EATING FOR YOUR CHILDREN
body and reproductive system. The building blocks for
hormones are found in the foods we eat. Antioxidants which
help to protect the egg and sperm from free radicals are
found in the foods that we eat. Just as nutrients in food can
be helpful for fertility, there are some foods and chemicals
added to foods that can be harmful for your healthy and
Drink lots of clean water:
Be sure to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of
clean, purified or filtered water daily. It is best to avoid
bottled water as some of the plastics in the bottle can
contribute to hormonal imbalance due to there estrogen
mimicking chemicals. The best waters to choose from are
reverse osmosis and distilled. Avoid tap water, as many
recent studies have shown tap water to be laced with
harmful pesticides from agricultural runoff.
Antioxidants, Vitamins & Minerals for Fertility:
Vitamin D is needed to help the body create sex
hormones which in turn affects ovulation and hormonal
balance. Yale University School of Medicine conducted a
study of 67 infertile women, where it was discovered that a
mere 7% had normal Vitamin D levels . There are loads of vitamin D in eggs, fatty fish, dairy, and cod liver oil. You
can also get vitamin D from sitting out in the sun for 15 to
20 minutes per day. But absorption is impacted by the
darkness of your skin.
Has been shown in studies to improve sperm
health and motility in men. Studies have shown a diet
deficient in Vitamin E to be a cause of infertility in rats. The
meaning of the name for vitamin E ‘Tocopherol’ literally
means to bear young. Vitamin E is also an important
antioxidant to help protect sperm and egg DNA integrity.
Vitamin E could be gotten from sunflower seeds, almonds, olives, spinach, papaya, dark leafy greens.
production, CoQ10 has also been shown in studies to
increase ova (egg) and sperm health. It is necessary for
sperm motility in semen. It is also an important nutrient
that helps to protect cells from free radical damage;
protecting DNA. It is found in seafood and organ meats, though it is very difficult to obtain through the diet. CoQ10 Ubiquinol supplementation is the best way to obtain CoQ10. Amounts in the body decline with age.
Vitamin C improves hormone levels and increases fertility in women with luteal phase defect, according to a study published in “Fertility and Sterility”. As for men, vitamin C has been shown to improve sperm quality and protect sperm from DNA damage; helping to reduce the change of miscarriage and chromosomal problems. Vitamin C also appears to keep sperm from clumping together, making them more motile. They are abundant in plants and fruits including red
peppers, broccoli, cranberries, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes,
and citrus fruit.
Lipoic acid is a very important antioxidant because it not only helps to protect the female reproductive organs and has been shown to improve sperm quality and motility but it also helps the body to continually re-use the antioxidants in the body.
There are small amounts found in potatoes, spinach
and red meat.
Vitamin B6 may be used as a hormone regulator. It also
helps to regulate blood sugars, alleviates PMS, and may be
useful in relieving symptoms of morning sickness. B6 has
also been shown to help with Luteal Phase Defect.
Food sources: Tuna, banana, turkey, liver, salmon, cod,
spinach, bell peppers, and turnip greens, collard greens,
garlic, cauliflower, mustard greens, celery, cabbage,
asparagus, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, chard.
Vitamin B12 has been shown to improve sperm quality
and production. It also may help to boost the endometrium
lining in egg fertilization, decreasing the chances of
miscarriage. Some studies have found that a deficiency of
B12 may increase the chances of irregular ovulation, and in
severe cases stop ovulation altogether. They are found in abundance in sea food, beef, lamb, cheese, eggs.
Found inliver, lentils, pinto beans, garbanzo beans,
asparagus, spinach, black beans, navy beans, kidney
beans, collard greens, Folate are perhaps one of the best known vitamins necessary for pregnancy is folic acid. This vitamin helps prevent neural tube defects as well as congenital heart defects, cleft lips, limb defects, and urinary tract anomalies in developing fetuses.
*Deficiency in folic acid may increase the risk of going into preterm delivery, infant low birth weight and fetal growth retardation.
*Deficiency may also increase the homocysteine level in the blood, which can lead to spontaneous abortion and pregnancy complications, such as placental abruption and pre-eclampsia.
Studies have shown that women who do not get
sufficient amounts of iron may suffer anovulation (lack of
ovulation) and possibly poor egg health, which can inhibit
pregnancy at a rate 60% higher than those with sufficient
iron stores in their blood. Common sources Lentils, spinach, kidney beans, pumpkin seeds (raw), venison, garbanzo beans,
navy beans, molasses, beef and muscle meat.
An antioxidant that helps to protect the eggs and
sperm from free radicals. Free radicals can cause
chromosomal damage which is known to be a cause of
miscarriages and birth defects. Selenium is also necessary
for the creation of sperm. In studies men with low sperm
counts have also been found to have low levels of selenium.
Food sources: Liver, snapper, cod, halibut, tuna, salmon,
sardines, shrimp, crimini mushrooms, turkey, Brazil nuts
(just one nut contains nearly 100% of the RDA for
In women, zinc works with more than 300 different
enzymes in the body to keep things working well. Without it,
your cells can not divide properly; the estrogen and
progesterone levels can get out of balance and your
reproductive system may not be fully functioning. This makes it the most important nutrient for fertility. Zinc is necessary for your body to ‘attract and hold’ (utilise efficiently) the reproductive hormones, oestrogen and progesterone.
Low levels of zinc have been directly linked to miscarriage in the early stages of a pregnancy, according to The Centers for
Disease Control’s Assisted Reproductive Technology
In men zinc is considered one of the most important trace
minerals to date for male fertility; increasing zinc levels in
infertile men has been shown to boost sperm levels;
improve the form, function and quality of male sperm and
decrease male infertility. It can be gotten from calf liver, oysters, beef, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, turkey and green peas. Zinc can be damaged by cooking so it is important
to eat some foods high in zinc in their raw forms.
Essential Fatty Acids:
Omega-3 acids have been shown to
help fertility by helping to regulate hormones in the body,
increase cervical mucous, promote ovulation and overall
improve the quality of the uterus by increasing the blood
flow to the reproductive organs.
Omega-3 fats also contain two acids that are crucial to
good health: DHA and EPA. These two acids have been
shown to help many forms of disease. Low levels of DHA
have been linked to depression and other mental health
issues. During pregnancy, a lack of DHA may be associated
with premature birth, low birth weight and hyperactivity in
Omega-3s are important for a baby’s brain and eye development and have many other pregnancy-related benefits, including lowering your risk ofpreterm birth, reducing your chance of pre-eclampsia, and easing depression. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in a variety of marine- and plant-based sources. Just remember that the omega-3s in seafood have long-chain fatty acids that plant-based omega-3s (like walnuts and flaxseed) don’t. To get the most out of omega-3s, eat cold water fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, or herring a couple of times a week.
A wide variety of fats are very important for fertility and the
development of the fetus. Not only are essential fatty acids
important but saturated fats and cholesterol are important
as well. Cholesterol is a pre-curser to all hormones
produced in the body including progesterone. Just make
sure it is from the right foods like coconut oil, grass-fed
meats, fish, nuts and seeds and avoid hydrogenated oils
and vegetable oils cooked at high heat.
Eating healthy amounts of protein from a wide variety of
sources is an important part of a healthy fertility diet as
amino acids are the building blocks for cells in the body.
Make sure to include both animal sources and vegetable
sources of protein daily and not more than 60g per day.
Fiber helps assist the body in getting rid of excess estrogen
and xenohormones in the system and keeps your digestive
tract functioning properly.
Avoid Soy-based Foods:
Soy foods have been shown to contain estrogen mimicking properties. It is best to avoid processed soy foods such as soy milk, soy burgers, soy protein powder, soy chips, soy meats, and soy cheeses to avoid a negative impact on your hormonal balance. If you have hypothyroidism avoid soy completely.
Watch your weight
Unhealthy food intake—whether too much or too little—has been recognized as a contributing factor toinfertilityfor many years. Too little or too much weight can make your reproductive cycle irregular. That causes you to ovulate only now and then, or not at all.ovariesand fat cells regulate estrogen, which affect ovulation.
The research on whether caffeine can affect fertility is mixed. Experts generally agree that low to moderate caffeine consumption (less than 300 milligrams a day, or about two 8-ounce mugs of coffee) won’t get in the way of getting pregnant. The American Pregnancy Association says that caffeine can also hinder your body’s ability to absorb iron and calcium, and advises giving it a pass.
Rethink refined carbohydrates:
Lots of refined carbohydrates, like white bread, pasta, and white rice, won’t directly lower your likelihood of getting pregnant but they will shortchange your body.
The refining process strips key nutrients from grains. Among those lost are several that boost fertility, such as antioxidants, B vitamins, chromium and iron. A woman trying to conceive should pack her diet with as many nutrient-rich foods as possible, and whole grains are a great place to start, says nutrition specialist Stadd.
If you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the most common cause of infertility in women, pay extra attention to whole grains. PCOS is a hormonal imbalance that can get worse when insulin levels in the bloodstream surge. The main culprits behind big insulin spikes are refined carbohydrates.
Fertility specialist Leondires explains that when women with PCOS eat too many refined carbohydrates, insulin flows into the blood, feeds back to the ovaries, and can lead to irregular ovulation.
Alcohol will affect both you and your partner. In fact, drinking any alcohol at all can reduce your fertility by half – and the more you drink, the less likely you are to conceive. One study showed that women who drank less than 5 units of alcohol a week (equal to five glasses of wine) were twice as likely to get pregnant within six-months compared with those who drank more. Research has also shown that drinking alcohol causes a decrease in sperm count, an increase in abnormal sperm and a lower proportion of motile sperm. Alcohol also inhibits the body’s absorption of nutrients such as zinc, which is one of the most important minerals for male fertility.
I wish you the very best of luck!
The author Prince
Hi, I’m Prince.. a registered Dietitian, an avid reader and a passionate writer. I hope you enjoy my articles as much as I enjoy writing them