Foods to Boost Fertility in women

The journey towards motherhood is extremely beautiful. Even before you plan a conception, the mere thought of a life growing inside you becomes the centre of your universe. You dream and visualise a hundred pictures of what your baby would look like and want to take the best care of your child. However, before you nourish a baby, you need to nourish yourself with a mix of good diet and necessary supplements to maintain a healthy body that is ready for conception and pregnancy.

Nutrition plays an immense role in having healthy fertility and a safe and happy pregnancy. Nutritional deficiencies are often linked to ovulation issues, hormonal imbalances, poor egg health and even cycle irregularities. Here’s a list of Top five foods that you should be adding to your diet to boost your fertility.

1. Zinc

Zinc is a key factor in making some parts of your reproductive system function in a smooth manner. It plays a vital role in boosting a woman’s fertility by:

  • Egg production: Your body requires a certain amount of zinc to produce mature eggs for fertilization and conception.
  • Maintaining follicular fluid levels: Zinc helps in maintaining proper level of fluid in the follicles, an egg cannot travel the course through the fallopian tubes and into the uterus for implantation.
  • Hormone regulation: Optimum intake of Zinc keeps hormone levels (like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone) levels stable throughout the entire menstrual cycle.

Sources: Beans and Legumes are the best sources of zinc. Some other rich sources of Zinc are tofu, soybeans, kidney beans, black beans, lentils, peanuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, egg yolk, oats.

2. Selenium

Selenium protects the eggs from free radicals. Free radicals have been found to cause chromosomal damage which is a leading cause of birth defects and often even miscarriages.

Sources: Brazil nuts are one of the best sources of selenium. You can also try Mushrooms, Chia Seeds, Brown Rice, Sunflower, Sesame and Flax Seed or easily available vegetables like Broccoli, Cabbage, Spinach.

3. Folic acid

One of the best-known vitamins necessary for pregnancy, Folic Acid helps prevent neural tube defects, congenital heart defects, limb abnormalities and urinary tract anomalies in a developing baby. Folic acid deficiency increases the risk of a preterm labor, low birth weight and foetal growth retardation. That’s why taking folic acid tablets is essential for at least 3 months before and during the first 3 months of pregnancy.

The American Pregnancy Association recommends that all women of childbearing age consume about 400 micrograms of folic acid a day. Further, taking folic acid supplements reduces the risk of poor egg production by 40%.

Sources: Citrus fruits, green leafy vegetable and whole grains.

4. Iron

Iron builds the blood and helps in the formation of red blood cells, which increases fertility and helps balance ovulation. Additionally, menstruation, pregnancy and lactation all increase the risk of iron-deficient anaemia. Studies have shown that women face a 60% higher risk of their pregnancy being inhibited if there is an Iron deficiency in the body. Women with insufficient amounts of iron may suffer anovulation- lack of ovulation and a higher possibility of poor egg health.

Sources: Red meat, tofu and dark leafy green vegetables.

5. Essential fatty acids, omega3

Omega 3 or Essential fatty acids help balance hormones and improve uterine function. Essential Fatty acids are also associated with better embryo quality. These essential fats have a profound effect on every system of the body, including the reproductive system and they are crucial for healthy hormone functioning. Omega 3 fatty acids also control inflammation which may interfere with conception and staying pregnant.

Sources: Essential fatty acids are majorly found in fish oil and certain plant or nut oils like - flaxseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts etc. Human bodies can’t make omega 3 fatty acid and its imperative to obtain them through external sources of nutrition.

Things to avoid while trying to conceive:

Now that you know what you should be having, here’s what you shouldn’t be having when you’re trying to get pregnant:

Processed food, sugary drinks, excessive alcohol, both active and passive smoking and certain categories of sea food is unhealthy for your fertility and hormonal balance while trying to conceive.

Also, remember more than anything, stress affects your fertility. Chronic stress and anxiety can play havoc with your reproductive system and your capability to conceive. Learn ways to cope stress by staying happy and positive while you prepare for this beautiful milestone of your life!

Reference:

  1. http://americanpregnancy.org/app/uploads/2013/03/folicacid.pdf
Written by Josephine Joseph
On November 23, 2017