Would you believe that what you eat can impact your chances of getting pregnant? According to a study from Harvard Medical School, eating certain foods and avoiding others can help improve the function of your ovaries and increase your chances of getting pregnant.
The right foods can actually prime your body for conception, so you can pretty much wine and dine your way to a happy and healthy pregnancy (without overdoing the wine). Here's how.
It's no surprise the first step in your fertility diet is increasing your fruit and veg consumption. To improve the quality of your eggs, it's important to fill your plate at every meal with fruits and vegetables which contain sustenance that is necessary for estrogen metabolism AND gives your body a rich supply of glutathione - an antioxidant which reduces stress, reduces cell damage, improves insulin resistance and increases mobility.
It's a no brainer when it comes to eating greens - the more, the merrier. And this won't be the first time you've heard it. So, eat them raw or grill them, roast them or blend them into smoothies or juices. Because folic acid is vital in the prevention of infertility, it's important to eat your leafy greens which are super high in folate.
Now let's talk logistics. Weighing too much or too little can be interruptive for regular menstrual cycles and throw off ovulation altogether. A healthy weight for pregnancy can be determined by your body-mass index (BMI).
Indulging in products high in trans fats can lead to being overweight. Because trans fats increase insulin resistance and high insulin levels can cause a lot of metabolic disturbances that's right, you guessed it, this can affect ovulation. So, it's best to avoid them altogether.
But don't forget, not all fats are bad. Unsaturated fats in moderation can reduce inflammation in your body, which in turn, helps to promote regular ovulation and increase fertility. You can find some good fats in nuts, avocados and olive oil.
When it comes to carbohydrates, there are good carbs and bad ones. Eating more complex carbs and limiting the processed carbs in your diet can increase your chances of fertility. Studies have shown that higher insulin levels (which you will get from digesting bad carbs) inhibits ovulation.
Good carbohydrates like beans, brown rice and whole grains are digested much slower than your bad carbs like white bread, cookies and cakes. With this slower digestion, there is a more gradual effect on insulin levels.
Grains are also a great source of fertility-friendly vitamins such as vitamins B and E to improve ovulation.
There are lots of chemicals lurking in animal fats that are linked directly to conception delays, so steer clear of extra fatty meats and opt for more fish, chicken and turkey. You can also get protein without eating meat at all, from beans, nuts, seeds and tofu which are low in calories which can help keep your BMI down.
What can you drink? The answer: everything in moderation. Avoiding sugary drinks is your best bet for increasing fertility chances. Coffee, tea and alcohol can all lead to dehydration, and the diuretics in both can prevent your membranes from staying moist, which directly affects the consistency of your cervical fluid. So, limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol and opt for water over fruit juice or soft drink.
If you're trying to get pregnant, following this diet advice can help, but remember, nutrition can't address all causes of infertility, but it's an excellent place to start.