Are there foods that actively work to boost fertility? Good question. The information out there, can be wide and varied, so we tapped Tracy Lockwood, a private NYC nutritionist, celebrity registered dietitian, and nutrition advisor to FertileGirl, for the lowdown on which foods, vitamins, minerals, and hormones to focus on while trying to conceive, to set yourself up for a healthy and successful pregnancy.
You better boost up on these beans! Why? Well, beans are high in iron which can aid in increasing fertility. Low iron has been associated with anovulation so beans help us get our iron levels back to normal. Also, beans are high in plant based proteins and are a great alternative source of protein if you are trying to keep your animal protein intake low. This may be a good idea because researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health looked at nearly 19,000 female nurses who were actively trying to get pregnant and found that infertility was 39 percent more likely in women with the highest intake of animal protein. Therefore, plant based protein is the way to go!
Leafy greens should be essential during pre-conception because of their high folate levels. They also contain B vitamins which are important in pregnancy health. Men can also benefit from leafy greens due folate’s ability to help produce healthier sperm. In fact, researchers at the University of California Berkeley’s Public School of Health surveyed 97 nonsmoking men who had no prior history of fertility problems. They found that men who had the highest intake of folate had nearly a 20 percent reduction in the number of abnormal sperm. Hey men, load up on the spinach!
Whole Wheat Bread:
Whole wheat bread has a good rep because it’s high fiber content helps maintain blood sugar levels when compared to the not so great white or refined bread. Elevated insulin levels can cause an imbalance of hormones, therefore it is important to stabilize blood sugar while getting ready for pregnancy. A Dutch study looked at 165 couples trying to get pregnant found that when women had high levels of blood sugar, they were only half as likely to have gotten pregnant during this 6 month study. Pass the whole wheat bread, please!
Full fat dairy is a great source of calcium, but the natural fat within the milk can also boost fertility. Full fat dairy should not be feared as being too high in fat because the type of fat found in full fat dairy can aid in regulating hormones. However, full fat dairy shouldn’t be consumed in excess due to its high amount of saturated fat. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend that we consume less than 10% of our daily intake from saturated fat.
Despite raw fish not being safe for women when they are actually pregnant, fatty fish is very good for women who are trying to conceive. The omega 3 fatty acids found in fish can regulate hormones and increase blood flow to reproductive organs. Fatty fish also may decrease stress, and in turn can decrease cortisol production within the body. In order for our hormones to stay balance, we want to keep our cortisol levels as low much as possible.
For more information about nutrition and fertility, email Tracy@TracyLockwoodNutrition.com to make an appointment or go to her website at www.TracyLockwoodNutrition.com to learn a little bit more. You can follow Tracy’s nutrition and food adventures on Instagram @thehappiestnutritionist