Dr. Lisa Brent, Naturopath of Marin Natural Medicine Clinic, shared her top nutrition tips for women trying to conceive. Below are 10 simple and natural ways to boost fertility.
1. Eat a clean whole foods diet (and skip processed foods!)
All major nutrients are best found in their natural form. Processed foods often cut out vitamins that are most important for conception: vitamin a, beta carotene, vitamin e, b vitamins, vitamin c.
2. Prepare food safely and properly
Similar to processed foods, cooked foods can easily lose their nutrients. Pay special attention to the boiling temperature – over boiling or over steaming can zap vitamins and nutrients.
3. Keep meat minimal but don’t necessarily go vegetarian
Vegetarian lifestyles aren’t necessarily better. A common mistake among vegetarians when first eliminating meat is to accidently deplete the body of protein. Meat is one of the easiest ways to boost your intake of protein – just beware of the risk of antibiotics and hormones if the meat isn’t free range and organic.
4. Focus on food sources
From your lettuce to your meat, knowing the source of your food will ensure that it’s pesticide and hormone-free. These two components can easily affect a women’s hormonal balance and lead to fertility challenges. Keep in mind that organic foods from outside of the US may have lower standards. Though USDA may help you choose cleaner foods, it’s better to focus on source to ensure your food’s quality.
5. Find out what affects your hormonal balance
First, make sure none of your food has been treated with spray, chemicals, or pesticides. When it comes to dairy and meat, look for labels with “hormone-free,” “rBGH-free,” “rBST-free” and “no hormones added.” Then, talk to a medical professional about testing options.
Some women may need to take thyroid tests or blood tests that look at micronutrient levels to determine what nutrient deficiencies. Pending on the results, your doctor can help you address future steps.
6. Optimize your calories: get the best nutrients for each calorie
If it doesn’t do your body good – move on and upgrade to something else. In the mood for chips and salsa? Replace your tortilla chips for another good crunch: carrots, loaded with folate, manganese, potassium, and vitamins a, b6, c, and k.
7. Keep your blood sugar in check
Eat consistently throughout the day with a balance of proteins and carbohydrates. Sugars can have an instrumental affect on body. When sugars in your blood stream fluctuate, it can have a negative effect on your insulin which can negatively affect your fertility. Focus on a more protein based diet to avoid irregular blood sugar levels caused by high levels of carbohydrates.
8. Drinking minimal caffeine and alcohol is fine
In fact, if you really love a little coffee or tea in the morning, jumpstart your day with a cup-a-joe. This isn’t a deal breaker for conception – so enjoy and don’t stress over it.
9. Be careful about supplements or herbs, especially hormones that may affect uterine lining or pituitary
Basically, women who are trying to conceive should do the same as those who are pregnant. Take folic acid, DHA, and fish oil as a baseline in the months before pregnancy. Work with a health professional to determine the best supplements to take.
Some foods that will naturally boost these nutrients include: egg yolk and organ meat (liver, kidney), red meat, cold water fish or fresh salmon, cod, melon fish. Recent studies have also found that flaxseed and chia seeds are rich in fatty acids and a great addition to any meal.
10. Become a minimalist!
See what foods help you best by cutting out excess empty calories. If you can maintain a healthy diet, drink enough water, sleep and exercise moderately, then everything else should fall into place.