17 Jan Top 5 Diet Tips to Enhance Your Fertility
As a Naturopathic Doctor, I work with a lot of women in their childbearing years. Preparing their bodies for pregnancy and improving their fertility is a common goal for my clients or something that they are curious to learn more about for the future. It is hard to know what affects our ability to ovulate (when an egg becomes available for fertilization each month) and where to start. Adequate hormonal function is necessary for ovulation and, in my clinical experience, I have had the most success optimizing hormones in the body by just cleaning up the diet! A healthy diet supports the organs of elimination, such as the kidneys and liver, whose role it is to convert and filter excess hormones from our body
Here are my top 5 diet tips to maximize your fertility NOW!
1. Choose Organic
Eating organic fruits and vegetables as much as possible is always an excellent health choice. But, it is especially important when purchasing produce from the “Dirty Dozen” list. Many toxins used in pesticides are known hormone disruptors. The dirty dozen are a group of fruits and vegetables know to contain higher levels of pesticides. The ‘dirty dozen’ refers to strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes and sweet bell peppers. Choosing organic options for produce from the ‘dirty dozen’ in your diet before becoming pregnant will minimize the exposure to toxicity and hormone disrupting pesticides.
2. Eat More Seeds
Nutritional deficiencies of B6 and zinc can affect fertility. Two seeds packed with these two minerals and vitamins are sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Sunflower seeds are a good source of B6 and pumpkin seeds contain a high amount of zinc, amongst other minerals. A simple way to increase your seed intake is by adding these seeds to cereals, salads or even buying sunflower or pumpkin seed butter to spread on toast (it’s delicious!!)
3. Make Sure You Are Getting Enough Iron
An iron deficiency can have a significant impact on your fertility. The best way to find out if your iron levels are high enough is to have your ferritin levels (a protein that stores iron in the tissues) measured through bloodwork by your doctor. Ferritin levels lower than 70 can decrease fertility. Red meat is the best source of iron (opt for grass fed, organic), followed by dark leafy greens, beans, legumes and molasses.
4.Eat more Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are healthy fats that are great for the brain, help to balance hormones and also lead to better birth outcomes for the baby. Aim for 2-3 servings per week of low mercury fish (think SMASH: sardines, mackerel, anchovies, salmon and herring), chia seeds, flax and walnuts.
5. Reduce intake of high sugar foods
Carbohydrates that we consume are broken down into sugars that provide energy to our cells. Some carbohydrates break down into more sugar than others which can increase production of hormones (such as insulin and testosterone) – this can affect the body’s hormone balance and, subsequently, ovulation and fertility. These foods are referred to as having a high ‘Glycemic Index’ and include refined sugars, white breads, white rice and white pastas. Instead, choose low Glycemic Index carbohydrates such as whole grains and bright coloured vegetables.
Beyond diet, there are many ways to support your body for pregnancy and optimize your fertility. Because our bodies are so different, the best plan is always one that is customized to your specific needs- so it’s always best to have an assessment and receive a customized treatment specific for you!
In good health,
For more information, Dr. Kate can be reached here.