One of the most consequential phases in the life of any couple is when they decide to welcome a new member into their little family.
It’s one of those decisions that both you and your partner need to think about, after taking every aspect of your emotional, physical, mental and financial situation in consideration.
When you are both mentally prepared to have a baby, is when the real test of patience starts.
You keep a strict tab on your ovulation days and ensure that you’re visiting your family doctor regularly. However, that isn’t all you need to do to conceive.
You must also ensure that your food choices are contributing towards your efforts of having a baby, positively.
Here are five essential foods that will help enhance your fertility:
1) Leafy green vegetables
If you aren’t already indulging in a portion of green salad every day, here are a few facts that will encourage you.
Leafy green veggies like broccoli, spinach, kale and lettuce are some of the best fertility-enhancing foods out there!
They are excellent sources of calcium, folic acid, vitamins C, K, and iron! Apart from strengthening bones, calcium also improves fertility by regulating the alkalinity of the reproductive tract, thus helping sperms thrive. Folic acid is needed by all women before and during pregnancy to prevent birth defects like spina bifida and anencephaly in the fetus. Folic acid deficiency can also lead to anemia. Vitamin C is another nutrient that improves fertility by increasing the level of progesterone that regulates the period cycle and thickens the lining of the uterus. This antioxidant even protects the sperm from DNA damage. Iron lowers the risk of ovulatory infertility.
2) Dairy foods
Can’t do without your daily glass of milk? That’s great news as long as you’re having full-fat milk.
A study by Human Reproduction reported that a high intake of low-fat dairy foods causes an increase in the risk of an ovulatory infertility, whereas an increase in the intake of full-fat dairy reduces this risk. This could be because skimmed milk lacks the female hormones estrogen and progesterone contained in full-fat milk. Low-fat milk only contains male hormones that when unchecked by female hormones, impair fertility. Other dairy foods are rich in calcium which enhances fertility too.
Include full-fat dairy products like milk, cottage cheese and cheese in your daily diet.
3) Oily Fish
There’s a lot of confusion over fish being dangerous for women who are trying to conceive or are pregnant.
Although fish high in mercury like shark, tilefish and king mackerel are known to hamper the fetal brain development, oily fish like tuna, salmon and sardines are packed with fertility-boosting nutrients.
The omega-3 fats contained in oily fish enhance fertility by regulating reproductive hormones, increasing cervical mucus, stimulating ovulation and increasing the flow of blood to the reproductive organs. In pregnant women, omega-3 supplementation helps lower the risk of premature delivery and low birth weight in the fetus.
4) Pumpkin seeds
Carry them around as snacks, sprinkle them on your smoothies and salads, munch on them when bored; do all you can to ensure you’re including enough pumpkin seeds in your diet.
Zinc, a mineral that’s not given enough credit is a highly essential nutrient that aids fertility.
It increases the production of mature eggs for fertilisation and helps regulate pregnancy hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. It is also essential for sperm activation. Other sources of zinc include baked beans, chicken, and oats.
Eggs are a great inclusion in your breakfast when you are trying to conceive. They are excellent sources of protein, vitamins D, B12, E, and choline. Vitamin D contained in eggs improves the production of estrogen and regulates the growth of cells. Vitamin E increases the thickness of the endometrium in women with thin uterine. It even improves sperm motility and reduces the risk of miscarriage.
Apart from the fertility-boosting foods listed above, you must also try and refrain from fertility spoilers such as alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.
Practice moderate intensity exercises every day and ensure that your BMI falls within the normal range to prevent infertility and pregnancy complications like preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. Most importantly, enjoy a stress free and healthy lifestyle.
Do you have any other tips to add to the above? Please share in the comments below.