It’s mind blowing. A human child is built much by what his or her birth mother eats before and during pregnancy. The food that goes into a woman’s body becomes the building blocks for a new life. It’s not surprising that many women who want to become mothers are filled with questions about what is and isn’t okay to eat during this important time.
Of course, nourishing yourself with good food is important for everyone for physical and emotional health, energy levels, mood and positive behavior. So it makes sense that the best way to ensure a healthy mother and child is to eat a clean diet that has all the vitamins and nutrients the body needs. And it is truly never too early to start planning for this stage of a mom-to-be’s life. In fact, the food you eat today affects eggs and sperms for the next 90 days.
So what do should you eat to get your body ready to grow a new person?
Eating for fertility is not unlike eating a regular healthy diet, but there are a few things in particular you want to look out for.
1. Folate to prevent birth defects. Folate is the natural form of folic acid, which can be found in every prenatal vitamin. While some segments of the population can have trouble absorbing folic acid (particularly if you have a gene mutation called MTHFR, which some people can’t process) there are no issues with getting folate in your diet from vegetables. Eat as many plants as possible, especially dark leafy greens, and keep your natural folate levels high.
2. Healthy fats are key. By avoiding refined industrial oils like canola, sunflower, soybean and corn oils, and focusing on healthy fats from olive oil, avocados, you’ll get the fertility boosting omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. You’ll also be able to better absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in your vegetables.
3. Fiber does a body good. High fiber foods like beans, whole grains and certain vegetables fiber help balance hormones and feed your gut with important prebiotics. Avoid refined flours and simple carbohydrates which provide quick energy but are often followed by a blood sugar crash.
4. Know your animal protein’s provenance. You are what you eat, as well as what your food eats. If you are eating beef, chicken, lamb, pork and eggs, please make sure to source grass fed and pasture raised sources, not factory farmed meat that’s loaded with antibiotics and hormones. Pasture raised eggs in particular boost fertility and are high in choline – an essential nutrient for proper fetal development.
5. Avoid sugar. Sugar is incredibly addictive, and if you experience sugar cravings regularly, it’s a sign your body may need a reset. Eat fruit and natural sugars when the craving hits while avoiding refined sugar and your sugar cravings will decrease over time. Blueberries are one of the lowest glycemic fruits around and has the added bonus of being high in antioxidants.
6. Got milk? Maybe not. If you think about what dairy really is, it’s “baby food” for cows. And since milk is charged with hormones, it’s questionable whether you want that in your diet when you’re trying to achieve hormone balance. While the good fats and protein in dairy can be beneficial for some, others may prefer to eliminate it during this time. Experiment with different types, including A2 protein milk, or goat and sheep dairy.
Final tip for the guys out there... Zinc boosts testosterone, so eat your oysters and pumpkin seeds regularly!
Caroll Lee - Founder of Provenance Meals
Caroll is an avid cook, mother of two, Board Certified Health Counselor and the founder of Provenance Meals. Her passion in life is to feed people real food -- food that is raised, grown and prepared in traditional ways that are good for your health and good for the planet. Caroll practices holistic nutrition, understanding that a healthy diet must be combined with other sources of nourishment—loving relationships, enjoyable physical activity, meaningful work and spiritual connectedness—to reach true health and happiness.