Are you trying to conceive? If so, you need to know about the best diet for pregnancy. Eating the right foods for fertility can optimize your chances of getting pregnant – and this article will show you how!
Quick facts: Best Diet For Trying To Conceive
- ✅ The Mediterranean Diet is Linked to Improved Fertility – Harvard Health Publishing
- ✅ Eating More Fish Boosts Male Fertility – WebMD
- ✅ Low Carb Diets May Reduce Fertility in Women – Medical News Today
- ✅ Eating Whole Grains Improves Fertility – Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
- ✅ Pre-pregnancy Diet is Linked to Improved Odds of Conception and Reduced Risk of Miscarriage – Harvard Medical School Center for Human Reproductive Research
When you’re trying to conceive, finding the best diet can be a daunting task. There are a variety of diets out there that claim to be the best for fertility, and it can be difficult to know which one to choose. However, there are some general guidelines that can help you make the right choice for your lifestyle and fertility goals.
Let’s take a closer look at these guidelines:
Increase nutrient-dense foods
One of the key components of a diet designed to help individuals trying to conceive is to make sure that the consumption of nutrient-dense foods is increased. Nutrient-dense foods are those that are higher in vitamins and minerals in comparison to their calorie content. Examples of nutrient-dense foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, nuts and seeds.
Eating these types of foods on a regular basis helps ensure proper nutrition for fetal development and reduces the risk of pregnancy complications. It is recommended that individuals consume six servings of nutrient-dense food per day with two or more servings from each food group. Additionally, it is important to choose organic foods whenever possible and limit the intake of processed and sugar-sweetened food items.
Reduce processed foods
Processed foods should be avoided when trying to conceive. These foods are often full of preservatives, additives, and artificial ingredients—all of which can be harmful to a growing baby. Processed foods also lack essential nutrients that support fertility health, such as omega-3s, antioxidants, and high-quality proteins. Foods that fall into this category include:
- Canned goods
- Frozen dinners
- Certain cereals and breads
- Snack chips and cakes
- Fast food dishes
- Restaurant meals with added oils or sauces
Instead of processed foods when trying to conceive, aim to eat whole foods like fruits and vegetables that are fresh or frozen without added sugars or preservatives. Whole grains like oats and quinoa also provide important nutrients while helping bring down levels of unhealthy cholesterol in the body. Incorporating small portions of lean meats like fish is another way to get healthy protein in the diet without excess fat or saturated cholesterol that can be damaging to fertility health.
Reduce caffeine and alcohol
The best diet for trying to conceive should include a reduction in caffeine and alcohol consumption. This means limiting coffee, some teas, soft drinks and energy drinks. It also means avoiding the use of recreational drugs such as marijuana and cocaine. Alcohol should also be avoided since it can decrease sperm motility and quality, leading to lower fertility rates.
Additionally, men should limit their fertility treatments if they have already been diagnosed with low sperm count or infertility. Finally, both both partners should reduce their stress levels as this has been shown to negatively impact fertility rates by impacting hormonal balance in the body.
Macronutrients are essential for a healthy pregnancy and successful conception. Macronutrients are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats that provide our bodies with energy, promote tissue growth and repair, and regulate hormones. Knowing the right balance of macronutrients to consume when trying to conceive is essential for a healthy pregnancy.
Let’s discuss the best diet for trying to conceive:
Increase complex carbohydrates
Complex carbohydrates are an important source of energy for a healthy diet, and they provide the body with much-needed vitamins, minerals and fiber. When trying to conceive, it is important to increase complex carbohydrates in the diet as they provide energy without causing any spikes in blood sugar levels that can occur with simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates also contain B vitamins that are necessary for hormone production and metabolism.
Examples of complex carbohydrates include:
- Whole grains such as brown rice or quinoa, oats,
- Starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes or yams,
- Legumes such as lentils or chickpeas,
- Wild rice and barley.
Increasing complex carbohydrates may help improve overall health when trying to conceive by promoting optimal hormonal balance and providing the body with essential nutrients.
Increase healthy fats
When trying to conceive, it is important to include healthy fats in your diet. Healthy fats are found in foods such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish like salmon. They are one of the three macro-nutrients (carbohydrates and proteins being the other two) that provide energy to our bodies and assist with repairing tissues in our body.
Healthy fats can also help to improve hormone balance, increase fertility, and reduce inflammation which may help you get pregnant more quickly. Saturated fats (found in processed meats and certain dairy products) should be avoided while trying to conceive as these can cause inflammation in the body which may reduce fertility.
By including healthy amounts of healthy fats into your diet while trying to conceive, you will be providing your body with the energy it needs for a successful pregnancy!
Increase lean proteins
When trying to conceive, a woman should focus on increasing lean proteins in her diet. Eating high-quality protein sources such as lean meats, eggs, and legumes can help increase fertility by providing essential nutrients to support reproductive health. Protein also helps with hormone regulation, which is important during conception.
Increasing your daily intake of lean proteins can also help offset unhealthy cravings and provide essential vitamins and minerals to maintain a healthy body weight. Eating protein-rich foods such as fish twice per week can help provide omega-3 fatty acids which are beneficial for brain health and the production of healthy eggs.
While overdoing it on the protein is unnecessary, aiming for a 15-20% portion of your daily caloric intake from protein is typically recommended for pregnant women trying to conceive.
Vitamins & Minerals
Getting the right nutrients is an important part of the journey to trying to conceive. Vitamins and minerals play an essential role in helping your body prepare for pregnancy, and it is important to ensure that you are getting the right ones. There are numerous vitamins and minerals related to fertility, and in this article, we will discuss how each of them can help you in your attempt to conceive.
Increase folic acid
Folic acid, a type of B vitamin, is essential for trying to conceive and during early pregnancy. Consuming adequate amounts of folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects, a type of birth defect. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that women who are trying to conceive take 400 micrograms (mcg) per day of folic acid to help reduce their risk of neural tube defects.
Food sources that are high in folate – the natural form of folic acid – include:
- Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard;
- Beef or chicken liver;
- Oranges; and
- Fortified breakfast cereals.
Supplements containing 400 mcg of folic acid are also available if needed. It’s important to note that while consuming more than 400mcg per day won’t harm you it likely won’t increase the risk reduction benefits either.
Increase Vitamin D
When trying to conceive, it is important to ensure that the body is getting enough Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps regulate hormones, and plays an important role in reproductive health. Low levels of Vitamin D can lead to irregular periods, difficulty conceiving and an increased risk of miscarriage.
The best sources of Vitamin D are from unprotected exposure to sunlight and from certain fortified foods such as cereals, dairy products and juices. It is also possible for individuals to take nutritional supplements that contain Vitamin D, or vitamins containing it. By increasing the intake of Vitamin D through a healthy diet or supplements, the body will be better prepared for conception and have an easier time getting pregnant.
Iron is an essential mineral for women who are trying to conceive, as it helps transports oxygen throughout the body, including red blood cells that carry oxygen and nutrients to the reproductive system. Iron helps keep the womb lining healthy and can even aid in combatting common fertility-inhibitors such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Foods high in iron include:
- Red meat
- Fortified cereals
Additionally, taking a daily prenatal multivitamin or iron supplement with at least 18 mg of iron per day can help combat any iron deficiencies.
Foods to Avoid
When you’re trying to conceive, it is important to take a look at your diet and make sure you’re getting enough of the right nutrients. However, there are some foods that can have a negative impact on fertility and should be avoided. Let’s take a look at what those foods are:
- Processed foods such as white bread, breakfast cereals, and processed meats
- High-fat dairy products such as whole milk, cheese, and ice cream
- Caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, and energy drinks
- Alcohol in excess
- Trans fats found in fried and processed foods
- Refined sugars found in pastries, candy, and soda
Avoid trans fats
Trans fats are unnatural fats that can have a negative impact on fertility. These unhealthy fats, which increase inflammation and interfere with hormone production, are also known as partially hydrogenated oils.
Consuming trans fat increases the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol—which is linked to an increased risk of heart disease—in the body while decreasing the level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
Trans fats are typically found in processed foods such as fried foods, margarine, and packaged baked goods.
Women trying to conceive should avoid regularly consuming foods with trans fats and instead opt for healthy options such as small amounts of whole grain flour, cold-pressed oils, nuts and seeds that contain unsaturated fatty acids like Omega 3’s.
Avoid processed sugars
Processed sugars are one of the most important foods to avoid when trying to conceive. Too much sugar can cause a hormonal imbalance that increases the risk of not being able to conceive, as well as leading to weight gain and other health issues. Excessive consumption of sweets can also lead to an increased risk of gestational diabetes and other serious pregnancy complications.
To limit your sugar intake, set limits on sweet treats, snack on healthier options such as fruits and vegetables, choose 100 percent whole-grain breads, skip sugary drinks, and opt for sugar-free or low-sugar options when possible. Additionally, replacing processed sugars with natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup can help you reduce your overall sugar intake while still getting a sweet taste.
Avoid processed meats
Processed meats are generally high in saturated fat, salt and preservatives. They have been linked to a range of health issues, including an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. This is why you should avoid processed meats when trying to conceive.
Processed meats include products such as hot dogs, sausages, luncheon meat and bacon. These foods are generally high in sodium (salt) and cured with nitrates, both of which can have negative impacts on fertility. Processed meats can also contain added sugar, artificial colors and/or flavors which all contribute to a decrease in fertility potential.
Instead of processed meats, try lean proteins such as chicken, fish or eggs that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which support reproductive health.
When trying to conceive, taking certain supplements can help with creating an improved environment in the body for becoming pregnant. Depending on the specific needs of a couple, supplements can be helpful in increasing fertility, providing essential nutrients to the body, and balancing hormones.
In this article, we will explore the benefits and considerations of taking supplements to aid in conceiving:
Consider taking a prenatal vitamin
When trying to conceive, it’s important to pay special attention to your diet. Eating a healthy and balanced diet is essential during pregnancy and before conception. A prenatal vitamin can help bridge any nutritional gaps that may exist in your diet and ensure that you are getting all the nutrients your body needs for a successful pregnancy.
Prenatal vitamins typically contain folic acid, iron, calcium, iodine, and other vitamins and minerals – all of which are necessary for fetal development.
It’s important to start taking prenatal vitamins at least one month before attempting conception, as some of the nutrients in these supplements must have time to build up in your system in order to be effective. If you have particular health concerns or dietary restrictions that make it difficult for you to get certain nutrients through food alone, then a prenatal vitamin can help ensure that your baby is getting all the right nutrients he or she needs during development.
Consider taking omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for fertility and conception. Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids help improve both male and female reproductive health by helping to balance hormones, improving sperm count, and increasing cervical mucus which can enhance fertility. In addition, the polyunsaturated fatty acids present in omega-3 have anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce inflammation in the uterus or fallopian tubes which can hinder fertility.
Consider supplementation with an EPA+DHA fish oil containing at least 600mg of combined EPA + DHA content per day to support overall reproductive health. Fish such as salmon, anchovies, sardines, and mackerel are great sources of Omega 3 fatty acids, however if you don’t eat seafood a quality nutritional supplement is recommended.
Consider taking probiotics
When trying to conceive, it’s important to make sure your body is healthy and functioning properly. That’s why many couples wonder if there are certain supplements they can take in order to increase their chances of conception. Probiotics are one such supplement that may be beneficial for those trying to conceive.
Probiotics are the “good” bacteria found naturally in your digestive tract. These beneficial bacteria help to regulate the entire digestive system and promote a healthy environment for sperm and eggs to successfully meet and create a new life. Research has suggested that probiotics may play an important role in helping to improve egg quality, regulate hormone levels, and reduce inflammation in the gut – all of which can be incredibly helpful during fertility treatments as well as when trying to conceive naturally.
FAQs about: Best Diet For Trying To Conceive
Q1: What should I eat to increase my fertility?
A1: Eating a nutrient-rich diet full of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats is important for fertility. Foods high in folate, such as spinach and beans, can help improve fertility in both men and women. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon, walnuts, and flaxseed, may also help promote fertility.
Q2: What foods should I avoid if I’m trying to conceive?
A2: Limiting or avoiding processed foods, refined grains, and sugary foods is important when trying to conceive. It may also be beneficial to limit or avoid caffeine, alcohol, and trans fats from processed and fried foods.
Q3: Is it safe to take fertility supplements?
A3: It is generally safe to take fertility supplements, however it is important to talk to your doctor before beginning any supplement regimen. Your doctor can help you determine what supplements may be beneficial based on your individual dietary needs.