Your Fertility Foods Guide

 

Several clients I work with are TTC (Trying To Conceive) and they come to see me to improve their health, lose weight or just feel better to set them up for pregnancy. Some of them are dealing with infertility for various reasons (PCOS, endometriosis or unexplained infertility).  Most of them are already loading up on organic fruits and veggies, staying away from processed foods, and avoiding alcohol. Also taking prenatal vitamins for insurance. But is there actually a fertility diet? If you read the wild internet rumors, it is really hard to discern fact from fiction. When TTC,  it is important to maximize your chances of getting pregnant by eating whole foods and de-stress. Furthermore,  it is important to know what feels healthy, what feels right, and what feels good to you and your body. Learning to nourish yourself as you prepare your body for pregnancy is the best you can do for you (and your baby).

 

Whether you are TTC (Trying To Conceive) or are already pregnant. Ask yourself the following questions when making healthy changes:

  1. What do I want to accomplish?

  2. How can make these changes for life?

  3. Do I have realistic expectations?

The most important thing to remember is to eat whole foods, de-stress, and know your tribe (friends, family, and Silver Spoons Nutrition).  Having support is incredibly important!

 

FOR WOMEN:

  • Avoid fad diets

  • Maintain a healthy weight (DO NOT DIET)

  • Full fat dairy - remember with extra fat comes extra calories. Opt for one or two servings a day of full fat dairy (i.e. kefir, yogurt, cottage cheese, milk {1 cup}).

  • Increase Plant Protein - research shows plant protein offers protection against ovulatory infertility

  • Increase folic acid with supplementation and by increasing fruits and vegetables

  • Focus on whole foods and less processed

EAT BASED ON PHASES OF YOUR CYCLE

Different phases of the cycle require the woman’s body to produce different hormones.  Since what we eat can affect hormones in the body, let’s focus on foods that will work in sync with your hormones, thereby enhancing fertility during these phases. 

 

MENSTRUATION

This is a good time to focus on iron-rich foods due to the loss of blood. Women can lose on average up to 30-40 milliliters of blood during menstruation. Just don’t view the start of your cycle as a “failed cycle”. Refresh and nourish your body with iron rich foods to set the stage for pregnancy. To increase absorption of iron, eat your foods with vitamin C,  like bell peppers, broccoli, kiwi, and/or citrus foods.

  • Grass fed beef

  • Wild Caught Fish

  • Leafy Green Vegetables

  • Seeds

FOLLICULAR PHASE

During this time, your estrogen levels are increasing to develop a dominant follicle.  

  • Nuts/Seeds

  • Green vegetables

  • Legumes

  • Eggs

  • Fish

  • Avocado

  • Olive Oil

OVULATION

As you near ovulation, your body needs B vitamins to help release the egg and promote implantation. You want to increase blood flow and consuming essential fatty acids (EFAs) can help thin out the blood and increase circulation to different body parts.  Continue with the similar foods from the follicular phase.  

  • Leafy Greens

  • Eggs

  • Legumes

  • Grass fed meats

  • Fish (or fish oil supplements)

  • Water - to increase thinning of the cervical mucus which can help the with sperm reaching their goal

 

LUTEAL PHASE

If pregnancy has occurred we need to encourage cell growth and division. Continue with loading up on folic acid and increase Beta-carotene ( found is yellow and orange foods, carrots, sweet potatoes).  One food that gets a lot of attention is bromelain. It has been shown to mildly support implantation. Bromelain is a natural digestive enzyme found in pineapple. The research is limited with consuming pineapple during conception but if you want to hedge your bets, why not try it. Plus pineapple is delicious and has many different culinary applications. Experts discourage taking bromelain supplements because the dose may be too high.

  • Warming foods - the higher temperatures help hold on to pregnancy.  

 

FOR MEN

I frequently tell my female clients that they are not alone when Trying To Conceive and that their partners can make some dietary changes as well. Men can help increase fertility by improving their sperm count and quality. These dietary changes can be done together and remember support is very important during this time.

  • Maintain a healthy weight to improve sperm count

  • Increase fruits and vegetables

  • Tomatoes - can improve sperm count and quality

  • Eat low-fat dairy

  • Increase plant protein

  • Increase healthy fats

  • Exercise in moderation - research show excessive exercise can decrease testosterone which can indirectly lower sperm count.

  • Avoid cigarettes and marijuana - they  lower sperm count and create poorly developed sperm

  • Reduce alcohol consumption - research shows that alcohol is linked with poor production of normal, healthy sperm.  No more than two drinks/day

    • A drink is defined as 12 oz of beer or 5 oz of wine, 1 ½ oz of spirits

 

These tips can help with increasing fertility, also practicing other mind-body modalities such as acupuncture, gentle yoga and connecting with others can help. Be kind and show yourself compassion. No matter what road you take to conceiving, we all have our own story and you are just beginning yours. Need more individualized help? I see clients in person and virtual sign up here for 1-1 counseling and support.  

 

*Before starting supplementation, please consult your OB/GYN or sign up with me.  

 

 

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Healthy Sustainable Life

Margot Witteveen, MS, RDN, LD

 

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Integrative and Functional Nutrition + Content Creator

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 Margot Witteveen | Atlanta, GA | margot@silverspoonsnutrition.co