Preconception nutrition research has shown that food and healthy nutrition are tied to fertility health in both women and men. Additionally, there are substances that can hinder fertility.
Pre-pregnancy Diet for Increasing Your Fertility
Oysters contain high levels of zinc – a nutrient that contributes to semen and testosterone production in men, and ovulation and fertility in women. There are several studies that indicate that deficiencies in zinc affect both male and female fertility. Maintaining the recommended dietary allowance of zinc (15 mg a day) can help keep your reproductive system functioning well.
The Nutritional Rule
Maintaining a diet composed of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and dairy products should provide you with the recommended dietary allowance of vitamins and minerals for proper reproductive functioning.
Preconception Nutrition Preparation
Begin making healthy changes 3 months to a year before you conceive. Evidence shows that healthy nutrition and fertility is linked in both men and women. Below is a list of suggestions for healthy nutrition prior to conception:
- Folic Acid: The U.S. Public Health Service recommends that women of childbearing age obtain 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) of folate or folic acid each day. This B vitamin helps reduce a baby’s risk of neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida. If your family has a history of neural tube defects, your doctor may increase your daily intake. Folic acid may be obtained naturally through leafy, dark green vegetables (i.e. spinach), citrus fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and fortified bread and cereals. These foods can be supplemented with a prenatal vitamin which usually contains 800mcg of folic acid.
- Calcium: It is recommended that women get at least 1,000 mg (three 8 oz glasses of skim milk) of calcium a day if they are considering getting pregnant. Calcium may be obtained from natural sources such as low-fat yogurt, canned salmon, sardines, rice, and cheese.
- Supplements & Vitamins: In addition to a healthy diet, many healthcare providers will encourage you to take supplements to increase the probability that you get all the nutrients you need. Fairhaven Health provides high-quality supplements to help you achieve conception.
- Caffeine: It is important to wean yourself off of caffeine (including chocolate), as research has shown that more than 200-300 milligrams of caffeine per day may reduce fertility by 27 percent. Caffeine also hinders the body’s ability to absorb iron and calcium.
- Things to Remove: Artificial sweeteners, alcohol, recreational drugs, cigarettes and second-hand smoke all have the potential of harming your soon to be conceived baby.
Want to Know More?
- Things to Know About Ovulation
- Track Your Ovulation
- How to Get Pregnant
- Preconception Health for Women
- Signs of Ovulation