Does diet affect fertility? Your questions answered
Does your diet affect fertility? Learn how a balanced diet may increase your chances of becoming pregnant. Also find tips to make positive changes in your diet.
Did you know that women who eat a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids, have a higher chance of getting pregnant? This brings us to the popular question – Does diet affect fertility? It’s time to find out!
The effects of diet on fertility
A balanced diet is crucial for our health – we all know this. It contains all the nutrients in the right amounts to make our body function smoothly. For women, a nutritious diet can aid in ovulation, egg quality, and implantation, while a poor diet can raise the chances of infertility. Similarly for men, a healthy diet can help in maintaining good sperm count and quality, but an unhealthy diet can damage sperm.
Additionally, a healthy diet can also result in the following benefits:
- Hormone balance regulation
- Improved egg and sperm quality
- Reduced risk of ovulatory disorders
- Maintenance of body weight (for healthier and safer pregnancy)
- Regulation of blood sugar levels
The best foods for improving fertility
You may now wonder – What foods are good for fertility? Fret not, because we have compiled the A-list of fertility superfoods below:
- Salmon: Salmon is rich in omega 3 fatty acids which is beneficial for sperm health and egg quality.
- Dark leafy greens: Items like spinach, kale and other leafy vegetables contain iron and vitamin C which has been shown to be beneficial for fertility.
- Berries: Berries are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are known to reduce inflammation in the body and can help to prevent damage to both sperm and eggs.
- Whole grains: Items like brown rice, quinoa and oats contain plenty of fibre. Fibre helps in proper digestion and regulates blood sugar levels – high blood sugar is associated with low egg quality.
- Eggs: A rich source of protein, eggs are filled with zinc and folate which are known to be beneficial for foetal development inside the uterus.
- Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds contain fats, fibre and zinc which are beneficial for sperm health.
- Water: It may sound too easy, but water provides the necessary hydration for the body which improves sperm motility in men. It also generally helps the body to function at its best.
- Protein: It’s a great idea to incorporate a good source of protein in your diet, whether that’s chicken or red meat. Why? Protein can help with increased energy levels and healthy weight gain.
How the Mediterranean diet can help fertility
For improved fertility, try following the Mediterranean diet. It is based on the traditional foods of nations bordering the Mediterranean Sea and involves eating lots of whole foods.
Studies have shown that women who followed a Mediterranean diet had higher levels of antioxidants and lower levels of inflammation than the women following a standard diet, resulting in a higher chance of becoming pregnant.
A typical Mediterranean diet includes fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, nuts and seeds, low processed foods, healthy fats, and moderate dairy products.
Foods to avoid when trying to get pregnant
When it comes to fertility, staying away from unhealthy food items is as important as consuming a varied diet. Some food items may be a guilty pleasure for all of us, but can be harmful for our reproductive health. The most common foods to avoid are as follows:
- Processed foods: Sugar and sodium, the most common examples of processed food items can result in unhealthy weight gain and high blood pressure, making it more difficult to conceive.
- Sugary drinks: Though tasty indeed, a sugary drink is high in calories and spikes the blood sugar levels almost instantly. As mentioned above, high blood sugar is associated with low egg quality.
- Alcohol: Alcohol is notorious for interfering with ovulation in women and sperm production in men. Our advice? If you can’t cut it out, aim to reduce your intake.
- Caffeine: A daily vice for many, caffeine is harmful for both men and women’s fertility. It is known to increase the risk of miscarriage and also spike the heart rate rapidly.
- Trans fats: Trans fats found in items like fries, crackers and other packaged goods are known to elevate risk of heart diseases and infertility.
Bonus tips on improving fertility
In conjunction with dietary changes, lifestyle changes can also increase the likelihood of getting pregnant. Simple things like exercising regularly, mindfulness, reduction of stressful tasks, and getting good quality sleep can go a long way in supporting your fertility.
Is it time to seek help for fertility?
By now, we have safely concluded that a rich and varied diet is extremely important for fertility. However, if you are still unable to conceive, chances are that you may require the help of a fertility doctor.
A visit to a specialist fertility clinic in London can help you get to the root cause of why conception is taking longer than expected, and provide effective treatment. Remember, help is always available. We wish you luck on your fertility journey.