Eat one serving each day of beans, legumes, lentils, or nuts for fertility enhancing plant-based protein. If you aren’t sure how to cook them just add any kind of beans to your salads, chili and soups. But be careful with soybean based products like Tofu and Edamame, as soy contains isoflavones, compounds that act like estrogen in the body and some (but not all) experts believe it can negatively impact conception. (Read more about Soy in Foods to Avoid section.)
Eating berries helps your eggs and his sperm! Blueberries and raspberries in particular are packed with antioxidants, which help prevent damage and aging to your body’s cells including your eggs. The phytonutrients and natural chemicals found in blueberries were shown in studies to have hormone-balancing properties that impact ovulation. In addition, anthocyanins in blueberries help to maintain the lining of your uterus, which positively influences the ability of a fertilized embryo to implant into the uterine wall. Studies have also shown that berries can keep sperm strong and healthy, too. Though not all produce needs to be “organic” do make sure your berries are always organic as they have thin skins that absorb more pesticides than thicker-skinned produce. Also, skip fruit juices, smoothies and jams, which can be too high in sugar and lack the fiber of eating the whole fruit.
Goji Berries (Wolfberries) Small red Goji berries are packed full of antioxidants. On the internet you will read that “studies” have shown that they can increase sperm count and promote follicle growth in women. We have not been able to find a reputable source in a medical journal to confirm this however. However, a report in the winter, 2004 issue of The Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association concluded that wolfberry juice has “high levels of antioxidants” and showed “beneficial immunomodulatory [immune-boosting] effects in mice.” These berries are especially rich in carotenoids including beta-carotene and lycopene. You can get them dried, to eat like raisins, at health food stores. Note that goji juice is expensive and you can get the same nutrients from much less expensive berries, tomatoes, and dark, leafy greens. Sources: MedScape, WebMD, DrWeil
Green tea has been rumored to help conception by virtue of its antioxidants that help prevent cellular damage to reproductive organs and may make eggs more viable.
While there is some research linking green tea to increased fertility, there is not a lot of data. A Kaiser Permanente study showed that women who drank at least ½ cup of tea every day were twice as likely to conceive as women who never drank tea. Scientists believe the hypoxanthine in tea might be necessary for the follicular fluid that helps eggs mature and get ready for fertilization. In addition, the powerful antioxidant polyphenols in tea might help prevent the chromosomal abnormalities that can cause an embryo to miscarry or fail to implant.
Green tea has less caffeine than black tea or coffee, making it a better choice, but still limit your intake to one cup per day, or drink decaffeinated tea. In addition to wanting to limit your caffeine intake, too much green tea seems to decrease the effectiveness of folic acid that is vital to fetal development.
Foods rich in non-heme iron:
This is the most important supplement after the prenatal multivitamin. Ideally, women should take EFAs for at least three months before they conceive to allow time for them to be fully incorporated into all the tissues.
Omega-3 fatty acids consist of EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid), ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid). DHA, in particular, is critical to your fertility and your baby’s development.
Omega-3 fatty acids help to:
Sources of Omega-3s
Wild salmon, sardines, herring and other low-mercury cold water fish (read more about unsafe and mercury laden fish below). Eat wild (not farmed), cold water fish 2-3 times per week
Despite what other internet sources say, Do NOT take Flaxseed Oil supplements which contain phytoestrogen and some doctors believe could contribute to miscarriage. Also, do NOT take Cod Liver Oil as its Vitamin A content can put you over the safe limit if you also take a prenatal supplement. (See Foods to Avoid below)
Other conception-friendly unsaturated “good” fats and oils can actually help improve your chances of conceiving because they reduce inflammation and insulin sensitivity, which both disrupt hormone balance.
Pineapple core contains an enzyme called Bromelain that reduces inflammation in the body, including in the uterus. It is also a mild blood thinner which some believe can aid in implantation. Note that many doctors prescribe baby aspirin, a blood thinner, to help with implantation, but this dose is controlled.
It is thought that bromelain in large doses can cause uterine contractions and interfere with implantation of an embryo — although clinical evidence in this area is lacking too. Some cultures even use pineapple to induce miscarriage or start labor.
There is really no concrete evidence for or against pineapple, but there are many positive anecdotes on the internet about it.
Yams contain phytoestrogens and a form of natural progesterone (dioscin). Endometriosis and fibroids, both major infertility problems, are linked to estrogen dominance. It is believed that the phytoestrogens and progesterone-like properties in yams can help regulate the estrogen-progesterone balance. In theory the natural progesterone in yams can help extend the luteal phase in women whose corpus luteum doesn’t produce enough progesterone causing early menstruation.
Still, there’s no scientific evidence that wild yam increases estrogen level in the body and doctors at the University of Maryland have stated that the human body lacks the enzymes to convert wild yam into usable progesterone.
But herbalists believe that <strong “mso-bidi-font-weight:=”” normal”=””>wild yam taken in the first two weeks of a menstrual cycle improves fertility by converting diosgenin into two other hormones essential for ovulation, luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone. Some natural practitioners believe that the phytoestrogens in yams can counteract the effects of estrogen on the cervical fluid and make it too sticky for transport of sperm. They can also thin the endometrial lining, similarly to Clomid. So according to believers, yams should only be eaten in the first half of the menstrual cycle, from menstruation until ovulation. After ovulation, don’t eat lots of yams. Also note that “true” wild yams are usually found in markets that specialize in African or Caribbean foods or health food stores, not in your average supermarket.
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