Thursday, January 2, 2014

5 Diet Changes to Help Boost Your Fertility

If you are one of the 7.2 million people affected by infertility in America, you know how frustrating it can be. While infertility can be a complex issue, sometimes requiring the care of a specialized fertility doctor, there are some things you can do on your own to boost your fertility and increase your chances of getting pregnant. 

In addition to regular exercise and maintaining a positive outlook, there are also some changes you can make to your diet that may help combat infertility issues:

1. Stay away from processed foods.
Fake or processed foods may be harmful to your reproductive system, or even have adverse affects when undergoing fertility treatments, as they can mess with hormones and create an unbalanced reproductive system. Processed foods are usually found in packages and boxes, but some are harder to spot - for example, even some breads can be processed even though they seem "fresh". 

Another area to avoid is "diet" foods. While it may seem tempting to control your weight with skim or low-fat milk, margarine, and other low-fat foods, when trying to conceive it's actually best to go with organic whole cow's milk, real butter and other "real" foods.

2. Get yourself a good prenatal vitamin.
Find a prenatal vitamin that has at least 400mcg of Folic Acid, and also contains Vitamin D and Iron. DHA is also a bonus. Make sure you take a prenatal vitamin every single day. You're going to have to take one every day once you are pregnant, so treat your body as if it's pregnant already and make it a habit every morning or night. Your physician may offer a prescription prenatal, and if your insurance covers it great! If not, there are a variety of good prenatal vitamins available over the counter, so go to your local pharmacy or grocery store and pick up some if you don't have a prescription or the co-pay is too expensive.

3. Eat the right organic food whenever possible.
Not everything needs to be organic in your diet, but there are some important items to really try to get organic if you can. The "dirty dozen" are the twelve most contaminated food products, and are the ones you should focus on when trying to buy organic. The list includes:

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes (Imported)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes
On the other hand, there are some foods that you can skip organic and go for the conventionally grown versions, and save the money for other items. These foods are found to be the least contaminated and generally safe to consume conventionally. You can always buy locally, too, if you are concerned about purchasing conventionally grown items. Items you can skip organic are onions, avocados, sweet corn (frozen), pineapples, mango, asparagus, sweet peas (frozen), kiwi, bananas, cabbage, broccoli, and papaya.

4. Avoid plastics in your dinnerware and in packaging.
Studies have shown that Bisphenol A (or BPA) may reduce fertility in both men and women. BPA is a chemical that is used to make plastics and resins that are used in many plastic containers and packages. Additionally, BPA is used to make a lining for metal cans and bottle caps. Try to avoid food in packaging that may contain BPA, such as canned soups and vegetables, or "steam in the bag" frozen items. Also look for water bottles, plastic dishes and cups that are labeled "BPA Free" to avoid using items that may contain this chemical.

5. Skip the tea, soda or coffee and reach for water.
When trying to conceive it's important to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water per day (and it will be even more once you get pregnant!). It may seem like a lot, but think about how many beverages you have every day. Try drinking a glass of water instead of that morning cup of coffee, have some water with lunch instead of an iced tea, and have water again with supper instead of that soft drink. This will not only increase your water intake, but also help you to avoid the unnecessary sugars in most beverages.

Remember, infertility can be a complex issue that is sometimes unexplained and hard to navigate. Many times it may feel as though things are out of your control, but just remember that if you do everything you can to improve your situation you are contributing to the process and may just end up with that little miracle you are hoping for. Good luck and baby dust!

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