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Can You Eat Yourself Fertile?

By: Kathryn Senior PhD - Updated: 17 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Infertility Fertility Conceiving Trouble

If it were as easy as this, infertility would not be the problem that it is. However, having said that, the food that you eat does affect fertility, whether you are a man or a woman. For couples having trouble conceiving, it makes sense to try to change some lifestyle factors before embarking on rounds of tests and medical fertility treatment.

It is recommended that a general improvement in lifestyle can be a great boost to fertility – but it's no good just doing it for a week. As well as improving your diet, doing regular exercise, reducing stress – and having sex every other night – for a period of three months – is highly recommended. The three month timing is very important for women – this is the time that it takes the new eggs to mature in the ovary so all the effects of lifestyle need to take place for the whole of that time for the best results.

What to Avoid to Boost Fertility

Cutting out smoking and drinking is a major step towards fertility. It is also a good idea to reduce, or eliminate caffeine completely. So that means no coffee, less tea, or drink decaffeinated, no cola or other soft drinks that contain caffeine, such as energy boosters such as red bull. As well as improving fertility, reducing your intake of caffeine, or eliminating it completely can also help reduce the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth,

It also seems sensible to leave milk and dairy products out of your diet for a while. Milk is produced by cows that are stimulated to produce hormones, particularly oestrogen and introducing hormones into the body might affect fertility. The link is not supported by a great wealth of scientific evidence but it may be worth trying. Reducing the amount of junk, processed and high fat foods that you eat as well as reducing dairy will lead to a healthier diet overall.

What to Eat When Trying to Conceive

It makes sense to eat the very best diet possible, bearing in mind the foods and drinks that you have chosen to avoid. Choose organic meat or meat from a reputable local butcher rather than supermarket cuts. Include lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grains and whole foods. This sounds as though it could be very boring but with a few herbs and spices, whole foods can help you experiment and find the way to a healthier way of eating that could last a lifetime.

This type of diet will be high in nutrients, high in fibre and rich in vitamins. You need to include plenty of foods that have high levels of vitamins B and vitamin E, both of which are needed for hormone production and for the maturation of healthy eggs and sperm. Eating oily fish and eating whole grains can provide high levels of both vitamins.

Fertility 'Superfoods'

Some people claim that particular foods are great for enhancing fertility. Again, there is little solid scientific evidence to support these claims but some foods have been eaten to make it more likely to get pregnant since early times. Honey, for example, has been used as a fertility food for centuries.

Another fertility 'superfood' is garlic. You both have to eat it, of course, as it might put you off other things... As well as providing many minerals and vitamins, it also contains quite high levels of selenium, which is needed for the development of sperm and which helps keep the chromosomes strong for cell division in the early foetus. Garlic is particularly rich in vitamin B6, which helps to boost the levels of the sex hormones.

Oysters are well known for their aphrodisiac qualities but they also contain high levels of zinc, which is also needed for producing healthy sperm. Avocados and spinach are two other foods that you should include and, finally, chillies are apparently quite good too. They release endorphins in the body, which promote relaxation and, apparently, make you more fertile.

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