Has an OBGYN or even a midwife ever address fertility/pregnancy supporting foods with you? I had a midwife because my desire was to approach my fertility and pregnancy in a more natural way and still the only time diet was mentioned was when she wanted me to chart what I ate for a week. The only feedback I received when I returned it to her was that I needed to add “more colors” into my meals. I knew she meant vegetables and the like, but I still felt lost. Can you relate? 

Ingredients that Harm Fertility
Ingredients to avoid would have been the first thing I wanted to know when I was in your shoes. I don’t meant the common list of “fish, mayonnaise, potato or egg salad, etc.” that pregnant women are given with little explanation as to why they shouldn’t eat them. I mean I wanted to know the things that could hinder my fertility and why. Here’s the list I wish I had when I was TTC.
  • Trans Fatty Acids: raises bad cholesterol and lowers the good; found in margarine, baked and fried foods. Find them in foods by looking for “partially hydrogenated oils.”
  • Seed Oils: these could fall under the umbrella of trans fatty acids, but show up differently on labels. These include canola, vegetable, sunflower, corn, cottonseed, grape seed, rice bran, safflower, soybean oils. Organic versions do not make them better. Go for things like coconut, avocado, and extra virgin olive oil instead. Organic options of these are best.
  • Refined Carbs: sugary foods & drink and processed grains including pasta, breads, and oats
  • Caffeine: more than 500mg a day may add months to TTC calendar
  • Alcohol: 14+ drinks per week can add time to TTC calendar
  • Food Dyes: these are manufactured using petroleum which is waste from the gas/oil industry
Foods & Nutrients to Promote Fertility
If I had been handed that list, my next question would have been, “so what can I eat?” Are you asking that right now too? Don’t worry, I’ve got ya covered, friend. Get ready to take some notes or screenshot this.
  • Complex Carbohydrates: these are nutrient dense and help to balance blood sugar while making you feel full; sources include fruits, vegetables, brown rice, beans, seeds, and tapioca
  • Fiber: this is important to maintain proper bowel movement which in turn removes extra estrogen from the body. Complex carbs are a great source of fiber. Two birds, one stone!
  • Monounsaturated Fats: unlike the trans fats, these fats lower bad cholesterol and increase good. These can be found in the healthy oil options listed above.
  • Folate: doctors will recommend folic acid, but this is a synthetic version of folate; your body doesn’t know what to do with fake nutrients so basically you’re paying for expensive pee. Find a supplement that has folate and you’ll be on a better track and not wasting your money. You can find it in fresh fruits, eggs, dark leafy greens, liver, and peanuts. Avoid the flavored nuts because they’ll probably have some of the ingredients you’re trying to avoid. Food companies are sneaky.
  • Vitamin B12: some studies have shown that this, along with folate, may help regulate your cycle which makes conception much easier.*1 Add some fish, eggs, liver, poultry, or read meat to your menu.
  • Vitamin A: studies in cows have found supplementation of vitamin A to be beneficial and increase the odds of conception when artificial insemination is used.*2 Get it from leafy green vegetables, eggs, beef liver, and fish oils. Seeing a pattern here?
  • Vitamin D: studies are definite on this, but are saying it may be beneficial to fertility; good food sources would be tuna, salmon, egg yolks, and beef liver.
  • Vitamins C & E: These were studied in women with endometriosis and found to reduce the inflammation that was part of the disease. Inflammation is never helpful to fertility so whether you have endo or not, these can be beneficial. Get them by eating citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, red bell peppers, almonds, and peanuts.
This list is not exhaustive, but will give you a good place to start. As always, I encourage you to do some research of your own. You will always be the best advocate for your health. Want help getting started with healthier food choices? Schedule a free 30 minute consultation with me! I’ll help you find budget friendly meals and supplements that integrate these nutrients. Let’s talk soon. 💜 

*1 Thornburgh S, Gaskins AJ. B vitamins, polycystic ovary syndrome, and fertility. Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2022 Dec 1;29(6):554-559. doi: 10.1097/MED.0000000000000773. Epub 2022 Sep 27. PMID: 36165609.
*2 Ikeda S, Kitagawa M, Imai H, Yamada M. The roles of vitamin A for cytoplasmic maturation of bovine oocytes. J Reprod Dev. 2005 Feb;51(1):23-35. doi: 10.1262/jrd.51.23. PMID: 15750294.


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