Every woman gets bombarded with advice from people when she is pregnant or is trying to conceive. And to be honest, it does get chaotic and overwhelming pretty quickly. So if you are on the same wagon, don’t worry. We have got you covered.
Having a fertility diet plan is very crucial for your and your unborn baby’s health. In the case of unplanned pregnancies, women don’t know that they are pregnant until they are a couple of weeks along.
On the other hand, getting the right kind of food is critical to ensure a healthy foetus. So in this blog, we have compiled expert-backed tips on the kinds of food you should eat to maintain good reproductive health.
However, please consult your gynaecologist (or a female gynaecologist if you prefer) before consuming any supplements.
What nutrients should you eat to improve your fertility health?
Your family physician might have warned you about the declining bone health observed in women after their 30s. But did you know that calcium is also important when you are trying to have a baby?
A non-pregnancy woman only needs to meet the normal calcium levels which one can achieve by consuming dairy products, green leafy vegetables, salmon and sardines, fruits (especially figs and rhubarb) and soy milk (calcium-fortified). For lactose intolerant women, this is the time to talk to your doctor about supplements!
Your unborn baby needs folic acid to grow and be healthy. Adequate folic acid in the diet minimizes the risks of defects in the brain and spinal cord, also known as neural tube defects.
Folic acid is found in a lot of common food items such as leafy green vegetables, wholegrain bread and cereal, fruits, citric juices, beans, and nuts. Your gynaecologist might suggest you take folic acid supplements, depending on your bodily needs. The courses start three months prior to conception and continue till you are twelve weeks into pregnancy.
Iron is responsible for producing haemoglobin, which is again responsible for providing red blood cells with adequate oxygen as they reach various body parts. An iron deficiency can lead to developing anaemia. Unless you are anaemic (check with your physician), eating food rich in iron such as meat, poultry, oily fish, fruits, vegetables and grain will keep you healthy. While meat is a great source of protein, opt for lean red meat.
Research shows that the production of healthy eggs is stimulated by zinc. Hence, consuming baked beans, eggs, pumpkin seeds, whole grains will be beneficial for your reproductive health.
Magnesium is vital for converting the food we eat into energy and for the normal functioning of our parathyroid glands. If our parathyroid glands do not function properly, our bone health will be affected. Green leafy vegetables, dates, nuts, apricots, whole wheat bread, avocados, and dairy products are rich in magnesium.
Should you only focus on these nutrients to boost your fertility?
In short, no.
While these nutrients are essential for a healthy reproductive system and the growth of the foetus, a balanced diet is generally sufficient to meet your needs.
Consuming a balanced diet not only helps you to derive the nutrients naturally but also maintain a healthy metabolism.
What about vegans and vegetarians?
If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, you can try obtaining your protein from organic soya milk and other soy-based foods. Also include a good amount of nuts, pulses, as well as seeds to meet the required protein intake. Since some vitamins like Vitamin B12 are solely found in animal products, consult with your gynaecologist to find healthy substitutes.
Foods that should be strictly avoided while trying to conceive
Women who are trying to conceive should strictly avoid certain foods such as soft cheese or mould-ripened cheese. They pose the risk of listeria. Any raw or uncooked food like sushi, or raw eggs in food items such as mayonnaise made at home or cheesecakes should also be avoided. Abstain from alcohol and smoking as they pose serious health risks to the growth and development of the baby.
To sum up, here’s what you need to remember when eating for good reproductive health.
- You should make sure you’re consuming five main food groups on a daily basis.
- Your food should consist of milk and milk products, fruits and vegetables, meat and protein, whole grains, healthy fats and oils.
- If you always wanted to try meal planning but never got around to doing it, give this a try. You can chalk around your meals for the next two or three days.
- Avoid pre-packaged food as much as possible and cut down on sugar consumption.
- Do not go for over-the-counter supplements without prior consultation with your doctor. Unnecessary use of supplements leads to interactions with other drugs.
- Be mindful of your appetite and cravings. It could help to space out your meals in 5-6 small meals rather than three large ones.
Wilbert Bail is a sports and health enthusiast. He has an adventurous mind but seldom travels as he would rather be in the gym working out. He likes techie stuff and enjoys the weekend watching basketball.