There is a plethora of information on the effects of diet during pregnancy, but what about before pregnancy? The foods that you eat when trying to conceive make a difference in fertility and overall success of the pregnancy, and the older you are when trying to get pregnant, the more the way you eat matters. In fact, about one-third of couples over the age of 35 have issues with conceiving, so every little boost to your fertility counts! Nevertheless, this article can be a guide for all women trying to get pregnant. In fact, it may help you to eat healthier overall! While there are many foods to boost your overall immunity, here are foods and the nutrients that they contain (backed by research!) for women trying to conceive.
Top Ten Foods to Eat If You’re Trying to Get Pregnant
Wheat bran contains several of the key micronutrients that you need to help boost your fertility. They are full of magnesium, selenium and contain omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Omega-3’s and antioxidants help to fight inflammation which can negatively impact your chances of getting pregnant and the fetus’ development during pregnancy. Wheat bran is also high in phytoestrogens which act like estrogens in the body. It has been shown that this particular compound can help to thicken the endometrial wall in the uterus. This is beneficial for the egg or embryo.
Avocados are a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. They are very calorie and nutrient-dense, so they are great ways to make sure you are eating enough calories during the day. Undereating can decrease chances of conception. There are many types of fat including saturated and trans that you want to avoid during pregnancy, but eating enough unsaturated fatty acids is important to boost your fertility. Avocados also have other nutrients like potassium, vitamin C and magnesium.
Whole Grain Bread
Whole grain bread contains fiber, vitamins and antioxidants that white bread does not contain. So if you’re looking for a healthier morning toast option, choose wheat. Whole grain bread also contains phytic acid which is a compound that has been shown to decrease risk of cardiovascular disease and reduce inflammation, which also impacts fertility. Whole grains also help to control blood sugar and insulin levels since they provide a steadier stream of glucose then do white breads and other processed carbs. Steady blood sugar levels are very crucial to overall health and this can help to increase rates of fertilization.
Farro is another grain that is great for fertility. It is extremely high in fiber and protein, much higher than grains like rice and wheat. Farro is also high in zinc, which is a nutrient that is crucial for fertility. Zinc helps with the division of cells and ensures that you are producing healthy eggs. Zinc deficiency can lead to complications during birth as well as fetal loss, so it is clear that this is a very important nutrient for improving fertility and live birth rates.
Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins and antioxidants. Their bright orange color indicates they have high levels of vitamin C and A, along with potassium and vitamin B3. Replacing white potatoes with sweet potatoes is a great way to up your nutrient consumption and make sure that your body is properly nourished. A healthy body means a higher chance of conceiving!
Bell peppers boast a high number of phytochemicals and minerals and vitamins like vitamin C and beta carotene. These are all great nutrients to help reduce inflammation and balance ovulation. The high amount of vitamin C in peppers also helps with the absorption of iron. A great pairing is peppers and hummus which contains iron-rich garbanzo beans. This snack will pack a powerful punch of nutrients since iron is a key mineral when it comes to regulating menstruation.
Brazil nuts are a super food when it comes to reproductive health. They contain high amounts of selenium, vitamin C and unsaturated healthy fats. Selenium has been shown in studies to promote the development of healthy ovarian follicles and can even boost testosterone in men. Selenium is extremely important, but don’t overdo it because high levels of selenium can be toxic. Eating 4-5 brazil nuts per day is all you need to meet your recommended allowance.
With pomegranates, the name of the game is flavonoids like quercetin and anthocyanin. These are both powerful anti-inflammatory compounds. They can help fight against environmental pollutants that can negatively impact fertility. These flavonoids are also great immune boosters and can keep your body in fighting shape even when cold and flu season hits.
Cauliflower may have an unassuming appearance, but it is packed with great nutrients. Vitamin C and K is found in cauliflower, but so can folate. Folate is the superstar of nutrients when it comes to pregnancy. It helps with cell division, neural tube formation, and can even help lower chances of autism in children when taken early enough along during a pregnancy. Cauliflower is also a great replacement for rice, pizza crust and chips, all of which are known to cause spikes in blood sugar. Erratic blood sugar levels are associated with complicated pregnancies and difficulty conceiving.
Spinach is another powerhouse food when it comes to nutrients. It contains iron, folate, magnesium, choline and vitamin A. Spinach also contains nitrates (not like the preservatives used in deli meats) and this is a compound that is actually extremely beneficial to us when it is not exposed to high temperatures. Nitrates on their own can actually improve blood pressure and increase blood flow which improves the flow of oxygen to different parts of your body. Your reproductive organs, just like everything else in your body, need oxygen to do their jobs properly, so make sure you are giving them what they need!
–Dr. Nicole Avena