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Infertility rates are on the rise with an estimated 11 percent of woman between the ages of 15 and 44 having impaired ability to fall pregnant or carry a baby to term.
Although many cases of infertility are related to medical conditions or increasing age, fertility has more to do with what you eat then you may have thought. And whether you’re one medical fertility treatments or not, your diet should be the baseline of your treatment protocol.
Food to Include for Fertility Boosting
The Power of Protein
Since your hormones are built up from amino acids, protein is an essential nutrient in a fertility boosting diet. There are 8 essential amino acids, which are not produced by the body but are taken in through the food we eat. These amino acids are then in turn used to make hormones necessary for conception. Lean protein, that is not too high in saturated fat, is the wisest choice to avoid excess weight gain. Examples include lean red meats, skinless chicken, fresh fish, tinned fish, eggs, soya, legumes, dried beans and low fat dairy products. Some people may also benefit from amino acid supplementation.
It is almost always taken together with L-lysine (because L-arginine lowers L-lysine levels).
The Importance of Fats
Fat is important for fertility and hormone production and it’s the omega 3 fatty acids that are the most important fats in the pre conception diet. Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, which helps if you have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a condition that is a leading cause of infertility. Omega 3’s also helps boost the production of certain hormones, which may be out of balance due to having PCOSThe best sources are fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, pilchards and sardines. Vegetable sources of omega 3’s include walnuts, flaxseed oil, pumpkin seeds and hemp oil. Eat 4-5 servings of fish per week, 3 of which should be fatty fish and add a heaped tablespoon of a mixture of flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds to your breakfast. Omega-3 supplements may also be helpful either as a diet substitute or as an adjunct to dietary omega-3 intake. Fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils are rick sources of vitamin E, an important vitamin for proper hormone function.
Micronutrients for Fertility
The following nutrients, taken in the diet or in supplement for can help boost your fertility
Selenium. Studies show that a selenium deficiency may be associated with infertility in females. Supplementing the diet with 200-400 micrograms daily or eating selenium-rich foods (brazil nuts, brewer’s yeast, broccoli, chicken, dairy, salmon, seafood, vegetables and wholegrains) can help. Brazil nuts are the richest source of selenium known.
Vitamin C. Vitamin C can help normalise hormone levels in women. Vitamin C may help induce ovulation and also helps women with luteal phase defect, which is common in PCOS. Supplement the diet with 500-2000mg daily or eat vitamin C rich foods (citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, broccoli and berries).
Vitamin E. Vitamin E is needed for balanced hormone production and the transport of oxygen to the sex organs in males and females. Supplement with 200-400IU daily or eat vitamin E rich foods (cold-presses vegetable oils, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and wholegrains).