Can you suggest a diet to improve fertility? What are fertility enhancing foods?
An ideal fertility diet for a couple who is trying to conceive would depend on their individual needs and health status. However, in general, a healthy diet for fertility should include a variety of nutrient-dense foods, such as:
- Fruits and vegetables: These should be the foundation of any healthy diet. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which are important for fertility. Eating the rainbow is to be encouraged. At least half your plate in each meal must have fruits and vegetables. Beans, berries, watermelon, kale, lentils, citrus fruits, figs, broccoli and banana improve fertility.
- Whole grains: These should be added in the diet in place of refined grains. Whole grains are high in fiber and B vitamins, which are important for fertility. Millets, quinoa, brown rice and wheat are a rich source of complex carbohydrates. About a quarter of your plate must be complex carbs.
- Lean protein: This should come from sources such as beans, tofu, nuts, and seeds, as well as fish and poultry. Protein is important for fertility because it helps to build and repair tissues in the body.
- Healthy fats: These should come from sources such as rice bran oil, sesame oil, olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds. Healthy fats are important for fertility because they provide energy and help the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Higher omega 3 to omega six is good for both male and female infertility. Good sources of omega 3 include cold water fish like mackerel, salmon, sardines, anchovies; vegetarian sources include flaxseed, almonds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and walnuts. Rice bran oil and sesame oil contain omega 3 fats
- Dairy products: These should be included in moderation, as they are high in calcium and other important nutrients. Full fat milk, cheese, curds help in improving egg quality.
What foods do we avoid when you are trying to conceive?
It’s also important to limit your intake of processed foods, sugary drinks, candies and refined grains, as these tend to be low in nutrients and may contribute to fertility problems. Avoid transfat as it increases insulin resistance. Additionally, it is important to maintain a healthy weight, as being overweight or underweight can affect fertility.
Fertility Diet for Indian Women
For women, a fertility diet focuses on consuming nutrient-rich foods that support reproductive health. Here are some key elements of a fertility diet for women:
- Complex Carbohydrates: Opt for whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and oats to maintain stable blood sugar levels and aid hormonal balance.
- Antioxidant-rich Foods: Incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables such as berries, spinach, and kale to combat oxidative stress and protect the eggs from damage.
- Healthy Fats: Include sources of healthy fats like avocados, nuts, and olive oil to support hormone production and promote better absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Use oils such as rice bran oil or sesame oil which are rich in omega-3 fats in your fertility diet.
- Iron-rich Foods: Consume iron-rich foods like lean red meat, beans, and leafy greens to maintain healthy blood levels and support fertility. Jaggary is an excellent source of iron for women in India.
- Folate and Vitamin B12: Ensure adequate intake of folate and vitamin B12 through foods like lentils, chickpeas, and fortified cereals to reduce the risk of birth defects. Lentils such as red lentils (masoor), pigeon peas(arhar/toor), green gram (hara mung) and black lentils (urad) in your everyday diet are great sources of folate. Milk, curd (dahi), cheese, mushrooms and paneer are rich sources of Vitamin B12.
Fertility Diet for Indian Men
A fertility diet for men also revolves around essential nutrients that enhance sperm quality and motility. Here are some key components:
- Zinc: Foods like lentils, potatoes and pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, which is crucial for testosterone production and sperm health.
- Vitamin C: Citrus fruits like oranges or amla (gooseberry), bell peppers, chilies and broccoli are excellent sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C is known to protect sperm from damage caused by oxidative stress.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Found in flaxseeds, almonds, fish and walnuts, these fats promote better sperm morphology and motility. Switch over to ice bran oil, sesame oil or olive oil to see the benifits of diet on fertility.
- Selenium: Add selenium-rich foods like barley, walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, leafy vegetables, sardines, and turkey into your diet. Selenium improves sperm motility and reduce the risk of DNA damage.