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What is a fertility diet?

A fertility diet refers to a diet which is recommended to couples who want to conceive. While what you eat doesn’t guarantee conception, or a healthy baby, it can significantly increase your chances of both.

It’s now widely recognised, that when both the female and male partners make healthy lifestyle choices in the lead up to conception, their success rate in becoming parents increases. This includes diet. Having a healthy, balanced diet when you are trying to conceive, also prepares you perfectly for when conception occurs and for your subsequent pregnancy.

What does a fertility diet look like?

It’s a balanced diet, focusing on whole foods rather than processed foods and choosing white meat and fish, fruit, vegetables and plant-based proteins. It includes some specific foods that have been shown to boost fertility in women and men. Like with most things, moderation is recommended and variety is also key.

Eating to avoid ovulation infertility (OI)

A healthy diet includes fat intake and there is evidence to suggest that when women replace saturated fat with monounsaturated fat, they have higher fertility rates. Monounsaturated fats include olives, olive oil, avocados and nuts.

Eating Greek style yogurt and eggs are great for the health and brain function of your unborn baby.

Higher intakes of plant protein are also beneficial, such as lentils, nuts and seeds. Reducing the amount of animal proteins, especially those found in red meat, is recommended.

When considering carbohydrate intake, it’s best to cut down on sugary foods and foods and drinks with highly processed sweeteners. Fruit, vegetables and whole grains contain complex carbohydrates and as well as keeping blood sugar levels more stable, they may also improve fertility.

Omega-3fatty acids, found in oily fish are great for developing the baby’s nervous system and cutting the risk of premature birth.

It’s a good idea to seek advice from your doctor or fertility specialist regarding vitamins and minerals, both when trying to conceive and when pregnant. The right vitamins in the right quantity can make a difference to fertility and have a positive impact on your pregnancy and your unborn child. Certain ones like folate/folic acid are key in helping to prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.

Tea, coffee and alcohol can lead to dehydration and should be limited if you are trying to conceive.

 

Eating for sperm health, quality and motility

For men, it’s advisable to avoid saturated and trans fats for good sperm health. Instead, opt for polyunsaturated fats, found in vegetable oils, oily fish, nuts and seeds. Omega-3 fatty acids are also great for sperm health.

Vitamins and minerals are important factors in male fertility. Vegetables, nuts, seeds and asparagus provide natural sources, but it’s wise to seek advice from your doctor or fertility specialist to ensure that you are getting the right type and quantity of vitamins and minerals.

Eating Greek style yogurt has been shown to boost semen quality.

Tea, coffee and alcohol can lead to dehydration and should be limited if you are trying to conceive. High dairy foods, including cheese, should also be limited, as they have been linked to poor sperm motility.

In conclusion, it’s very important that your diet is varied, when trying to conceive, while pregnant and while breastfeeding. For both male and female partners, having a whole food diet with a range of yellow, orange and red fruits and vegetables and ensuring that you have the right type and quantity of vitamins and minerals is key, for maximising your fertility and for the health of your unborn baby.

Here, at The IVF Network, we have a range of specialists on our channel to give advice, information and support, during every stage of your fertility journey.

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