Age and genetics affect your fertility, and while these are not within your control, there are ways you can alter your diet to boost your fertility. Here are some tips on how.
- Ensure you have a healthy body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 to 24, as being underweight or overweight may affect your fertility. Do exercise regularly to maintain a healthy weight range.
- Cut back on the proteins from animal sources such as beef, pork or chicken and increase protein intake through sources like beans, nuts and tofu that also give you healthy fats and are lower in calories.
- Choose oily fish such as salmon to increase the good fat intake of omega3 and omega6 fatty acids; and reduce “bad” fats such as saturated fats in meat and dairy products as well as from fried foods and margarine. Food that is high in omega3 include flaxseed, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and enriched eggs.
- Food that is high in zinc is an important mineral for the fertility in both men and women. Oysters, for example, are rich in zinc and are also known for their aphrodisiac qualities. Other foods that are rich in zinc include mangoes, pumpkin seeds and fish from the sea.
- Eat more complex carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains and avoid or reduce processed carbohydrates such as cookies, white bread and white rice. Complex carbohydrates will give you fibre and are digested slowly, so your insulin levels and blood sugar will not suddenly surge, unlike when you consume processed carbohydrates. Studies have shown that high insulin levels may possibly inhibit ovulation.
- Eat dark green and leafy vegetables as these are a good source of folic acid. Citrus fruits that are high in Vitamin C will enhance the mobility of sperm and prevent damage. One vegetable that contains both folic acid and Vitamin C is radish!
- Choose whole milk of full fat dairy products like yoghurt and ice cream over low fat or non-fat dairy products to increase fertility.
- Take multivitamins containing at least 400 micrograms of folic acid and 40-80 milligrams of iron daily as you may not be able to get the sufficient amount of these nutrients in your daily diet.
- Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) recommends taking “warm” food by adding herbs like Codonopsis pilosula (Dang Shen) and Angelica sinensis (Dang Gui) to black chicken or pork rib soups as these may enhance fertility. And avoid eating “cold” foods such as salads, cold beverages and ice cream too often. This is a similar concept for the confinement period as well.
- Watch caffeine and alcohol intake and limit these to once or twice a day. Avoid diet and sugary drinks, especially for the male partner as these may reduce sperm count.
In all things, always check with your doctor on the best route for you as everyone is different. There are many treatments and methods which your doctor can prescribe for you as well if you are experiencing a more difficult time conceiving.