Vegan Fertility Tips
The food you eat has a profound impact on your body and sense of well-being — so it’s no secret your meals will influence your fertility and ability to get pregnant, too. Rather than turning to invasive, costly or potentially hazardous treatments for infertility, more and more women are turning to more natural alternatives like veganism.
Did you know your veganism could benefit your ability to conceive? People with grain and vegetable-rich diets may actually be more fertile than those who don’t get as many servings of these vital nutrients. Read on below to find out how you can maximize your fertility with this diet while improving your sense of well-being.
How Being Vegan Shapes Fertility
If you’re a vegan, you’re likely no stranger to criticism from others who say your diet may adversely affect your fertility. Fortunately, being a vegan doesn’t mean you’ll have any more trouble getting pregnant — it just means you’re more selective about the food that goes into your body.
Medical professionals may even suggest a vegan diet to non-vegan women who are experiencing difficulties with conceiving. Since you’ll be cutting out food groups from your diet that have ties to hormonal disruption and toxins, you’ll place yourself in a better position to promote a more naturally healthy body.
Whether you’re already a vegan or are considering this switch in diet, you’ll be happy to know this lifestyle may make it easier for you to get pregnant. Here’s a list of tips you’ll want to keep in mind when maximizing your fertility as a vegan.
1. Chow Down on Iron-Rich Meal
Iron deficiency is a common concern for women who convert to a vegan diet. While you may not absorb as much iron from a plant-based diet as you would from an animal source, you have the tools necessary to ensure your iron levels are just where they should be.
As a vegan, you know there are many plant-based foods with iron. However, you should be mindful of the fact that your body may not use this form of iron as efficiently. A great way to counteract this potential downfall is by combing your iron-rich foods with vitamin C-rich options in the same sitting. Because vitamin C can help your body absorb iron more easily, you can maintain your vegan diet when trying to conceive and still receive the proper level of nutrients.
Check out a list of vegan-friendly vitamin C-rich foods you’ll love. Spend a night creating fun new dishes that pair these options with iron-rich selections that’ll help supplement your overall sense of well-being.
2. Add Vitamin B12 to Your Medicine Cabinet
Vitamin B12 is well-known for ensuring your red blood cells stay healthy. If this isn’t enough reason for you to pay special attention to your consumption of this necessary vitamin, its role in reproductive health will.
Vitamin B12 regulates your ovulation and is responsible for ensuring the health of your endometrial lining as well. Unfortunately, meat is one of the best sources of B12. But that doesn’t mean you have to forgo a vegan diet in the name of this vitamin, either.
Vitamin B12 is easy to find in any local pharmacy or drug store. A vegetarian capsule with 1 to 2.4 mcg should do the trick. Consider asking your pharmacist for advice on finding the best option for your needs.
3. Get Your Protein
Protein is very important during conception and pregnancy. In fact, studies show a high-protein diet is linked to higher pregnancy rates. Vegans have to work a little harder to make sure they’re getting enough protein, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible! It’s actually easier than one may think.
Soy is an excellent protein substitute, and there is evidence that soy can have a positive impact on fertility as well. However, you should make sure it’s organic, fermented soy to avoid excess estrogen and other health problems that can arise from consuming processed, genetically modified soy.
Additionally, nuts are full of antioxidants, fiber and protein, making them a superb choice for any woman who’s trying to prep her body for pregnancy. From almonds to cashews, you have an endless array of possibilities when it comes to your nut of choice. Plus, they’re a great on-the-go food for any busy woman. If you feel like spicing up your current dishes, adding chopped walnuts or almonds can add a punch of flavor to many meals.
Beans are another excellent protein substitute. Anything from black beans to garbanzo beans can offer added protein to your diet, and can be fun ways to dress up meals like salads and stir-fries.
4. Grab Potassium-Rich Foods at the Supermarket
There’s a reason Popeye was so strong. Want to know his secret? A heaping helping of spinach! If you’re not a fan of this leafy green and cringe at the thought of adding it to your diet, you’re in luck. Spinach is famous as an incredibly healthy dietary option because it’s rich in potassium. Fortunately, countless other vegan-friendly foods are chock-full of magnesium, too.
But why should you care about magnesium? When talking about women’s health, magnesium is an especially vital nutrient because it plays a pivotal role in promoting pH balance, muscle strength and cardiovascular health.
Potassium deficiencies are largely connected to ovarian cysts — which can lead to fertility complications. If you think you have a potassium deficiency, consider meeting with a nutritionist or doctor who can help you choose the right vitamins or dietary choices for your needs.
5. Eliminate Artificial Sugars as Much as Possible
Vegans may cut meat and dairy out of their diets. But that doesn’t mean every vegan food on the market is healthy. (If you’ve ever had a vegan doughnut, you know precisely what I’m talking about.) So while following a vegan diet may be the first step in your fertility-enhancing journey, you should also be selective about the vegan foods you choose to consume.
“But sugars are delicious,” you may be protesting. While that may be true, sugar is also not a woman’s best friend — especially when trying to conceive.
A research study found women who ate a high-sugar diet had a 92% higher risk of ovulatory infertility. Since sugar can impact hormonal balances and interfere with your regular ovulation schedule, it’s best to cut out as many sugar-rich products as possible when trying to conceive.
6. Don’t Skimp When It Comes to Water
Without water, life as we know it wouldn’t exist. So, it shouldn’t shock you that water plays an especially pivotal role in pregnancy, too.
Whether you’re a caffeine addict or have a soft spot for sodas or fruit punches, try to make water your go-to choice when looking to maximize your fertility. While you may think your current drink of choice isn’t impacting your chances of pregnancy, beverages high in caffeine or sugar can leave your body dehydrated.
Did you know when you’re more hydrated, you improve your chances of conceiving? A hydrated woman has a more elastic and slippery cervical mucus — which provides the ideal environment for sperm.
As a general rule of thumb, your urine should always look clear when you pee. If it’s not, it gives you the perfect excuse to quench your thirst and hydrate your body with a nice, tall glass of this fertility-enhancing beverage.
A note on Following a Vegan Diet and Healthy Practices
When you’re thinking about getting pregnant, you’re trying to ensure your body is ready to take care of itself while nurturing another human. If you’re following a vegan diet, you’re already off to a great start. Since a vegan diet has a myriad of health benefits that range from a decreased risk for cancer to better-regulated blood pressure, you’re already enhancing your fertility by making this dietary choice.
But, it’s also essential to be mindful of other aspects of your life. Remember to reduce your amount of stress while making time for exercise in your weekly routine. Load up on vitamins and water while getting plenty of sleep each night. You should treat your body like a temple — and you may want to be even more generous to yourself when prepping for conception.
Further, in addition to following a healthy diet and lifestyle, connect with a health professional who can provide you with recommendations and advice as you undergo this journey.
Your fertility and your vegan lifestyle can happily exist hand-in-hand. Using these tips, along with the advice of your OB/GYN, you’ll be well-prepared to soon welcome your newest little addition into your family.