You should eat right all the time, but when you’re focused on getting your body primed for pregnancy, it’s more important than ever to be as healthy as possible. Though there’s not one easy “fertility diet” that will guarantee you results, there are things that you can change about how you eat.
In “Taking Charge of Your Fertility,” author and women’s health educator Toni Wechsler explains, “This may mean limiting consumption of refined foods, excess sugar, caffeine and products with additives. All of these can impede the liver’s ability to metabolize hormones.”
That’s a lot of stuff to cut out. So what can you eat? There are plenty of foods left that can help you boost your fertility. Here are five foods to eat when you’re trying to conceive:
Red meat. Meat is a great source of iron, which is something your body loses when you’re bleeding during your period. That’s because iron attaches to red blood cells. Menstruation is a great time to fuel back up your body’s natural iron stores. Also, red meat is chock full of valuable protein. To be sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck, try grass-fed beef, which has more nutrients than grain-fed, or if you’re a vegetarian, try some of these iron-rich foods instead.
Fish. To help ensure a healthy pregnancy, you’ll need omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s will help keep your hormones functioning properly now, and will help your baby’s brain development later. Worried about the mercury in fish? Don’t be. As long as you’re eating the right kinds of low-mercury fish that has plenty of omega-3s, you’ll be in good shape. Check out the EWG’s guide to consuming seafood, released earlier this year so you know how to choose.
Water. H2O is crucial in the conception process. Having enough water will help loosen up your cervical mucus, thereby helping the sperm travel where it needs to go. (Hey, you can’t swim in an empty pool either.) Drinking lots of water during ovulation is key.
Brightly colored fruits and vegetables. The more brightly colored a vegetable, the more nutrients it usually has. Eating your vegetables is always important, but it’s more critical than ever when you’re trying to conceive. Make sure your vegetable intake is varied to get the most possible vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants.
Olive oil. Research has shown that women undergoing fertility treatments who consumed more of the monounsaturated fats like those found in olive oil had triple the birth rate than women who consumed less. Some hypothesize that it has to do with the anti-inflammatory properties of monounsaturated fats. You can also try eating more avocados and more nuts, both of which are high in monounsaturated fats.
Of course, women trying to conceive should already be taking a daily prenatal vitamin with an adequate dose of folic acid, which will greatly reduce the likelihood of a neural tube defect in your baby.
And get in that healthy eating now. Cravings may come with your first trimester and you might only be able to stomach instant soups, donuts and cheeseburgers!
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