Anyone can be challenged in having a family. Infertility does not discriminate- millions of Americans are affected regardless of their race, sexuality, religion or socioeconomic status.
I am often asked by patients, “what can I do to help become better prepared for pregnancy and improve my chances?” Diet – eating the right foods – can help improve the chances of a successful conception for both women and men.
In general terms, the Mediterranean diet that has been identified as the most “fertility friendly.” General guidelines include:
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
- Remember portion control
- Eat more whole foods
- Aim for at least 5 servings fruits and vegetable daily
- Hydrate with filtered water (~ ten 8-ounce cups per day)
- Limit foods with sugars and simple starches.
- Avoid processed foods/food products
- Choose foods rich in monounsaturated fats – olive, canola, peanut, sesame and sunflower oils; avocados
Here are 10 tips for improving your diet to optimize your fertility.
- Nuts nutritionally dense food! Almonds: High in fiber, B vitamins, Vitamin C, and zinc. Walnuts: High in fiber, zinc, and magnesium. A vegetarian source of omega-3’s. May improve sperm function and quality. Brazil nuts contain selenium which may improve both egg and sperm quality. (I recommend 1-2 teaspoons daily.)
- Lentils: A plant-based source of protein, iron, zinc, and fiber. 1 cup of cooked lentils provides 90% of your daily folate requirements.
- Cinnamon: A favorable spice, cinnamon is an antioxidant, that may help lower blood sugar. (I recommend 1/2 -1 teaspoon daily.) Could be helpful in women with insulin resistance (PCOS) to regulate periods.
- Leafy Greens: Spinach, romaine, arugula, broccoli, and other dark leafy greens are high in folate, Vitamin B6, and iron. (I recommend 1-2 cups daily.)
- Berries: contain natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, High in fiber, folate and vitamin C, Buy Organic! Berries can be eaten alone, placed in a smoothie or yogurt, or even added to a salad (I recommend 1 cup daily.)
- Quinoa: A gluten-free whole grain source of carbohydrate and protein. It is rich in folate and zinc. A serving size is 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa.
- Avocado: Avocados are nutrient dense with folate (folic acid), healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamin C, K, additional B vitamins, potassium, and other minerals and fiber. (serving size is typically 1/3 of a medium avocado)
- Carrots: Rich in beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin K, and potassium. The carotenoids in carrots have been demonstrated to improve sperm motility (movement). A single carrot daily meets the daily recommended Vitamin A requirement.
- Salmon: an excellent source of protein, omega-3’s fatty acids including DHA and Vitamin D. Consume 12 ounces a week
- Citrus fruit: A good source of vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and folate. (I recommend 1 serving daily.)
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