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Your health matters like never before when you are trying to conceive. You are, after all, trying to create new life and then to sustain it for 38-40 weeks.

Your diet has a direct impact on both your fertility and your ability to enjoy a pregnancy that is healthy for both you and your baby. What foods should you be eating? 

Trying to conceive assessing your diet and making changes

Before you start trying to conceive, you and your partner might like to take a critical look at your lifestyles and dietary habits. Most couples are familiar with a few recommended steps quitting habits such as smoking and drinking, which have a negative influence on your fertility and health, and on a conceived embryo in the case of the mother. Then, you should start taking folic acid supplements, exercise regularly, and lose weight if you have to.

One thing you may not have thought of is getting blood work done, to check whether you and your partner happen to have any nutritional deficiencies. This has several distinct benefits. You'll be able to assess your overall dietary health, and to see exactly where you need to make changes. Pregnant mothers are almost always tested for deficiencies once they are pregnant, but why not get it done "early" so that you are in the best possible health before you need to sustain new life too? Remember that deficiencies also greatly reduce a man's sperm quality, so blood work before trying to conceive is not just for women.

People who are diagnosed with vitamin and mineral deficiencies are generally prescribed nutritional supplements. These supplements do provide a good bridge. They are not, however, as easily absorbed by your body as the same minerals and vitamins found in real foods are. If you have deficiencies, you will be able to look up food sources of the nutrients you lack, and adjust your diet accordingly.

You get get this blood work done as part of a more general preconception checkup. Again, this is something many couples don't think of. You both appear to be healthy, so why do you need to do anything other than ditching your birth control method, taking folic acid, and track your ovulation? Preconception health checkups are a great way to find little things you may not know about, including high blood pressure and (gasp!) sexually transmitted diseases.

The ideal food pyramid for trying to conceive

Couples who are trying to conceive especially benefit from following dietary recommendations that also help everyone else. Your chances of getting pregnant can improve with your diet, after all. So, what should you do? Clearly, eliminating poor choices (which everyone makes) from your diet will be great. So-called trans fats found in fatty foods like microwave dinners, pizzas, and other fast food choices cause a lot of harm.

Cutting processed foods from your diet is the easiest way to commit to healthy food. Have healthy family dinners, cooked at home, every night. Use olive oil instead of sun flower oil. Products like bread and pasta form a large part of many people's diets. Try to aim for a more vegetable-based diet, and include healthy fats too. Fish like mackerel, salmon, and cod will contain Omega 3 fatty acids that actively increase your fertility. Try to limit your intake of processed meats and opt for organic versions instead.

Fresh fruit and veg are the basis of any healthy diet. Leafy greens that contain a lot of iron are especially beneficial, and many contain folate (the natural folic acid) as well. If your blood test found nutritional deficiencies, especially focus on those vegetables that contain your target minerals and vitamins. Foods containing zinc and vitamin K are especially beneficial to a man's sperm quality, so be sure to include those as well.

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