Many experts are confident that following the right diet could be the single most important factor for successful conception and help you boost fertility naturally, and there’s scientific evidence to prove it.
Researchers at the University of Murcia, in Spain, found that men who ate large amounts of red meat and fat had more fertility problems that those who ate fruit and vegetables; while research at Harvard University found that women who made dietary changes and reduced their intake of trans fats and sugars (found in cakes and processed foods) reduced their risk of infertility by as much as 80%! Food for thought, perhaps…
Research also suggests that couples with a history of infertility can achieve a phenomenal 80% success rate if they alter their lifestyle, diet and take nutritional supplements.
So to help improve your diet – and therefore your odds of conceiving – we have come up with three meals, each of which are bursting with superfoods, lean proteins, good carbohydrates and good fats. They’ll fill you up, all the while providing you with the vital vitamins and minerals your body needs for optimum health and wellness.
Feel great at the same time and boost fertility naturally, with these easy meal ideas!
The saying ‘Eat breakfast like a King’ has never rung so true after researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem found that those who started the day with a big breakfast began to ovulate more regularly.
Why not try a tomato, watercress and mushroom omelette, which is packed with protein, to help promote blood sugar balance whilst giving your body the even supply of amino acids it needs for building and repairing cells, manufacturing hormones and a healthy reproductive function. The eggs also contain choline, a member of the B vitamin family, which can help support normal liver metabolism, and therefore improve the hormone balance in both men and women. It also plays a central role in foetal brain development.
Beat two eggs and some ground black pepper in a bowl, then place a non-stick pan over a medium heat. Pour the egg mixture in so it coats the pan, and allow the base of the omelette to firm slightly.
Before the eggs are cooked, add four chopped cherry tomatoes and four thinly sliced mushrooms, then continue to cook until it’s warm through. Once the omelette is done, remove from the heat and scatter with a handful of watercress.
Time to hit the gym
When trying to conceive, never exercise on an empty stomach! It will put your body under too much stress, which can affect your digestion, blood pressure, circulation and brain function and, over time, other areas of health such as hormone balance and nutrient levels. Instead, enjoy a nice brisk walk or a fun resistance class at the gym, but don’t overdo it!
Snack – A handful of blueberries
Berries are packed with vitamin C, which not only allows the body to cope better with stress but can also reduce excess histamine. Experts believe this excess histamine can influence cervical mucus production and protect sperm.
Lunch – Mackerel and beetroot salad
This wholesome salad is packed with folic acid, thanks to the beetroot and vitamin D. Studies show that women lacking in vitamin D take longer to get pregnant – missing out on the vitamin is also linked to poorer outcomes with IVF.
Foods high in antioxidants, like leafy greens, are also helpful for inflammatory conditions such as fibroids or endometriosis.
A study by Yale University took vitamin D measurements from 67 infertile women and found that only 7% of them had normal levels, while the other 93% had either insufficient of clinical deficiency. They also found that none of the patients with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) had normal vitamin D levels.
Put half a tablespoon of horseradish sauce and crème fraîche in a bowl with three baby beetroots and gently toss together.
Arrange your salad leaves on your plate, then add the beetroot mixture. Finish by scattering a flaked mackerel fillet over the top and serve with a slice of buttered wholemeal loaf.
Snack – Mashed avocado on two oatcakes with a drizzle of olive oil
Oatcakes are not only tasty and filling but are also a great source of natural fibre, something which can keep at bay afternoon cravings, therefore stopping you from indulging in sugary treats. A study also found that women who ate monounsaturated fats – which can be found in the likes of avocado and olive oil – were over three times more likely to get pregnant after IVF than those who have had little monounsaturated fat intake.
When it comes to dinner, fertility specialist Emma Cannon suggests that women should eat their last meal no later than 7.30pm.
“This is because the body needs a chance to rest and repair overnight, and if we eat late or take on board food that is hard to digest, the food sits in the intestines and ferments, causing general inflammation in the pelvic cavity.”
We recommend this delicious salmon fillet with brown rice and peas as a good meal to finish the day. The salmon is packed with omega 3 and essential fatty acids, which will help to balance your blood sugar levels, particularly if you have PCOS. It also helps to control inflammation, which may interfere with getting pregnant (and staying pregnant!).
The peas contain zinc, which have been shown to boost sperm levels, improve the form, function and quality of male sperm and help balance a women’s oestrogen and progesterone levels, while brown rice contains selenium, which improves low sperm count and reduces oxidative damage associated with chromosome breakage and miscarriage.
To top it all off, this meal is rich in magnesium, the most powerful relaxation mineral available, which can reduce stress and help you sleep. Enjoy!
Before bed – wind down with some yoga
You can have the best diet in the world but if your body is stressed you will never be properly nourished! Just 10 minutes of light stretching is enough to lower your stress levels and encourage your body to wind down for a good night’s sleep. A cup of camomile tea with a spoonful of honey will also help you drop off whilst ensuring your blood sugar levels stay stable throughout the night, so you won’t wake up hungry.