Did you know baby-making can be as delicious as it is fun? These five foods are not just yummy, they deliver nutrients that boost a woman’s fertility and contribute to optimum health during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Work them into your daily diet to boost fertility chances the holistic, nutritious, easy way.
- Avocado: Think of an avocado as a hand-held powerhouse for nutrients vital to health before and during pregnancy. The monounsaturated fats that make up most of the fruit’s nutritional punch deliver the same health benefits as the mono-fats in olive oil. A diet rich in avocados can reduce risk of high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, excess weight, and insulin resistance. One study of IVF patients showed a success rate three times higher in those consuming diets high in monounsaturated fats that those consuming the least. Avocado’s high folic acid content reduces a baby’s risk of spinal defects even before conception.
- Buckwheat: Buckwheat is one of the healthiest foods in the world but bears no botanical relation to wheat so it’s always naturally gluten free. One of its components -- rutin -- strengthens capillary walls, making a woman’s circulatory system all the more stronger and better equipped to support pregnancy and nourish a developing baby. Another component works as a messenger system for insulin signals that’s usually deficient in type 2 diabetics and women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Its testosterone-lowering effect helps regulate ovulation. Substitute Japanese soba noodles in place of wheat-based pastas.
- Cinnamon: Keep the risk of gestational diabetes away with insulin-regulating cinnamon; it helps control blood sugar levels in diabetics pre-conception, too. The antioxidant effects of cinnamon are thought to contribute to cancer prevention, cardiovascular health, and it’s been shown to inhibit replication of the herpes virus in lab settings.
- Eggs: Most of the nutrients in an egg are stored in the yolk, where vitamins B6 (pyridoxine) and D are abundant. Together, these nutrients boost progesterone production needed for pregnancy. Vitamin D is instrumental to strong bone and teeth development for mom and baby, too. These vitamins easily break down when exposed to heat so cook them gently to retain these important nutrients. Eat them poached or soft-boiled for optimum nutritional value.
- Sunflower Seeds: The high zinc content of these seeds help keep reproductive hormones in optimum balance but it’s also high in beneficial fiber, B-complex vitamins, vitamin E, copper, and magnesium. The amino acid, tryptophan, is associated with better sleep quality and has been shown to boost the benefits of antidepressant medications in some people.
Pregnant? Don’t stop now! Keep eating these nutritional superstars throughout your pregnancy and while nursing. All their pre-pregnancy perks are good during pregnancy, too, and studies show that a child seems to prefer the foods its mom ate while pregnant and nursing. What a great way to make healthful eating a family affair.
Source: “5 Foods That Boost Fertility.” abcNEWS. ABC News Network. Feb 7, 2014. Web. Feb 14, 2014.