What should you be eating to boost fertility?
Could going low carb mean a higher rate of conception?
You are what you eat, and so is your baby-to-be. Long before trying for that magical positive pregnancy test moment, a dietary intervention might be in order. Use these 5 nutrition tips to increase your fertility, naturally.
Why you (both) should focus on food
Centering your meals on real food may influence the time it takes to conceive–not to mention the positive effect it has on momma and baby.
Gals, get the guys in on the food improvement train, too since studies show lifestyle factors like diet can improve sperm quality and male fertility. [efn_note] “Diet and men’s fertility: does diet affect sperm quality? – NCBI.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30196939. Accessed 8 Dec. 2018. [/efn_note] [efn_note] “Dietary patterns, foods and nutrients in male fertility parameters … – NCBI.” 1 Jul. 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28333357. Accessed 8 Dec. 2018. [/efn_note]
Macronutrients for Hormones
Protein, carbohydrates and fat are the three macronutrients. For optimal hormonal health, you want clean, hormone-synthesizing protein, blood sugar-stabilizing carbohydrates and cell-supporting fats.
You’re already striving to incorporate anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense foods in your preconception meals, but have you considered your the macronutrient profile of your diet?
1. Choose carbs that balance blood sugar
Just say no to foods that cause a hormonal roller coaster. Avoid alcohol, sugar, refined grains and processed foods.
Lower insulin to lower inflammation
Insulin, a blood sugar regulating hormone, increases with consumption of carbohydrates and sugar. PCOS, a common infertility diagnosis, is associated with higher levels of insulin and inflammation, and treatment can involve dietary and lifestyle modifications to decrease insulin.
But you don’t need to have PCOS to benefit from lowering your insulin and balancing your blood sugar.
Lower carbohydrates to aid conception
A 2017 systematic review of low carbohydrate consumption and fertility showed an improvement in pregnancy rates, hormonal balancing, ovulation and insulin levels. [efn_note] “The Effect of Low Carbohydrate Diets on Fertility … – NCBI – NIH.” 27 Feb. 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5372867/. Accessed 9 Dec. 2018. [/efn_note]
Lowering your carb intake might have a positive effect on your chances of getting pregnant if your current high carb intake is causing hormonal chaos.
When choosing carbohydrate sources, pick ones with that will keep insulin low.
Enjoy: leafy greens, asparagus, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, yellow and spaghetti squash, zucchini, bell peppers, tomato, berries, apples, lemons and limes mushrooms, celery, cucumbers
- refined carbs (white flour, pasta, cereal, frozen dinners, crackers, pretzels, chips, etc.)
- refined sugars (white sugar, baked goods, frozen desserts, granola bars, fruit juices, etc.)
Refined sugars are produced by removing any fiber that would naturally occur with the substance and are present in foods from a bag or box.
Did you know? Any of the following words on a nutrition label refers to a refined sugar: sucrose, glucose, fructose, brown rice syrup, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, honey, agave syrup, evaporated cane sugar, fruit juice concentrate.
2. Embrace healthy fat
We’re not talking about that cute little baby bump you’re gonna be toting around (although, by all means, give it a lil’ hug!) This is all about the fat on your fork.
Avoid Trans Fats and Vegetable Oils
Not all fats are created equal. Avoid inflammatory damaged fats and trans fat.
Vegetable oils are problematic. Through processing, these damaged fats become oxidized, develop free radicals and can harm your cells. (And, oh yeah, they don’t contain vegetables.)
Trans fats are found in a plethora of processed foods including anything from fast food french fries, breaded chicken and biscuits to grocery store frozen pizza, pie crust and crackers. If a nutritional label says 0 grams of trans fat, there still can be up to .5 grams of trans fat present in a single serving. Look for the words “partially hydrogenated oils.” [efn_note] “Trans Fat Facts: Where Are Trans Fats Now? – WebMD.” 22 Apr. 2018, https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/trans-fats. Accessed 11 Dec. 2018. [/efn_note]
The right fats can support your body.
Harvard School of Public Health released a study that looked at the fat consumed by 147 women with IVF treatment. The women who ate the most monounsaturated fat, the healthy fat found in olive oil, were 3.4 times more likely to conceive after IVF.
Enjoy: extra-virgin olive, avocados and avocado oil, and coconut oil along with grass-fed butter and ghee, nuts and seeds
Skip: margarine, vegetable oils like canola, soybean, corn, sunflower, safflower, peanut, cottonseed
Did you know? Salad-dressing labels must be read carefully! Many will contain one of the inflammatory oils above. When dining out, ask for olive oil and a few lemons for a quick dressing alternative or just a bit of fresh avocado or guacamole as a substitute.
3. Power up on protein
The protein you eat becomes collagen, hormones, enzymes and nerve tissues.
Protein can improve your mood, calm down anxiety and aid serotonin and dopamine production. [efn_note] “Protein: metabolism and effect on blood glucose levels. – NCBI.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9416027. Accessed 10 Dec. 2018. [/efn_note]
Eating protein has a blood sugar stabilizing effect and can slow down the absorption of sugar. [efn_note] “Protein: metabolism and effect on blood glucose levels. – NCBI.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9416027. Accessed 10 Dec. 2018.[/efn_note] Because of its effect on blood sugar, protein might keep you from getting “hangry” and irritable.
Enjoy: eggs, fish, turkey, chicken, beef, bison, pork, lamb, and nuts and seeds high in protein
Skip: processed meats that contain added sugars and refined oils
4. Make mealtime easy
Still unsure how to craft a diet with the appropriate amount of carbs, fat and protein to increase your fertility? Overwhelmed with the thought of a diet overhaul? Get resources to help you on your journey.
Food list, Shopping Guides and Recipes
Surround yourself with support for the dietary changes needed to support fertility. You may benefit from:
- Meal Plans, Recipes & Food Lists
- Supportive Friends & Family
- Community Groups
Try this Free Meal Plan from Geneius Food Formula
From food lists to meal trackers, the Geneius Food Formula has everything you need to transform your diet from ho-hum to anti-inflammatory powerhouse. Get a sneak-peek with a FREE 3 day meal plan.
Geneius Food Formula provides what you need for your preconception protocol, including food trackers and meal plans.
Better Nutrition & Better Health, Backed by Science
The Geneius Food Formula silences inflammation and optimizes gene expression. This plan consists of four nutritional pillars:
- anti-inflammatory food choices
- appropriate food quantities
- strategic food timing
During the first phase, you’ll eliminate all inflammatory foods including sugars, refined grains and sweets for a designated amount of time. Not only can these foods wreak havoc on blood sugar control and sabotage healthy weight goals, they actually use up your body’s sources of important vitamins and minerals.
Decreasing the glycemic load of the diet by addressing high carbohydrate consumption may reduce the risk of of ovulatory infertility. [efn_note] “A prospective study of dietary carbohydrate quantity and … – NCBI – NIH.” 19 Sep. 2007, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17882137. Accessed 8 Dec. 2018. [/efn_note]
As you move through the phases of the Geneiusius Food Formula and discover you unique carbohydrate tolerance, you’ll eventually begin to reintroduce eliminated foods in a way that does not disrupt blood sugar balance.
Remember, balanced blood sugar equals happy hormones equals increased fertility.
5. Listen to Expert Advice Regarding Fertility, Food & More
Overwhelmed with making your pre-baby, fertility-optimization plan? Take your fertility IQ to the next level at the Functional Fertility Intensive online workshop. Glean wisdom from three experienced functional medicine practitioners focused on women’s health and fertility. Get valuable, actionable items and gain priceless insight for both you and your partner.
Three professionals, one setting, one-fraction of the price for a one-on-one consult is available to you now. For only $35 you can start boosting your fertility IQ stat! Learn more.
Get individualized preconception guidance
Functional medicine practitioners craft customized lifestyle, nutrition and supplementation plans patients based on your body’s own unique needs. Do you need to supplement with B Vitamins? How’s your digestion? Could you benefit from methylation support? Talk to Dr. Emily to see how to best support your body.
- What percentage of your diet do you think comes from refined sugar? How does the thought of removing these for a time make you feel? Would it be worth it in the long run for more vitality and health.
- What’s your main source of fat in your diet? Is it a fat friend or a fat foe? If you avoid fat at all costs, how do you feel about adding in more avocado or olive oil?
- Make a list of questions do you have about preconception health and nutrition. How might you benefit from an individualized nutrition and lifestyle plan?
- Write out three main obstacles standing in the way of your making dietary changes. Would meal plans help? Or someone to walk you through the process? What other types of resources would best support you in making the dietary changes you’re wanting?