People are waiting much longer now to get married. Infertility rate is on the rise globally when biological age starts ticking for women as well as men. For many couples struggling with infertility, fertility diet can be used by any woman who is trying to get pregnant, complementing assisted conception treatments. The basis of the diet is to improve ovulation and fertility and also offers a healthy start to a pregnancy.
Good nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle give you the extra edge you need to conceive and prime your body for pregnancy. So here are some fertility boosting strategies that may be helpful.
Fertility Boosting Strategies:
Getting into the “fertility zone’ to achieve your ideal weight with BMI 20-24.
Calculate your BMI= weight (kg)/ height (m)x height (m)
Losing 5-10% of your current weight is often enough to improve ovulation.
Choose slow carbs, NOT no carbs/ fast carbs
Slow Carbs (Minimally processed foods). Also high in FibreFast Carbs (Processed and sweetened foods/ Refined Carbs)
Balancing fats. Choose more of unsaturated fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
E.g. Nuts and seeds (walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds), avocado,fatty fish, healthy vegetable oils such as olive, canola, sunflower, and enriched eggs. Avoid trans fats containing foods (also called hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils) e.g. French fries, non-dairy creamer, hard margarine, potato chips, donuts, cakes. (<4g trans fats/ day)
Milk Products. Try to make room for 1-2 servings of whole milk products every day. Consider switching to full fat pasteurized dairy products for the time being. Once you become pregnant, or if you decide to stop trying, you can switch back to low fat and skim milk products.
Have a moderate protein intake (2- 3 servings/ day, with half the protein comes from plant sources) [ 1 serving= 1 palm size of chicken/ fish (90g)/ 2 eggs/ 2 glasses of milk/ 2 slices of cheese/ 2 pieces of tofu/ ¾ cup cooked pulses (peas, beans, lentils)]
Animal ProteinPlant Protein
Meat, fish, chicken, egg, dairy products
(They are also rich source of iron)
Legumes, peas, soy beans, soy products, nuts
Getting at least 30 mins of exercise every day. Try brisk walking, swimming, group exercises e.g. yoga, aerobics. Anything is probably better than nothing. And more doesn’t mean better
Fuel up on folic acid. Great sources from fortified cereals, leafy greens, legumes and orange juice, or from folic acid supplement or a prenatal vitamins.
Boost your vitamin D According to Institute of Medicine, you need to obtain 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day. Food that provide vitamin D includes: Fatty fish, for example tuna, mackerel, and salmon. Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks. Fish is a good source of vitamin D. 6 oz of cooked salmon has more than 600 international units (IU). And don’t forget to sunbath in the morning when you jog!
What about his diet?
Your diet should be every bit as balanced, varied, healthful and nutritious as your partner’s.
Remember to include:
Eat plenty of food rich in vitamin C and other antioxidant (vitamin E, and β- carotene). These nutrients help prevent sperm defects and improve motility. E.g aim for 1 glass of orange juice a day.
Get enough zinc. Zinc deficiency can reduce semen volume and testosterone levels. Great sources from oysters, beef, dark chicken meat and baked beans.
Lead a healthy lifestyle. Get some exercise, sleep well, cut out alcohol, and stop smoking!
All the Best!
Ms Tan Yen Sing is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (previously known as American Dietetic Association), California Dietetic Association and Nutrition Society of Malaysia. She graduated from the Ohio State University, majoring in Human Nutrition with option in Dietetics.