Nutrition and Fertility
When beginning the family planning process, diet is one key topic that is sometimes overlooked by couples. Some causes of infertility are beyond an individual’s control, however eating healthfully can be something everyone can work on.
It is important for both men and women to consume a balanced diet because excess weight and nutritional deficiencies can affect fertility in both genders. Making diet and lifestyle changes together is also beneficial because it increases the chance of success. A strong support system is vital for sustaining changes long-term, so it’s best to make changes as a household and work as a team.
We now know how important a healthy diet is for fertility, but what should we do about it? Here are a few tips to start today:
- If your Body Mass Index (BMI) is above 25, set a goal of 5 to 10% weight loss. This is often significant enough to start seeing health improvements and improve odds of conceiving. You can calculate your BMI here: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/english_bmi_calculator/bmi_calculator.html
- Increase your intake of iron rich foods: whole grains, beans, lentils, eggs, spinach, and fortified cereal. You can also incorporate small portions of iron-rich lean red meat such as sirloin or 93% lean ground beef up to twice a week according to the American Heart Association.
- Increase intake of vegetables. Set a daily goal of at least 2 cups (unless otherwise instructed by a doctor or dietitian).
- Consume heart healthy and anti-inflammatory fats found in olive and canola oils, avocado, fish, nuts and nut butters.
- Meet your daily folic acid needs- adequate intake of this nutrient reduces the risk of spinal cord defects from developing very early on in pregnancy. Consume dark green leafy vegetables and fortified grains such as whole grain breads and cereals.
It is often beneficial to have additional support to coach you on healthy lifestyle changes. Meeting with a registered dietitian can help you identify which goals to focus on and how to overcome any challenges you may have. Optimal Health Nutrition Counseling provides individual nutrition counseling to men, women, and children (ages 4 and up). Most major insurances accepted. Call 301-739-8850 to schedule today!