Vitamin B9, also known as folate, is one of the most crucial nutrients for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive. Folic acid is vital for forming healthy cells. The nutrient also prevents birth defects like spina bifida. Most healthcare providers will recommend taking a prenatal vitamin that contains the recommended serving of folic acid. For an added boost, look for foods that are rich in folate. Some of these include leafy green vegetables, beans and nuts, and fruits like oranges and strawberries.
2. Drink enough milk
Calcium is essential for the development of the future baby’s bones and teeth. Many women struggle with low calcium levels. During pregnancy, if a woman’s calcium is low, the body will take calcium from the mother’s bones to give to the developing baby. This can increase the risk for osteoporosis, so keeping calcium levels high is crucial. Milk is the most popular source of calcium and 1 cup contains about 1/3 of the daily recommended intake. Other sources include yogurt, cheese, and leafy greens like kale and broccoli.
3. Choose the right carbs
Diets that are lower in carbohydrates can help with blood sugar regulation and menstrual regularity. Some research found that women who followed a high-carb diet had a 78% higher risk of infertility than those who did not. Specifically, refined carbs cause insulin levels to spike and can be particularly problematic for women trying to conceive. Reach for complex carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and brown rice.
4. Practice meatless Monday
Reducing the consumption of animal proteins has been directly linked to a reduced risk of infertility. While women don’t need to cut out meat entirely, consider making some healthy swaps. Even when 5% of total calories come from vegetable protein sources instead of meat, the risk of infertility goes down. Try replacing some animal protein with beans, nuts, lentils, and vegetables.
5. Not all fats are created equal
Healthy fats can promote fertility, while trans fats are linked to infertility. Choosing trans fats over healthier alternatives can increase the risk of infertility by as much as 31%. Try to cut down on highly processed foods such as baked goods, fried foods, and hydrogenated vegetable oils. Instead, reach for healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, fatty fish, and nuts.
Find personalized recommendations
Women who are trying to conceive should strive to maintain healthy lifestyle habits. This includes proper nutrition, sleeping well, and exercising regularly. For more individualized recommendations about boosting fertility, schedule an appointment with an OB/GYN.