Fertility and conception depend on many factors – some psychological, some physical, some nutritional and some environmental. When you want to lose weight, you focus on avoiding bad carbs, fats and sweets and rather opt for veggies and whole grains. The same principle applies when you’re trying to conceive; you start following a healthy, balanced diet and incorporate some exercise into your day. We asked the experts to give us some advice on how you can fertility-proof your diet.
Reproductive medicine specialist, Dr Paul Le Roux from the Cape Fertility Clinic, agrees that diet plays a role in fertility. “The basic idea is to have a healthy, balanced diet and to avoid too much alcohol and smoking. Patients who are overweight have considerably reduced fertility. Even moderate weight loss in overweight patients can lead to an improvement in fertility.”
Nutritional therapist, Marié Petrelis, who studied at Patrick Holford’s Institute for Optimum Nutrition in London explains that a big part of our nutrition plays a crucial role in fertility, especially when it comes to your vitamin and mineral status. “While a diet lacking in what you need may not make you infertile, it could make you sub-fertile and reduce your chances of falling pregnant.”
She says that eating a well-balanced diet, along with supplemental support to boost your levels of essential nutrients, is needed to achieve maximum health and fertility. “Sperm takes about four months to develop while a woman’s fertility is dependent on the health of her eggs and reproductive organs, as well as her body’s ability to produce the right balance of hormones to ‘mature’ the eggs for ovulation during each monthly cycle. Therefore, getting the right mix of supporting nutrients is important.”
Include these foods and supplements in your daily diet to give your fertility a boost:
- Lean proteins and dairy products
- Plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and salads
- A vitamin B complex supplement, which will help optimise your body’s growth hormone production.
- Omega 3 and 6 oils can help your insulin function and therefore your fertility.
- A zinc supplement and a healthy dose of sunshine will improve your vitamin D levels, which also balances your hormones.
Our experienced editors work with trained journalists and qualified experts to compile accurate, insightful and helpful information about pregnancy, birth, early childhood development and parenting. Our content is reviewed regularly by our panel of advisors, which include medical doctors and healthcare professionals. Meet the Living & Loving Team and our Online Experts.