Does changing your whole diet to become pregnant sound overwhelming? I know when I first started to adjust my lifestyle by eating healthier it took some time to get the hang of it. I’m here to tell you there is an easy way to start building your healthy food plate! BUT first things first, this is not supposed to restrict you in anyway. It is supposed to be a gradual adjustment, so that you are consuming a balanced whole foods diet. Below is a step-by-step guide to building a healthy food plate and some recommendations on what is best to eat for fertility.
1. Vegetables and Fruits
Start off with making a line down the middle of your plate. Build ½ of your plate with vegetables and fruits. Ideally the more vegetables the better! Opt for cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts or cauliflower. These vegetables contain di-indolylmethane (DIM), which is known to effectively metabolize estradiol to its beneficial 2-hydroxy form. Too much estradiol can cause symptoms of breast tenderness, weight gain, low libido and moodiness.
End your meal with some fresh fruit. Berries are a great source of antioxidants! Top it off with some coconut milk to get your healthy fats in.
On the other half of your plate, divide it into two and incorporate some healthy protein in one half. This is usually the size of your palm. Whenever possible, choose hormone free meat. Animal products that contain synthetic estrogen can have a negative impact on your reproductive system. Best place to find hormone free meat is at your local grocery store or any nearby organic farms.
3. Complex carbohydrates
The other section of your plate can consist of complex carbohydrates. Finding the right carbohydrates is KEY to building your food plate. You want to consume complex carbohydrates instead of simple carbohydrates. What does this mean exactly?
Simple carbohydrates are made of just one or two sugar molecules and are digested quickly for energy but can cause a spike in blood sugar. These are foods such as pop, juice, cookies and cereal. Complex carbohydrates are made up of many sugar molecules bound together in long complex chains. Since complex carbohydrates are high in fiber they tend to be digested slowly. They also make you feel fuller, which can be great if you are trying to lose some weight. So next time you are shopping, buy some quinoa, whole wheat, buckwheat or brown rice. Starchy vegetables such as sweet potato, pumpkin and butternut squash also contain complex carbohydrates.
4. Healthy fats
Your food plate is nearly there! All you need is to top it off with some good healthy fats. Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are a good source of healthy fats, however, they are not synthesized by the body and need to be consumed. EFA’s are known as Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids. Making sure you consume EFA’s is key to having a healthy ovulation! Omega-3 is important as it boosts the immune system and can reduce specific immune cells known to prevent implantation of the embryo. Omega-3 fatty acids are also essential to fetal brain development. Some sources of Omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseed oil, salmon and walnut oil.
- Dark chocolate is tasty and gives you some antioxidant benefits! Choose a bar with 70% or higher cocoa content.
- Try to limit coffee to one cup per day.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Stay clear from processed foods and refined sugar.
References: Lewis, Randine A. The Infertility Cure. Boston: Little, Brown, 2004. Print.