Nutrition for fertility
Across my work treating fertility issues, a question I am regularly asked is “what should I eat to help me fall pregnant”. Just as stress levels, sleep and emotional health can have major impacts on your hormonal balance, circulation, cell ageing — and, therefore, fertility — so can your diet. Acupuncture for fertility courses that I have attended, such as Zita West and Reading College of Integrated Medicine, stress the importance of healthy and good quality nutrition in reducing inflammation, preventing premature ageing and improving crucial uterine circulation. Below are some of my top tips for a well-balanced diet — what to include and what to reduce — to maximise your — and your partner’s — fertility.
What to reduce
The maturing eggs, sperm, endometrial lining and foetus depend on vital nutrients for development. Foods which increase the production of free radicals can cause oxidative stress to developing eggs and sperm. Research suggests that oxidative stress lowers egg and sperm quality and function.
What to include
The Mediterranean diet, containing lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, is ideal as it incorporates antioxidants which destroy harmful oxidants. My general advice is the more colours of fruit and vegetables the better! The Mediterranean diet includes:
✓ Organic proteins: meat, tofu, dairy products, nuts, seeds and pulses
✓ Whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, barley, buckwheat, millet, organic porridge
✓ Healthy fats: nuts, avocados, legumes
✓ Dark leafy greens: kale, spinach, broccoli
✓ Cooking oils: extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil
✓ Superfoods: wheatgrass, chia seeds, maca, acai, goji berries, spirulina
Vital vitamins and nutrients
I also encourage patients to make sure they are consuming a sufficient range of vitamins and minerals which contribute to reproductive health.
Along with a nutrient-rich diet of antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and vital vitamins and nutrients, I advise patients look at lifestyle factors including regular exercise, good-quality sleep and, where possible, reducing stress. It is also worth your while to consider a regular course of acupuncture to help boost your fertility.
“I can’t recommend Denise’s practice enough. From getting pregnant when I thought there was no hope… to helping me through the pregnancy and now helping me to cope as a new mother, Denise has been a friend and a trustworthy practitioner.” Stacey Jacob Harwood