Foods to Improve Fertility
Infertility is an increasing problem for many couples. The causes of infertlity range from genetic complications, hormone imbalances, life-style and diet. A healthy diet for both the male and female partner is very important especially if you are having trouble conceiving. Adding certain foods and removing others from your diet can actually improve fertility and raise your chances of getting pregnant.
Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking can have a detrimental effect on your chances of conceiving, so should be avoided. The more alcohol that both partners consume – the lower the chance of getting pregnant. The odd drink is fine, but binge drinking is not recommended if you want to get pregnant. Excessive alcohol can lower zinc levels, which can lower sperm counts in men. Alcohol can prevent implantation in women.
Sugary snacks such as chocolates, biscuits and cakes can affect hormone balances in the body. These foods should not totally be cut out of your diet, but keep to a minimum.
Foods high in saturated fat, ready meals and junk foods deplete the body of essential nutrients that are needed for conception. These foods are also generally high in sugar and salt.
Caffeine, which is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and many carbonated drinks, can reduce your chances of conceiving. It is worth noting that the odd caffeinated drink or bar of chocolate is fine, but when these foods are eaten in excess, fertility can be affected. In males, excess caffeine intake can cause impotence by reducing blood flow. This lack of blood flow also affects the motility of a fertilised egg in females.
The following foods, aside from improving your general health, can help you to conceive:
A diet that is high in antioxidants will improve the reproductive function of both partners. Antioxidants are present in coloured vegetables, such as peppers and green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach. Strawberries, blackberries, pomegranates and raspberries are examples of fruits that are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are natural substances that help to protect the body from the harmful effects of free radical damage. Free radicals can be formed by factors such as exposure to radiation (including over exposure to the sun’s rays), cigarette smoke, air pollution, exercise, processed foods, household cleaners and stress.
Zinc is a very important mineral for a healthy male reproductive system. Foods that have high amounts of zinc are shellfish, red meat, pumpkin seeds, lentils, sunflower seeds, ginger root, pecans, and brazil nuts. Other good sources are whole wheat, rye, oats, peanuts, lima beans, almonds, walnuts, and buckwheat.
Omega 3 oils are required to maintain hormone health. Good sources of omega 3 oils are oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring. Vegetarian sources of these essential oils are linseeds (flaxseeds), pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
Selenium is another mineral that is essential for good reproductive health in both males and females. This mineral is usually obtained from the soil in foods such as rice and oats, but modern farming techniques have resulted in lower levels of selenium. I would recommend you to include a daily supplement of this mineral as part of your diet.
As an alternative to coffee and tea, which are high in caffeine, you can have herbal teas which can help immune, digestive and your natural detox function. These health benefits will further improve fertility and your reproductive function.