Fertility and Nutrition
May 16, 2018
If you are thinking about starting a family or adding to your existing family, nutrition plays a critical role in conception. You probably already know that avoiding or cutting back on things like sugar, alcohol and processed foods is good for those trying to conceive.
You may not know, however, that nutrient deficiencies for women and men are more common than most of us realize. Here is an overview of five essential nutrients for fertility, and good sources of them.
Five for Fertility
• Zinc- This mineral is number one for fertility. Why? It is required for healthy eggs, healthy sperm, and hormone production. You can find zinc in oysters, red meat, nuts and seeds.
• Folate- Folate is required for DNA and RNA synthesis. No new DNA, no new baby. After conception, it has a critical role in preventing neural tube defects, preventing spina bifida in your baby. Dark leafy greens, broccoli, buts, liver, asparagus, lentils and beans are great sources of folate.
• Iodine- Iodine deficiencies were rare, but with many people moving to sea salt (and even iodized salts are not providing enough), and eating less salt in general, iodine deficiencies are on the rise. Increase your iodine with seaweed, seafood, spinach, yogurt, garlic, watercress, egg yolk and artichokes.
• Iron- Iron deficiencies are the most common nutrient deficiencies in the United States. And women are at the greatest risk of deficiency. Low iron levels result in anovulation (you don’t ovulate) and poor egg health 60% more often than those with good iron levels. Find iron in rare red meats, white meat, mussels, legumes cooked in tomatoes, adzuki beans and quinoa.
• Vitamin D- This vitamin is required for sperm production and transport, as well as healthy hormone balance. Get your Vitamin D in egg yolks, full fat dairy products, oily fish skins, and cold-water fish such as salmon and sardines.
Additionally, it is a good idea for both of you to cut back on sugar, as it leaches essential nutrients when the body tries to process it. Sugary foods also tend to be on the empty side, nutritionally. If you are full of things that are not feeding your body and your fertility, you won’t have room for things that will.
Happy eating for fertility!