Trying to get pregnant is one of the most exciting and stressful times in one’s life. Eating a well-balanced diet can help give you needed nutrients to increase your vitality and increase your fertility.
Specific vitamins and mineral can also ensure a healthy outcome if you do conceive, so be mindful and incorporate foods from the following list to reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy and to increase your chance of adding another member to your family.
Zinc – Zinc is needed for the development of semen, it is also essential for tissue and cell growth and replication, bone formation, skin integrity, and generalized immune defense. The role of zinc in tissue growth is related primarily to its involvement in protein syntheses. Zinc rich foods include oysters, wheat germ, beef, liver, poultry and whole grains.
Selenium – Selenium is used to regenerate a number of antioxidants as well as help metabolize iodine. Some lesser known functions are its involvement in DNA repair, enzyme activation, immune system function and the detoxification of heavy metals. Heavy metal toxicity is known to lower sperm count and cause chromosomal abnormalities in sperm. Selenium rich foods include whole grains, meat, poultry, fish and dairy products.
Magnesium – Magnesium is considered the most overlooked and most critical of all minerals as it’s important for protein synthesis, DNA and RNA synthesis and it is an important contributor to over 300 different enzyme reactions. Magnesium rich foods include nuts, legumes, cereal grains, soybeans, molasses, corn, peas, carrots, seafood and brown rice.
Calcium – Calcium is most known for its bone mineralization effects, but it is also important for blood clotting, nerve conduction, muscle contraction and enzyme regulation. Calcium rich foods include milk and milk products, sardines, clams, oysters, turnip and mustard greens, broccoli, legumes and dried fruit. Meats, grains and nuts tend to be poorer sources of calcium.
B12 – Vitamin B12 is required to produce DNA as well as other proteins, hormones and fats. The only dietary sources of vitamin B12 for humans are from animal products which have been produced from the micro-organisms within the animal. Any vitamin B12 in plant foods is considered to be from contamination with microorganisms like bacteria. Best sources are meat, poultry, fish, shellfish and eggs. Milk and milk products contain some B12.
B6 – Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is needed as a coenzyme for protein metabolism. It also necessary for the synthesis of heme, histamine, carnitine and dopamine. B6 is found almost exclusively in plant foods. Excellent sources of B6 are bananas, navy beans and walnuts.
Folic Acid – Folic acid, folate and folacin are all terms used to describe this vitamin. Folate is essential for amino acid metabolism, DNA synthesis, and development of the fetal nervous system. Good sources of folate include brewer’s yeast, mushrooms, dark leafy green vegetables such as spinach, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and turnip greens as well as asparagus, legumes and liver. Cooking can decrease folate levels. Fruit and non-organ meats are poor sources.
Vitamin C – Vitamin C is more than just an antioxidant, it can increase progesterone, regulate menstrual cycles, and aid in tissue, cartilage, bone and tooth development. Vitamin C is pretty easy to get nutritionally, just eat any fresh fruit or vegetable and you will be set.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammatory proteins in the body, these oils also protect the cardiovascular system and cross the blood brain barrier to protect the brain and help it develop normally. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut, other seafood including algae and krill, some plants, and nut oils.
Generally speaking a diet rich in vegetables is the way to go. In addition to vegetables concentrate on good protein sources; every food group except fruit contains protein. Eating a varied whole foods diet consisting of meat, fish, whole grains, nuts, legumes and vegetables will give you the protein you need. Fat is the third ingredient to round out your health and increase your chances of conceiving. Healthy fats in the form of nut oils, organic dairy, coconuts and olive oil have proven benefit over inflammatory vegetable oils or trans or hydrogenated fatty acids. Soy products should be reduced or avoided as they contain estrogenic like compounds.