Pregnancy is a wonderful phase of life that women get to experience, and it is a blessing to be able to bring a new life into the world. However, as per areport, around 10 to 15% of couples are affected by issues pertaining to infertility. In such cases, achieving parenthood can be quite a daunting task, but there are ways in which you can be successful in it.
A study conducted by Harvard in 2018 reveals that there is a strongconnection between our diet and fertility. So, today, in this article, we shall be sharing the top 10 tips for preparing the diet plan, if you are trying to conceive.
Diet for Trying to Conceive
A nutritious diet is imperative for our body to function properly. Our body needs proteins, healthy fats, minerals, carbohydrates, and vitamins to be healthy. Any imbalance in nutrition can lead to several health issues that get severe over time.
As mentioned above, our diet and lifestyle play a critical role even when it comes to conceiving. If you are trying to conceive, here is how you should prepare your diet plan:
- Eat food rich in antioxidants.
- Cut down on trans fats.
- Eat more fiber.
- Adopt vegetable protein sources.
- High fat dairy.
- Take multivitamins
If you want to understand how these points will help in conceiving, here is a quick summary about each of them:
Eat food rich in antioxidants
Our bodies contain free radicals that can damage egg cells in women and sperm in men. However, eating food rich in antioxidants like zinc and folate deactivates those free radicals, and helps improve fertility.
Astudy conducted on young adult men in 2012 revealed that they had improved sperm quality when they consumed 75 grams of antioxidant-rich walnuts every day. On the other hand,another study conducted on 232 women showed that higher folate intake led to higher live birth, and clinical pregnancy.
Cut down on trans fats
Healthy fats are important for the human body, but trans-fats have their own negative effects. While healthy fats can significantly improve fertility rates, astudy by Harvard shows that trans fats can potentially increase the risk of ovulatory infertility. To cut down on trans fats, you might want to avoid the following food items:
- Vegetable shortening.
- Margarine and vegetable oils.
- Fried fast food items.
- Bakery products.
They are usually found in some margarine, fried foods, and baked food items. Anotherresearch shows that diets high in trans fats can lead to infertility in both men and women.
Eat more fiber
Fibers are critical when it comes to preparing a diet plan, as they remove the excess hormones from our body, and keep blood sugar levels in check. Reports suggest that women should take at least 25 grams of fiber per day, and men should consume at least 31 grams of fiber every day. Some food items that are rich in fiber, include the following:
- Vegetables like broccoli, sweetcorn, carrots.
- Fruits such as pears, berries, oranges, and melon.
- Potatoes with skin.
- Brussels sprouts.
The chances of ovulatory infertilitydecrease by 44% among women older than 32 years upon eating 10 grams of more cereal fiber per day.
Adopt Vegetable protein sources
Swapping protein sources from animal products (like fish, eggs, and meat) with vegetables (such as nuts, seeds, and beans) can reduce the risk of infertility significantly.
Astudy revealed that the risk of ovulatory infertility reduces by more than 50% when 5% of total calories come from vegetable protein instead of animal protein. Apart from that, eating more fish after infertility treatment can increase the chances of having a live birth significantly.
High fat dairy
While consuming low-fat dairy items can increase the risk of infertility, consuming high-fat dairy items can potentially lower the risk of infertility. The following are some of the most popular high fat dairy items:
- Whole milk
- Full fat yogurt
- Whole eggs
- Dark chocolates
Astudy conducted in 2017 indicated that women were found to be 27% less infertile when they consumed one or more than one servings of high-fat dairy items every day.
If you are a woman trying to conceive, a multivitamin containing folate can be highly beneficial. The research concluded that if women consumed three or more than three multivitamins per week, the chances of ovulatory infertility can be decreased by 20%.
Multivitamins contain micronutrients that can improve fertility rates. Consult your doctor to suggest you the right multivitamin supplements.
Foods to Eat When Trying to Conceive
Preparing a diet plan and identifying the right nutrients alone is not enough. It is imperative that we know which are the best food items to eat when trying to conceive. Here is a list of food items that you should be eating, to be able to increase fertility rates:
- Leafy greens
- Whole milk
- Citrus fruits
- Pumpkin seeds
Now, let us understand how these food items can help when it comes to improving fertility rates and increase chances of conceiving:
If you are trying to conceive, it is suggested that you consume more leafy greens like spinach, bok choy, kale, swiss chard, every day. These items provide the body with necessary nutrients and minerals, which in turn boost sperm production.
Specifically, spinach is known to boost fertility, as it contains zinc, folate, and iron. These three are essential for any woman to be able to conceive.
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Salmons are a part of most superfood lists. It is because they are a source of vitamin D and selenium. While selenium is critical for healthy sperms, vitamin D can help increase fertility rates in both men and women.
Salmons are also rich in fatty acids and omega-3s, which play a significant role when it comes to increasing fertility rates, be it either in both men or women.
The benefits of milk are known to most people, but many do not know that it plays a critical role even when it comes to increasing fertility rates. It is the most popular source of calcium, as one glass of milk contains about 300 milligrams of calcium.
Astudy shows that while skim milk promotes infertility, whole milk can significantly increase the chances of women being able to conceive. So, make sure you add whole milk to your diet.
Most of us like fruits, and knowing that they can help in increasing fertility is a boon! Citrus fruits like orange and grapefruits are rich in polyamine putrescine, which, according to aresearch, has the potential to improve the health of eggs and semen.
Apart from that, they are also known to be rich in vitamin C, which can significantly boost fertility rates among both men and women. However, grapefruits can interfere with your medications, in some cases. So, consult your doctor before adding grapefruits to your diet while you are conceiving.
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Pumpkin seeds are known to be rich in magnesium, iron, and many other important minerals. Apart from that, they also contain proteins and omega-3 fatty acids, which are critical for the development of the brain and eyes of the fetus.
Besides, they are also rich in zinc, which results in healthy eggs in women, and increases testosterone and sperm count in men. So, make sure to add pumpkin seeds to your diet while you are trying to conceive.
Foods Not to Eat When Trying to Conceive
While some food items contain nutrition necessary for proper functioning of the body, there are some which inhibit fertility and make it difficult for women to conceive. You must avoid the following food items if you are trying to conceive:
- Excessive alcohol
- Excessive caffeine
- Junk food
- High-mercury fish
Now, let us understand how these consumable items can affect the fertility rates among both men and women:
We all know that alcohol is harmful to health, but it can severely impact the fertility rates, as well. Astudy conducted in 2016 indicated that women having more than 14 alcoholic drinks per week took longer to get pregnant, in comparison with women who consumed fewer alcoholic drinks.
Another study conducted on 7,393 in 2004 showed that high alcohol intake was related to more infertility examinations. Therefore, it is recommended to limit your alcohol intake if you are trying to conceive.
While excessive caffeine intake is believed to affect fertility rates, several studies conducted on this topic have remained inconclusive.
However, astudy conducted in 1997 concluded that women who took more than 500 milligrams of caffeine in a day, took around 9.5 months longer to get pregnant. Therefore, it is suggested to limit the caffeine intake to a maximum of two cups per day, to be on the safer side.
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While fast food is attractive and easy to prepare, it can severely impact fertility rates among men. Astudy conducted on a group of young men suggested men who consumed more fast-food items, including pizzas, sugary foods, fries, burgers, etc., had lower sperm counts.
It was also found that these junk food items result in an increased risk of infertility among men. So, even if it is convenient and tasty, it is better to avoid fast-food items, if you are trying to conceive.
High mercury fish
Mercury is a harmful chemical element that can damage the nervous system of a person, and it is known to increase infertility. It also means that eating high mercury fish while conceiving can be dangerous to the fetus. In worst case, it can even lead to miscarriage, if you are already pregnant.
Eating high mercury fish often before pregnancy builds up reserves of mercury in your body, and would severely affect the development of your fetus’s nervous system when you get pregnant. It can also result in the baby being abnormal after birth. So, it is better to avoid high mercury fish while conceiving.
Our diet and the lifestyle we follow can severely impact the fertility rates in both men and women. If you are trying to conceive, you should be taking food rich in antioxidants, fiber, and adopting high-fat dairy. On the other hand, cutting down on trans-fats, and swapping to vegetable protein sources might help you conceive faster.
When it comes to food items, you should eat more green leafy vegetables, milk, oranges, and salmon, as they promote fertility and provide more nutrients to the body. On the other hand, consumables including excessive alcohol, caffeine, junk food, and high-mercury fish can potentially reduce the chances of you being able to conceive.
Therefore, it is important that you choose the right food items while trying to conceive, and you might have better chances of getting pregnant if you follow the diet suggested in this article. However, it is to be noted that there might be several other reasons that could lead to difficulties in conceiving. Thus, it is advisable to consult your doctor to find out the exact cause and take corrective measures.