Good news for those trying for a baby – scientists has found that eating a big breakfast could boost your chances of conceiving. But while we’re not convinced tucking into full English holds the answer to your prayers, one thing’s for sure, food and fertility are intrinsically linked so having the right balance of vitamins and minerals in your diet is essential. Below is a list of fertility-boosting foods packed with the most important vitamins and minerals for a healthy reproductive system.
But in addition to a healthy balanced diet full of essential nutrients, there are also a number of foods you should avoid if you really want to increase your pregnancy prospects.
Foods to avoid
Red meat: Too much red meat increases the amount of ammonia in the body, which can interfere with the implantation of the egg in the uterus. Red meat can also be detrimental for men as it increases acidity and affects sperm activity; sperm perform better in alkaline conditions.
Refined sugar: Too much refined sugar can lead to insulin resistance, which can cause or exacerbate PCOS – a condition that affects ovulation and is one of the leading causes of female infertility.
Non-organic chicken: Conventionally raised chicken is full of antibiotics and hormones, which can have a detrimental effect on hormone balance and health.
Alcohol: Although it is not essential to give up alcohol if you want to fall pregnant, Danish research found that alcohol intake had a significant effect on infertility success among women above the age of 30 who drank more than seven drinks a week.
And the foods that boost your fertility…
The magic nutrient (Vitamin B6) : This is one of the most important vitamins in aiding conception as it regulates the hormones. A B6 deficiency can lead to irregular menstruation and can also lead to poor egg and sperm development
The magic nutrient (Folic acid) : Studies have found that folic acid can help reduce the risk of ovulatory failure Women are also strongly advised to take folic acid supplements when trying to conceive.
The magic nutrient (B12) : Studies have suggested a link between B12 deficiency and abnormal oestrogen levels that may interfere with implantation of the fertilised egg. B12 may also help to strengthen the endometrium lining in egg fertilisation, decreasing the risk of miscarriage.
The magic nutrient (Vitamin D) : A study by Yale University took Vitamin D measurements from 67 infertile women and found that only 7% of them had normal vitamin D levels, while the other 93% had either insufficient of clinical deficiency. They also found that none of the patients with PCOS had normal vitamin D levels.
The magic nutrient (Vitamin E) : Studies suggest vitamin E can improve sperm health in men. A deficiency of vitamin E has also been linked to infertility in female rats. If you’re not convinced that an experiment with rats is evidence enough, it’s also an antioxidant that helps to protect sperm and egg DNA.
The magic nutrient (Vitamin C) : A study in which infertile men were given 1,000mg of vitamin C twice daily, found that their sperm count and motility (their ability to move properly towards an egg) were improved. The vitamin is also said to improve hormone balance in women.
The magic nutrient (Iron) : According to fertility expert, Hethir Rodriguez, “Studies have shown that women who do not get sufficient amounts of iron may suffer lack of ovulation and possibly poor egg health, which can inhibit pregnancy at a rate 60% higher than those with sufficient iron stores in their blood.”
The magic nutrient (Selenium): This mineral produces antioxidants that protect the eggs and sperm from free radicals. It can help prevent chromosome breakage, which is known to cause birth defects and miscarriages. Research also suggests that selenium may also make sperm more fertile.
The magic nutrient (Zinc): Increasing zinc levels in infertile men have been shown to boost sperm levels, improve the form, function and quality of male sperm and decrease male fertility. For women, a lack of zinc can lead to an imbalance of oestrogen and progesterone.
The magic nutrient (Essential fatty acids): These are, um, essential, for a strong reproductive system in women. DHA, one of the fatty acids found in fish oil has a significant impact on sperm health. A fatty acid deficiency leads to an increase in cholesterol in the sperm membrane which prevents sperm from proper maturation.
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