In the season of re-birth, fertility planning seems to surge as we enter the warmer months of spring. Often times I start with the diet when talking with patients about preconception planning and fertility. Over the years I have seen what seems like a hopeless situation turn completely around through a change in habits and nutrition. You can improve your odds of getting pregnant by eating the right foods. So if you’re planning to get pregnant or are struggling with your fertility, try these foods out this spring!
Many women find their fertility struggles rooted in hormone imbalances. High or low estrogen and variations in progesterone levels are challenges many women with infertility face. The B vitamins play a key role in estrogen and progesterone metabolism. These micro-nutrients also help manage moods and energy. Find a great food source of b vitamins by including a few servings of lentils into your weekly diet. Lentils are high in b vitamins- just remember to soak them overnight before eating.
High in protein, B vitamins and healthy fats, we already know that eggs are making it on the list of must have super foods. Eggs also contain choline, a phospholipid that plays an important role in fertility. Choline aids fatty acid metabolism and liver detoxification, preventing fatty liver and insulin resistance. With many people battling PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), managing insulin and fat metabolism is crucial for optimal fertility. PCOS is a common cause of infertility and is characterized by stubborn insulin levels, a sluggish thyroid and increased body fat- all factors that can prevent ovulation. Add eggs into your daily diet to help balance both insulin and fat metabolism. Four to six servings of eggs per week is optimal.
The last piece of the fertility equation is the role of antioxidants and oxidative stress on conception. This is an exciting area of research with some early studies showing the impact of oxygenation and oxidative stress at conception on the developing fetus. Broccoli has a number of health benefits, but in the world of fertility, seems to help metabolize estrogen and improve oxygenation and detoxification, creating a healthier preconception environment. Use 2-3 servings of broccoli per week to complete your fertility diet.
A functioning thyroid is requirement for a good ovulatory response, and iron is essential for a properly functioning thyroid. While the greens are a great iron source, it can be hard to absorb these vegetarian sources of iron. Two servings of red meat per week can help to boost your thyroid, solving another piece of the fertility puzzle.
Although there are many pieces of the fertility puzzle, food and good nutrition play such important roles. Trying these foods will get you one step closer to “fixing” your fertility and creating the best micro-nutrient environment before you conceive!