If you’ve been trying to conceive for more than six months, the anxiety and stress of that negative test can be exceptionally draining on you, your partner and your relationships.
No one ever really explains this to you.
I haven’t had a child, and I can’t presume to know how you are feeling. But, I do know what undue stress and anxiety feels like. So, all I can do, is read about how to help you. If it does get too much, if it feels like all your friends are magically falling pregnant with ease – don’t forget to be kind to yourself. Always seek out professional help or guidance.
If you’re trying to conceive naturally, you’re taking the vitamins recommended and your keeping your body healthy – how’s your diet? Are you increasing your body’s natural vitamin and mineral sources through food?
If you want something simple to implement, then continue reading to find out what foods you should be including in your diet to increase your fertility.
What an easy, delicious way to boost your fertility! They are an exceptional source of good quality protein and healthy fats. They also contain a healthy amount of selenium, magnesium, and zinc – which are all supplements that are recommended for women trying to conceive. Eggs also contain choline (a mineral many people are deficient in) which reduces inflammation in the body and aids in the support of methylation, which is essential for a full term pregnancy. You can eat 2-3 organic eggs every day!
Salmon is another great protein source, and contains healthy fats, Omega 3's and Omega 6's. The healthy fats reduce inflammation and promote a good hormonal balance. The Omega 3’s help to support your baby’s brain development throughout the pregnancy and has been shown to reduce the baby’s chances of developing allergies. You should aim to eat fresh Salmon twice weekly, at a minimum. If you don’t like salmon, alternatives include: mackerel, sardines or herring.
I’ll be the first to put up my hand and say that I don’t like asparagus.. even though I’ve never eaten it. There’s just something about it that makes me shake my head and back away! But, when it comes to fertility – they are a MUST in your diet. Asparagus contains natural folate and is a rich source of glutathione. The glutathione found in asparagus can help rid the body of excess oestrogen that may be contributing to debilitating period pain, fibroids or endometriosis. It is used in a process called ‘glutathione conjugation’ that occurs in the liver. The glutathione is added to the oestrogen when the liver detoxifies and excretes it from the body.
Who doesn’t love some fresh avocado! The fats found in avocados are believed to improve fertility by lowering inflammation in the body and improving egg and embryo quality. They are also high in vitamin E, a vitamin that has been found to be beneficial in improving the uterine lining and can aid with the implantation of the fertilized egg to the uterine wall. Avocados also have high levels of folate and Vitamin B6, which help to support progesterone levels during pregnancy and implantation. The recommendation is half an avocado daily, add it to your salads or just as a side to your protein sources (it tastes amazing with an eye fillet – just add some lemon, pink salt and pepper!).
Just 3 Brazil Nuts a day gives you your daily dose of selenium! Selenium has a crucial role in conception as it helps to promote healthy follicles for ovulation. But, due to over farming, and the decreased quality of our soils, it means that many nutrients are depleted during the farming process – including selenium. Selenium is also essential for a healthy thyroid and is used as an antioxidant in the body. The recommended Brazil Nut intake is anywhere between 3-5 per day.
I love love LOVE chia seeds, I find them incredibly versatile and easy to include in my daily diet. The are rightly named as a superfood as they contain: omega 3’s, antioxidents, fibre, iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium. They also contain a decent dose of protein! The fibre in chia seeds aids the liver in its detoxification processes of excreting unwanted hormones from the body, keeping your digestive system regular and helps you to actually absorb the nutrients from your foods. As a bonus (particularly if you aren’t a fan) they have no taste – so you can add them to pretty much anything. Aim for a tablespoon of chia seeds daily.
Pepitas contain great levels of zinc – a mineral that is imperative for fertility. In men, zinc has the potential to increase their sperm count and testosterone levels. In women, zinc is important for your body to properly utilize the reproductive hormones oestrogen and progesterone. Low zinc levels can lead to irregularities in your menstrual cycle and abnormal follicle development. Zinc is often depleted in women who have been on the birth control pill. Try to have a handful of pepitas most days, I personally have them on my salads or include them when I’m baking.
Fresh beetroot contains high amounts of resveratrol, the anti-oxidant that can help in age-related fertility problems. Beetroot also contains nitrates, which can help with blood flow, and therefore increases reproductive circulation and egg implantation during the conception process. If you’re trying to conceive, you’ll more than likely be taking a pre-natal vitamin that would contain folate (and if you aren’t – you MUST), folate is especially important for the spinal health of the baby. What makes beetroot so important is that it is a natural source of, fertile-friendly, folate. It’s super easy to incorporate into your diet: bake it, put it with your roast dinners, add it in salads or even put it in juices or smoothies! Please note how I have made a point of saying ‘fresh’ beetroot – the canned variety is full of table salt and sugar.
Broccoli is an optimal food choice for hormonal health and fertility, and is something that every women should have in her diet frequently, no matter if they are trying to conceive, or not. It is a member of the brassica family and contains indole-3-carbinol, which aids the body in detoxifying excess oestrogen from the body. For those with oestrogen dominant conditions such as: endometriosis, fibroids, and sub-fertility; broccoli (or other members of the brassica family, like: cauliflower, cabbage, kale and brussel sprouts) is essential, aim for 2-3 cups of brassica vegetables per day.
Spinach, rocket (arugula), lettuce, watercress (fun fact: in a study completed recently, out of the top 23 super foods tested, watercress came in at number 1!), Asian greens, broccoli and fresh herbs are absolute MUSTS for a fertility rich diet. These types of greens are anti-inflammatory, high in natural folate, the B vitamin family and ensures that cells are dividing, growing and replicating properly. Most people need 3 cups of leafy greens a day to properly support their bodies! How many are you currently having?
Tips to getting them into your diet include: putting them in smoothies or juices, adding a handful to your breakfast, including a side salad and adding them as a base to every dinner. Soon enough, eating them at every meal will become habit. Aim for a wide variety to ensure you are consuming a range of nutrients.