There’s no shortage of old wives’ tales (and Internet legends) touting the fertility benefits of certain foods — and the baby-busting potential of others. And if you’re thinking about starting a baby making campaign (or you’re already waging one), you’re probably wondering which are fertility fact…and which, fertility fiction.
The truth is, you can get pregnant no matter what you eat — and no matter what you don’t eat. But there is some fascinating, if preliminary, research showing that your fertility may be what you eat — and that filling your belly with certain foods (and avoiding others) may just help you fill your belly with a baby faster. The scientific jury’s still debating the food-fertility connection (or is there one?), but in the meantime it’s definitely interesting food for thought.
Bottom line (and you don’t need a scientist to tell you this): eat a nutritious, balanced prepregnancy diet, and you’re likely fueling your fertility. Make a diet of junk food and fast food, and you’re probably not doing your fertility a favor.
Kim Ross, a holistic nutritionist at the NYU Fertility Center, suggests consuming as many high-water-content, nutrient-dense foods as possible — whole foods from the earth. When she counsels fertility clients, she advises them to go with an 80 percent plant-based diet along the lines of the Mediterranean diet because it’s anti-aging and decreases chances of disease. This type of diet improves your overall health, which includes your reproductive health.
Blueberries and raspberries are loaded with natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, which help boost both female and male fertility. Antioxidant molecules decrease the rate at which cellular damage occurs. Oxidation (the removal of electron’s from molecules) damages the cells within our body similar to that of an apples flesh turning brown over time. Anything which prevents or slows this reaction helps keep the cells healthy. Antioxidants help protect the other cells of the body and slows the oxidative process. Acai Berries, Blue Berries, Black Berries, Raspberries and Cranberries are some of the best sources of antioxidants.
Like citrus, blueberries and raspberries are also high in folate and vitamin C, which can help with fetal development down the road. Berries are also a good source of fiber and can aid weight loss (women at a healthier weight tend to have less trouble conceiving), so aim for at least one cup a day.
These members of the berry family protect your body from cell damage and cell aging — and this includes cells in your reproductive system (aka your eggs). Wondering whether you should be picking other berries, too (like strawberries and blackberries?) Definitely do. All berries are berry, berry good for your fertility…it’s just that raspberries and blueberries are the berry, berry best. Out of season? Buy them frozen.
The phytonutrients and natural chemicals found in blueberries were shown in studies to have hormone-balancing properties that impact ovulation. In addition, anthocyanins in blueberries help to maintain the lining of your uterus, which positively influences the ability of a fertilized embryo to implant into the uterine wall. Studies have also shown that berries can keep sperm strong and healthy, too. Though not all produce needs to be “organic” do make sure your berries are always organic as they have thin skins that absorb more pesticides than thicker-skinned produce. Also, skip fruit juices, smoothies and jams, which can be too high in sugar and lack the fiber of eating the whole fruit.
Another reason that berries and other fruits are beneficial to not only your fertility health, but also to your overall health, is because they are high in fiber. Fiber is another tool to flush out excess estrogen, says Ross. Fiber adds bulk to your digestion and helps you feel full. It also helps prevent constipation, which keeps things “moving right along.” When you have a diet with inadequate fiber, you can slow down your digestive system, and the estrogen that’s sitting in your bowel waiting to make its exit can get bored waiting and get reabsorbed into your system, causing a buildup of too much estrogen.
Pay attention to ingredient labels: you want to aim for about 25 grams a day (that’s the recommended daily intake level for women; men should get 38 grams), whereas most American women get about half that amount per day.
If you’re not getting enough, then build up to optimal levels slowly over the course of about three weeks. You can use dietary supplements, but it’s better to get your fiber from food for several reasons. For one, foods that are high in fiber are typically very good for you all around (such as fruits and vegetables that also contain important vitamins). Plus, you can control the intake of fiber gradually throughout the day rather than taking just one big dose.
Fruits that are high in fiber include raspberries, prunes, raisins, pears, blackberries, and apples.
Some other benefits of berries:
- Strawberries have been linked to naturally increasing a woman’s libido.
- An ongoing study at Colorado Centre for Reproductive Medicine (CCRM) has been completed looking at how Acai Berry improves IVF success rates. They have found that this potent berry has been able to help increase the number of eggs retrieved during IVF as well as improving pregnancy rates.
Make sure you grab a copy of my FREE guide Trying To Conceive Language & my FREE Self-Care Mini Course. You can access either one by clicking on the title. These are packed full of information that you can begin implementing today to put yourself one step closer to getting pregnant, naturally.
If you’re looking for a group of like-minded women with which to share your fertility wellness journey, be sure to check out my Whole Body Fertility & Wellness Facebook group today!
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