Nutrition for Fertility
Often, when a woman decides that they would like to conceive a child, one of the first areas they may start to ponder is their diet. For some, this can mean strict rules and striving for the perfect diet, when in many cases a gentler approach may yield better results. There’s no one diet that we can prescribe to every woman when it comes to fertility – we’re all so different. But for many of us, the stress that goes along with an all or nothing approach, as well as the stress of our everyday lives, can harm our body’s overall health.
Eating for fertility is not just about what we eat but how. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Getting as many natural foods as possible
A healthy body is a happy home for those looking to grow a child within it. Eating as many natural foods as possible is a surefire way to see that you’re getting as many beneficial micronutrients and macronutrients as possible.
When it comes to natural foods, variety is also key. Consider different sources of protein including beans, legumes, animal proteins and protein powders such as Nuzest Clean Lean protein. Look at creative ways to get more variety into your fruit vegetable intake as well as incorporating all the colours of the rainbow as often as possible. This may seem like a no-brainer but it can be very easy to get stuck in patterns of having the same veggies over and over again. And don’t forget fibre! Carbs are not to be feared and starchy veggies, as well as whole grains and legumes, can provide us with rich sources of fibre to keep our gut and the microbiome within it, happy and healthy.
Overall, studies continue to show that a “Mediterranean style” way of eating (one rich in a variety of whole foods as above) continues to help women to be their healthiest selves’ pre-pregnancy and beyond.
Covering your bases with supplementation
Good Green Vitality is my ultimate go-to. Not only will it fill any nutritional gaps, it also contains key ingredients such as vitamins B3, B6 and B9, along with a larger dose of your key adaptogens for stress support, rhodiola and ashwagandha. Also, be mindful of getting a good amount of omega 3 fats either through supplementation or regular consumption of fatty fish such as salmon, or tuna. When purchasing canned fish, aim to find the ones in pure olive oil as these will provide a double whammy with the monounsaturated fats of olive oil as well. Good plant-based sources of omega 3 are linseed (flaxseed), chia seeds, walnuts and hemp seeds.
Eating intuitively and mindfully
Slowing down, sitting down, removing work and electronic distractions and enjoying the company of others are all going to be of benefit when it comes to peaceful eating. Generally, eating intuitively is two-fold. It’s about eating with ‘attention’ and ‘intention’. Intentional eating means that we’re listening to our body’s cues of hunger and fullness and tuning in to what our body needs and wants prior to eating. By eating with ‘attention’ we’re slowing down, chewing our food properly and removing distractions from the eating environment. Taking the time to enjoy eating with others is a form of connection that nourishes our spirit as well. All these things can help our bodies to see the eating experience as a pleasant experience and remove stress from the dinner plate which can impact our health and fertility. It’s also the ultimate way to truly listen to our body’s signals and enjoy and understand what it needs. When re restrict too much, and do not honour our body’s hunger signals this can send an unwanted message to our bodies that we’re in a state of stress and negatively impact our hormones. Be kind, to yourself and nourish it as it needs.
Ditch the guilt
One of the biggest things that can negatively impact conception is stress. We have enough stress in our lives as it is and so if at all possible, please don’t stress about what you eat! Amongst other things. Aim to get as many natural foods as possible and know that no one food in isolation can negatively impact your health. It’s what we do most of the time that matters. Rather than beat yourself up over it – truly enjoy all foods, with gratitude and move on. Do the best you can as often as you can and then make peace with what I like to refer to as ‘soul foods’ when they occur. All foods can fit into a healthy diet and having a healthy relationship with food is going to have a much more positive effect on our health than strict diets and shame.
And so, while there are several things that can have a negative impact on fertility including our age; whether or not we smoke, the amount of stress in our lives, alcohol consumption and exposure to environmental pollutants. Having a healthy relationship with food including getting enough of what your body needs nutritionally are key ways to send a positive message to your body as well as to your current and/or future children! And so, while you’re supporting your own body’s health you’re also setting up some positive habits for anyone watching.
The information provided in this article is intended for educational purposes only and is general advice. It should not, nor is it intended to be, relied on as a substitute for individual medical advice or care. If the contents of this, or any other of the blogs in this series raises any concerns or questions regarding your health, please consult a qualified healthcare practitioner.