• Vitamin C: Improves hormone level and fertility in women. Improve sperm quality, motility and protect sperm from DNA damage, thus reducing the chance of miscarriage andchromosomal problems in children.
Food sources: Abundant in plant and fruits including red pepper, broccoli, cranberries, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, and citrus fruits like orange, apples etc.
• Vitamin D: This is needed to create sex hormone necessary for ovulation and hormonal balance.
Food sources: Eggs, fatty fish, diary, cod liver oil, can also be gotten by sitting out in the early morning sun for at least 15-20minutes daily.
• Vitamin E: improves sperm health and motility, also protects eggs, sperm, DNA from damage by free radicals.
Food sources: Almonds, spinach, papaya, dark leafy green vegetables, sunflower seeds, olives.
• Iron: Women who do not get sufficient amount of iron may suffer lack of ovulation and possible poor egg health which can inhibit pregnancy at a rate of 60% higher than those with sufficient iron stores.
Food sources: Lentils, spinach, pumpkin seeds (raw), beans, beef, dark leafy vegetables like pumpkin leaves, bitter leaf, water leaf.
Essential Fatty Acids/Proteins/Fibers
• Omega -3 acids have been shown to helps to regulate hormones in the body, increase cervical mucus, promote ovulation, and increase blood flow to the reproductive organs. Omega-3 contains 2 acids (DHA AND EPA) that have been shown to lower many forms of diseases.
Food sources: Flax seed, walnuts, fishes (sardines, salmon, our local Titus fish) shrimps, etc
• Fats: Saturated fats and cholesterol are also essential for fertility. Cholesterol is a precursor to all hormones produced in the body including progesterone. Just make sure it is from the right foods
Food sources: Coconut oil, grass fed meats, fish, nuts /seeds and avoid hydrogenated oils and vegetables oil cooked at a high heat.
• Protein: Eating healthy amount of protein from a wide variety of sources is an important part of a healthy fertility diet as amino acids are the building block for cells in the body. Animal and vegetable sources of protein in appropriate quantities are recommended.
• Fiber: Assist the body in getting rid of excess oestrogen and xenohormones in the system and keeps your digestive tracts functioning properly.
Food sources: Cooked whole wheat, banana, apples,strawberries etc.
Important Foods Specific for Fertility
• Avocado Pear: They are rich source of plant sterols, as well as monounsaturated fats which reduces inflammation. It also helps in balancing oestrogen, supports the body’s natural ability to produce progesterone critically for ovulation and healthy pregnancy.
• Salmon: This fish has plenty of Omega -3 fatty acids which have been proven to provide regular blood flow to the reproductive organs. It regulates prostaglandin which is involved in hormonal production.
• Pineapples: This juicy fruits are loaded with Bromelain an enzyme which acts as pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, anti-coagulants, this properties allows it to functions as natures Aspirin causing increase blood flow to the womband promoting implantation. You start consuming pineapple after confirming ovulation or after an embryo transfer if you have done an IVF.
• Yams: This African delicacy is rich in vitamins A and C which acts as strong antioxidants preventing oxidative damages to both eggs and sperm. Yams are also believed to be rich in phytoestrogen and a form of natural progesterone. This helps to regulate the oestrogen and progesterone balance necessary for ovulation. For fertility purpose it should be best eaten in the first half of the menstrual periods.
• Walnuts: walnuts are significant source of Omega-H 3 and Omaga-6 fatty acid and has played significant role in the improvement of sperm vitality, motility and morphology. Studies have shown that walnut consumption can lower chromosomal abnormalities in male sperm.
• Nuts and Seeds: Contain omega 3, zinc and vitamin E. They possess essential fatty acid and zinc, sensitive to heat and can be destroyed if overcooked. The best nuts and seeds for vitamin E are sunflower seeds and almonds. The best seeds and nuts for iron are pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds.
• Dark Leafy Vegetables: Contain iron, folic acid, vitaminB2 and vitamin E and are packed with minerals, enzymes, chlorophyll, antioxidants and vitamins essential to healthy fertility. Examples include spinach, pumpkin.
• Fruits: Contain vitamin C, flavonoids and a variety of antioxidants. Fruits are the foods highest in antioxidants. Remember that antioxidants are heat sensitive, so to get their benefit, eat your fruit fresh, ripe and raw.
• Fish and Shell Fish: possess vitamin D, omega 3, zinc, selenium, vitamin B12 and Coenzyme Q 10(CoQ10). Muscles clam, etc. are some of the most nutrient dense foods we can eat, providing an abundance of essential fatty acids.
• Full Fat Organic Unsweetened Yoghurt: While low fat diary diet can be a fertility blocker, full fat yoghurt is an excellent protein source for fertility. Protein based amino acids are the building block for healthy cells in the body. Yoghurt contains probiotics to support healthy vagina flora (vaginal infections can put a real damper on fertility efforts)
FOODS TO AVOID
• Sugars: Refined Sugar, soda and pasteurized juices such as bottled apple juice, orange juice and other bottled juice can throw off your blood sugar levels and negatively affect your immune system and hormonal balance. Also avoid any processed/refined and artificial sugars. Some alternatives are Stevia, honey and maple syrup.
• Caffeine: Affect your hormonal balance, increase your chance of miscarriage and prevent you from ovulating.
• Soy foods: known to contain estrogen mimicking properties. It is best to avoid processed soy foods such as soy milk, soya burgers, soya protein powder, soy chips, soy meats and soy cheeses to avoid a negative impact on your hormones.
• Fat Free Foods: Food which is altered to be reduced in fat or fat free is highly processed and can also be high in sugar. Always chose the food as nature intended, full fat diary is one example that was shown in a study (human reproduction) to increase fertility over the fat reduced options. Fat is what our body need to produce hormones.
Eating a natural fertility diet is advised for everyone regardless of fertility issues, age, time, money and location. We all eat so why not do it in a way that supports your fertility and general healthy living.