with me as this article is here to enlighten you on just what you can include in your diet to improve your fertility as a woman.
Before we delve in, I think we should highlight the four phases of the female reproductive phase, as this is these unique states of every woman’s cycle determine what foods will be most effective, and when.
4 phases of female reproduction
This is the period when you lose the most iron. Iron is attached to red blood cells and when you consider that the average woman loses 30 millilitres of blood during her period, it is no wonder such drastic depletion of iron occurs. You have to remember to fuel up on foods rich in iron such as leafy vegetables, meat, fish, beans and seeds. These foods are teeming with iron and protein, and fish and leafy greens contain anti-inflammatory properties. These nutrients are great at replenishing lost iron and supporting free blood flow. Also, foods rich in vitamin C are another key diet inclusion for this period. Foods you should avoid on the other hand are alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeine.
- Follicular Phase
Oestrogen levels are high during the follicular phase as the body tries to create a dominant follicle. Women suffering from fibroids are especially affected by this and recommended foods are kale, cabbage and broccoli which are cruciferous vegetables and contain hormone balancing properties. Not to be forgotten are the vitamin E loaded foods like nuts and seeds, olive oil and avocado. Alcohol should be avoided in this period. It causes dehydration and messes with your hormones.
In the days leading to ovulation, Vitamin B, Zinc, Vitamin C and essential fatty acids are an important inclusion in your meal plans. They all play a part in aiding the release and implantation of the egg. Essential fatty oils aid in proper blood circulation to the uterus and assist in the releasing of the egg. Foods to be included in your diet at this time are,
- Water (lots of it).
- Leafy vegetables.
- Whole grains.
- Fish oil supplements.
On the other hand, meat, processed foods, alcohol and caffeine should be avoided like the plague during this phase. They may disrupt and hamper the way your body accepts sperm.
- Luteal Phase.
Think leafy veggies and carrots and potatoes. You need to fuel up on cell growth encouraging foods and beta-carotene rich foods are the perfect suppliers of those nutrients. They balance out your hormones and prevent any issues with miscarriage. Pineapple is one of the most favoured foods for this phase as it contains anti-inflammatory properties which support conception. This is the phase where you want to create a nice, warm temperature for holding pregnancy and foods like stews and soups should be incorporated into your diet plan. Avoid cold foods as they constrict and what you want to achieve in this phase is expansion and growth.
Now that you are properly enlightened on the four stages you and your body go through each month, you can go ahead and draw up a calculated chart incorporating these diet options at their rightful phases. Just in case you are unsure (or just unwilling) to calculate the exact days your body goes through each phase, I have taken the time to straight up list the best foods to improve fertility down below.
- Unsaturated Fats.
Insulin is vital in the body as it helps transport glucose to the cells and Trans fat; teeming in snack foods, commercial bread, French fries and others, builds up insulin resistance. When the insulin is restricted from doing its job and moving properly, it builds up in your bloodstream and may affect ovulation. Olive oil and seeds are some ideal sources of unsaturated fat.
A healthy weight and BMI is essential in fertility and conception. Beans, nuts and tofu are among the foods that are both fattening and low in calories which are a healthy way to maintain a healthy weight.
- Cruciferous Veggies.
Spinach, Ugwu, broccoli, cabbage, kale and cauliflower are examples of cruciferous vegetables. They help in controlling the oestrogen levels in women and metabolizing the hormones. Regulation of oestrogen prevents complications and other symptoms like fibroids.
- Citrus Fruits.
Vitamin C enriched fruits are perfect for improving fertility as they improve the quality of your partner’s sperm and prevent sperm agglutination; a situation where sperm clump together, preventing effective swimming. Oranges, limes, lemons, kale and strawberries are just a few of vitamin C packed foods.
Oysters are packed with zinc. As stated earlier, the level of zinc in a woman’s body is drastically depleted during her menstrual cycle due to the blood loss. Replacing this lost zinc is crucial for the smooth release of your eggs.
- Dark chocolate
Yes. You did read that right. Dark chocolate is a great way to increase chances of conception. Amino acid has been found to increase substantially the volume of sperm that your man produces and dark chocolate is packed with amino acid. There should be no problem coaxing your partner into taking some dark chocolate to increase your chances of conception.
Fish are an absolute necessary inclusion in your diet plan when trying to conceive. Mackerel, especially, is teeming with fatty acids that balance out all your necessary hormones and boost your reproductive system while also aiding your partner’s sperm health.
Sticking to these diet plans listed above and consulting with a certified doctor will definitely see you yielding some positive results in a short period of time. Do not forget that good dehydration (water), exercise, a healthy lifestyle and controlled stress levels all come into play in increasing your chances of conceiving.