If you and your partner are thinking about making babies soon, then it’s time to start eating the right foods to boost your chances of conception.
What you eat and drink can directly impact your nutrient levels and therefore your ability to conceive. A preconception plan should not just be about taking a multivitamin. Your diet should focus on only consuming foods that are packed full of fertility-enhancing nutrients and avoiding those that can negatively affect your chances of a healthy conception.
And guys, these tips aren’t just for the woman. You also need to be eating a healthy diet for healthy sperm. But once the job has been done, don’t go back to your old ways! You’ll need all the vitality you can get to enjoy your baby once they arrive.
Fertility-boosting foods and drinks
Fresh leafy greens – Aim to have some sort of green leafy vegetable (baby spinach, rocket, English spinach kale, broccoli, bok choy) with at least 2 meals each day. This is easy if you have a salad for lunch and then have some steamed broccoli for dinner. These vegetables contain lots of folate essential for a healthy conception and early stage fetal development.
Lean red meat – Have 2-3 serves of lean red meat each week to ensure you get your boost of iron. Only have fresh, unprocessed meats such as lamb or beef and organic is best. Try not to have too much red meat though. It’s important to vary your sources of protein with fish and poultry to get a range of nutrients.
Protein with every meal and snack – Protein contains the building blocks for growth to happen. It also balances your blood sugar levels and is important for healthy hormone production. Healthy protein sources include eggs, meat, fish, poultry, nuts and seeds, legumes, hummus and natural yoghurt.
Fish – Aim for 3 serves of fish per week to provide healthy omega 3 fatty acids. Choose your fish carefully to avoid heavy metal contaminants found in some species of fish. The safest fish to eat when preparing for pregnancy are salmon, flathead, bream, john dory, sardines, anchovy, whiting and blue-eyed cod.
Complex grains and carbohydrates – Getting your daily carbohydrate intake from whole grains is much better for your fertility than getting it from sugars and white, refined flours. Choose brown rice, breads and pastas instead of white options.
2 litres of water everyday – Keeping hydrated is essential to proper health and will make sure toxins are eliminated.
Foods and drinks that reduce your fertility
Alcohol – Avoid alcohol as much as possible as it eliminates a number of crucial fertility nutrients such as folate and zinc.
Coffee – Limit coffee intake to a minimum. Caffeine constricts blood vessels which can reduce blood flow to important reproductive organs.
Soft drinks, especially “Diet” drinks – Avoid all soft drinks as they deplete crucial fertility nutrients. They contain very high amounts of sugar which can affect insulin levels resulting in changes to the female reproductive cycle if consumed in too high amounts. Diet soft drinks also contain artificial sweeteners that may have unwanted side effects.
Processed, fatty foods – Your preconception diet should be fresh and rich in nutrients. Processed and high fat foods only deplete you of nutrients and may therefore reduce your baby making power.
High amounts of soy – Too much soy can affect male and female fertility so keep it to a minimum. Soy milk can be replaced with oat, almond or rice milk; and keep tofu intake to once a week. Soy is now in a huge amount of processed foods (check labels) so keeping to fresh foods is best.