That old adage “You are what you eat” may not literally be true, but it does have merit. If some foods can strengthen the immune system, other foods can strengthen the body’s reproductive system. A diet rich in certain foods helps the body funtion at optimum levels and an unstressed, healthy body is much more likely to conceive than a stressed, unhealthy body. Here are six great foods to enhance your fertility.
1. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens such as spinach, dandelion, beet greens, kale and Swiss chard contain high amounts of naturally occurring folate, in addition to other vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, and Vitamins A, K, and C. Folate is a crucial mineral that assists the body in the process of cell division and growth by facilitating the synthesis and reparation of DNA. More specifically, meeting the RDA preconception has been shown to significantly reduce the incidence of spina bifida. Having higher levels of folate in the body prepares it for the demands of pregnancy, thus increasing the likelihood of conception.
Shellfish such as clams and shrimp may increase fertility due to their high iron content. Iron is a crucial mineral to maintain healthy blood and avoid anemia during pregnancy. This mineral is integral in the production of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen throughout the body. In order for your systems to function as they should, they need the oxygen that hemoglobin delivers. Several studies suggest that one contributing factor to fertility issues may be low iron levels. If the body is stressed due to low iron, a woman will feel fatigue among other issues; healthy iron levels can make conception easier as the body will be functioning at peak capacity.
3. Fermented Cod Liver Oil
Although it may sound gross, this oil has many health benefits. For starters, it is rich in Omega 3s. However, more importantly, it is extremely rich in vitamins A and D. Vitamin D is responsible for supporting the immune system and balancing hormones, both of which are crucial for those trying to conceive. The fermentation process ensures two important things. First, the oil has not been exposed to heat, thus denaturing the naturally occurring vitamins. Second, the body can more easily assimilate fermented foods, which means more nutrients can be readily absorbed. Granted, it doesn’t taste great, but several companies offered flavored varieties including lemon and orange to make it a bit more palatable.
4. Bone Broths
Centuries of natural medicine have supported bone broth as a fertility enhancer. Bone broths, when cooked with a bit of vinegar, draw a variety of powerful vitamins and minerals out from the bones and into an easily enjoyable broth. Vinegar is an essential component to bone broths; without it, the vitamins and minerals won’t be drawn from the bones. Homemade bone broths contain high levels of calcium, glucosamine, magnesium, phosphorus, and sulphur. Calcium is crucial to building bones while glucosamine helps to build cartilage. Having both of these nutrients in abundant supply can signal to the body you’re ready to support the demands of a baby.
5. Wild-Caught Salmon
Wild-caught salmon offers outstanding amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids. Eating foods rich in these fatty acids is associated with a reduction in inflammatory responses in the body and healthy cell membranes. Food such as walnuts, soy beans, and flax seeds are excellent alternative sources of Omega 3 fatty acids for those following a Vegan lifestyle or for those not particularly fond of eating fatty fish such as sardines, in addition to salmon.
6. Probiotic Foods
Beneficial bacteria doesn’t exist solely in a woman’s digestive tract—it also exists in her reproductive tract as well. Eating food rich in a variety of probiotics can help the body maintain flourishing colonies of healthy bacteria, thereby potentially preventing certain infections during pregnancy. Foods such as yogurt and kefir are rich in probiotics as are sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha tea. Many great probiotic supplements are available as well, both in pill and liquid form.
The next time you head to the grocery store, consider picking up one or several of these foods to tip the scales of fertility into your favor. Of course, none of these foods is a magic bullet to one’s fertility troubles; the key to enjoying the benefits of these foods is consistency. You’ll need to eat these food daily so the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients have time to build up in the body. Modifying your diet doesn’t have to be a chore; you can discover new recipes to keep your taste buds engaged. For example, you don’t need to just eat a probiotic yogurt every morning. Consider exploring different smoothie recipes, as well as creating parfaits to enjoy the benefits of yogurt without becoming bored with it. Most importantly, enjoy yourself!
For more information on the world’s healthiest foods, visit: http://www.whfoods.com/
Kathryn is a baby-wearing, cloth diapering, DIY mom to her quickly growing and pretty cute toddler. When she isn't researching and writing about natural approaches to pregnancy and parenting, she's acting out her favorite children's books or singing off-key made-up songs.