It’s a special and wonderful time when we and our partners make the decision that the time is right to bring a little life into the world. Aside, of course, from marriage, there’s no purer or more real way to declare your love to the world than to create a human being who is the ultimate embodiment of the bond you share. But while the decision to start trying for a baby can help to bring you closer together, it can put severe pressure on your relationship when conception proves difficult.
You envision months spent in careful planning alongside your OBGYN specialist, a fortune spent on IVF and other fertility treatments and potential months or even years spent forlornly crossing days off your calendar and dreading your periods. And that’s before you begin to navigate the inherent difficulties and pressures that come with pregnancy. But before you start prognosticating doom and gloom on the behalf of your future family, perhaps it’s time to take a closer look at your dietary habits. There are many areas in which we radically underestimate the importance of our diet and fertility is most certainly one of them. Eating the right foods, and maintaining the healthy function of various biological systems are of paramount importance when it comes to increasing your chances of conception.
It’s not all supplemental
Many women are told to start taking a prenatal vitamin supplement and a folic acid supplement as soon as they start trying for a baby. While this is very important, supplements are intended to… well… supplement a healthy and balanced diet, not supplant one. By all means use supplements, but don’t expect them to be effective alongside a diet of Oreos, potato chips, and cheeseburgers. In fact…
Avoid processed meats altogether
Yes, protein is important, especially when it comes to increasing your fertility. But in the wake of The Atkins Diet and the Dukan diet, we’ve found ourselves plagued by a protein obsession. We’ve been duped into thinking that all protein sources are equal, but this is far from the case. Avoid processed meats altogether as they are type 1 carcinogens (that’s the same category as cigarettes) and load your diet with healthy plant based protein sources like nuts, seeds and pulses. Heck, even potatoes are full of amino acids- the building blocks of proteins. On the other hand, a diet that’s heavy in meat and animal products has been found to reduce ovulatory fertility y up to 32%.
Calcium, not dairy!
Many women who are pregnant or soon to be pregnant are advised to consume lots of calcium and while this is important, there’s evidence to suggest that consuming dairy products can be harmful to your unborn baby should you find success in conceiving. Besides, there are lots of other nutritious calcium sources out there like pulses, dried fruits, rice and oats.
Up the antioxidants
Antioxidants are important in protecting the body against damage caused by free radicals and are essential in assuring peak fertility. Great sources of antioxidants include berries, dark chocolate, kidney beans, artichokes and cilantro / coriander.