by Christine Fung
We eat and make food choices every day. Why don’t we make the best and smartest choices knowing our diet plays a huge role in the fertility journey? Whether you are trying to conceive naturally or going through IVF/IUI, pro-fertility diet and Mediterranean diet are the two superstars to optimize your chances.
A "pro-fertility diet" includes high levels of folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin D, as well as dairy, soy and low-pesticide produce. Apparently, it had a more favorable outcome on fertility when followed in conjunction with assisted reproductive technologies (ART). The Mediterranean diet is also a fantastic choice to support fertility. This diet emphases on 3 major things: good carbs, good fat and plenty of vegetables. It has been shown to have a positive effect on pregnancy rates and promoting oocyte quality.
This diet focuses on plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Olive oil is the principle source of fat and fish, especially fatty fish is a mainstay. Red meat is eaten only on occasion. Dairy products (mostly cheese and yogurt), and poultry are eaten in low to moderate amounts, and eggs (as many as four) in a week.
It’s probably one of the most popular components in the Mediterranean diet. Chickpeas are high in protein and make an excellent replacement for meat in vegetarian and vegan diets. As a rich source of folic acid, chickpeas provide a good basis prenatal. Chickpeas also offer a variety of health benefits, such as improving digestion, aiding weight management. Maintaining a good level of BMI plays a key role for PCOS women.
Avocado is highly nutritious for it’s folic acid which is key for preconception health. It’s also very high in omega 3 fatty acid. The monounsaturated fats in avocados can help manage sugars and decrease inflammation and risks of heart disease. Essential fats are crucial for the reproductive system and in healthy hormone functioning. Avocados are also rich in antioxidants that may help protect cells from damage.
Many women can be benefited by consuming more "warm" foods (it refers to the nature of the food, not the temperature) according to the food therapy (as part of the traditional Chinese medicine theory)."Warm" foods have the effects of elevating body energy and improving blood circulation, both are essential healthy pregnancy. Women experiencing "cold" symptoms such as painful period, margarines, cold hands and feet, stomach pain, and diarrhea can consider this dietary change. Examples of “warm” foods are ginger, garlic, lamb meat, pumpkin and coconut. In Chinese medicine theory, there are 5 categories of foods (such as cold, cool, neutral, warm, and hot). Experienced TCM practitioners should be able to recommend the category of foods for the couple according to their body constitutions at the first consultation.
About the author
Christine Fung is a registered acupuncturist and registered traditional chinese medicine practitioner who's focus in Women's health and fertility. Her practice, Acupuncture Shiatsu Clinic in Mississauga, provides holistic services to treat chronic pain, infertility, depression and other chronic diseases