Healthy eating can increase the chances of pregnancy because your diet affects your hormones. A healthy diet can improve ovulatory infertility that is unrelated to physical problems with the reproductive system. A nutritious diet is a win-win situation--it increases chances of fertility and prepares the body for a healthy pregnancy.
Here are some small steps you can take to improve your lifestyle and nutrition, especially if you are trying to increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Body weights found at extremes--too light or too heavy-- discourage conception. On the other hand, a healthy weight achieved by moderate exercise contributes to more lean muscle mass in comparison to body fat, which has a direct effect on hormone balance. A nutrition program that consists of a high-quality protein will also help build muscle and lose body fat. Like extreme weights, however, excessive exercise can disturb proper hormone balance, which can interfere with ovulation.
"Fertility" foods are the same for other healthy eaters--unprocessed, whole grains, healthy, raw fats, high-quality protein, and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. Numerous research studies, including the Nurses' Health Study, show that a diet that encourages fertility follows these guidelines:
Avoid alcohol. Studies show a link between drinking alcohol and difficulty conceiving. Alcohol is also associated with a low sperm count in men.
Avoid trans fats. Choose healthy fats and maximize their benefits by having a portion of raw fats, too. Healthy unsaturated fats include nuts, nut butters, seeds and seed oils, avocado, and extra virgin olive oil. A health omega-3 source from cold-water fish (e.g. salmon, tuna, white fish, shellfish, tuna).
Choose slow-releasing carbohydrates that are unprocessed, rich in fiber, and whole. These will control blood sugar and insulin hormone levels.
B-vitamins. The B vitamins are important for women who are trying to get pregnant because of their role in reproductive health. They are well-known for their role in preventing birth defects. Poor sperm quality and infertility in men is also associated with poor folic acid (as well as zinc) intake. A reliable B vitamin complex supplement, like EnergyFirst's Ultimate B-Complex, should contain folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin B6 to aid in the proper function of reproductive organs.
Fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants or an antioxidant supplement: Free radicals can interfere with the cells that nourish and protect an egg. Antioxidants help protect and improve female egg quality. Antioxidants, like beta-carotene or vitamin E, also protect sperm from free radicals.
Coenzyme Q10: This energy-promoting antioxidant is found in the mitochondria of all cells, including the sperm cell. Studies have shown that this enzyme can improve the function and motility of sperm cells.
Clean up your diet and habits of artificial or harmful anything--chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, cigarette smoke, or added hormones. This can have a huge impact on your fertility and long-term health.