What To Eat And What To Avoid To Maximize Your Fertility

Fats are important to include in your diet.

Woman making heartshape with hands over her pregnant belly.
Photo by Ignacio Campo on Unsplash

It’s a tale as old as time; you spend a huge chunk of your life trying not to fall pregnant, then when you’re finally ready; conceiving isn’t quite the walk in the park you expected it to be. Priming yourself for fertility is a complex process. It isn’t a ‘doing X plus Y equals baby’ equation, which can make the arrival of your period each month a heartbreaking event. Hormonal imbalance, unhealthy organ function and environmental toxins to name but a few, can wreak havoc on fertility levels. Common lifestyle factors like high-stress schedules, poor nutrition and years of taking the oral contraceptive pill have rendered 15% of couples with significant fertility issues. Regardless of whether you’re wanting to prepare your body for pregnancy now or in the future, here’s exactly what should, and shouldn’t, be making its way onto your weekly shopping list.

As a rule of thumb: OK we KNOW that you know, but in the context of fertility, the point is well worth reiterating: the less processed foods you eat, the better. AModrn’s resident nutritionist, Emma Cronin, contends that the single simplest thing you can do in order to maximize fertility is eat cleaner. Less additives, less added sugar, less inflammatory oils that improve your liver, gut health and overall inflammation levels. She says that this in turn will improve the breakdown and removal of excess hormones each month, brining your hormone levels into a more harmonious balance. Keep reading to learn more! 

What to Eat to Maximize Your Fertility

Fats, fats, and more fats

Foods like avocado, cashew nuts, almonds, olive oil, coconut oil and eggs should all feature highly on a fertility-focused diet as they reduce inflammation and insulin sensitivity, both of which disrupt hormone balance.

Wild, cold water, low-mercury fish such as salmon, sardines and herring

Extra points it it comes in millennial pink packaging with decorative twine (kidding). But seriously, we know it sounds a bit specific, but ensuring that your fish ticks each of these boxes is mega-important for maintaining good endocrine health.

Dark leafy greens

The usual green suspects like kale, spinach, collard greens and watercress all boast great levels of folic acid, which is handy-pandy when it comes to the production of red blood cells, genetic material and a healthy nervous system. Winner winner, big green dinner!

Low GI carbs such as brown rice, quinoa and sweet potato

Unwarranted blood-sugar spikes are about as helpful as a chocolate teapot when it comes to falling pregnant, so keeping your carb intake to half a cup of low GI options at mealtimes minimizes this risk.

What to Avoid to Maximize Your Fertility

Sugar

It’s rarely (read: never) your bezzy frezzy, but if you’re trying to get pregnant it’s a true enemy. Known to significantly worsen Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), one of the most common cause of infertility, sugar can wreak havoc with your insulin levels and hormones. Avoid, ladies!

Soda

Seemingly a cocktail of fertility foes, there is, quite simply, zero redeeming health benefit of soft drinks. Full of sugar, artificial sweeteners, chemicals and BPA, soda negatively effects ovulation and the body’s metabolization of glucose. Move over, soda.

Curcumin

Panic ye not, turmeric latte lovers! Moderate amounts of turmeric used in daily cooking or drinks is fine, but if you supplement with curcumin for anti-inflammation, antioxidant purposes, you might want to think twice. It has been known to negatively affect fertility by acting like the oral contraceptive instead. (Plus, FYI, turmeric lattes have totally been overtaken in the wellness world by their fun-guy counterpart, mushroom coffee. Happy sipping!)

soda artificial sweetener
Image: Courtesy of Blake Wisz via Unsplash

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