There is a wealth of evidence to suggest that eating well and making positive changes to lifestyle can have a significant impact on chances of conception.
A good pre-conception diet is necessary to:
Here are a couple of reasons why
Many of us think were eating healthily, but what does that really mean when you’re thinking of starting a family?
Here are some tips on the kind of things you should be including in your diet on a daily basis and also avoiding completely (if possible):
Antioxidants help to reduce damage from chemicals, pesticides, caffeine, alcohol, smoking and other environmental pollutants. They can also help to improve sperm quality.
Berries, carrots, spinach, kale, mango, pumpkin, squash, pineapple, oranges (basically, any fruit or vegetable that is red, purple, orange, yellow or green in colour)
(the good ones)
We need an optimum level of fat to reproduce, but stay away from the fried, processed foods and takeaways and instead, think Mediterranean diet.
Salmon, mackerel, herring, anchovies, sardines, olives, avocado, coconut, nuts, seeds, cold pressed extra virgin olive oil (not for cooking)
Animal protein in moderation is fine, but plant protein is equally as important for conception as it contains fewer potential toxins and is easier to digest. (Please note: If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is important to ensure you eat a wide variety of plant proteins)
Quinoa, tofu, lentils, beans, chickpeas, nuts, seeds, edamame, tempeh
Dietary fibre helps to control your blood sugar and enables excretion of excess hormones through the digestive tract.
Vegetables, berries, pears, oranges, peas, beans, lentils, potato skins, whole grains (oats, rye, brown or wild rice, barley)
Alcohol is an oxidant, which may cause sex cell damage, and has been linked to preeclampsia and increased miscarriage risk. Excessive alcohol may reduce sperm count.
Mocktails, tonic water with non-alcoholic mixer, Seedlip gin alternative, non-alcoholic beer/wine/cider
(Please note: be careful as some of these do contain a small amount of alcohol and/or a lot of sugar)
Smoking is also an oxidant. It has been associated with reduced overall fertility in females and may reduce sperm count.
None unfortunately. Appetite often increases when smoking ceases, so ensure you are making nutritious food choices (as mentioned above)
In females, just 5ml of caffeine per day has been associated with increased time to conception. Excessive caffeine may also reduce sperm count.
(Please note: decaffeinated drinks contain tannins which have the same effect as caffeine)
In females, just 5ml of caffeine per day has been associated with increased time to conception. Excessive caffeine may also reduce sperm count. (Please note: decaffeinated drinks contain tannins which have the same effect as caffeine)
Compulsive strenuous exercise
Excess endorphins secreted during exercise may interfere with sex hormones, which may in turn decrease chances of embryo implantation and increase first-trimester miscarriage risk. Excessive exercise has been associated with reduced sperm count.
Moderate exercise 30-60 minutes a day is recommended e.g. walking, yoga, Pilates, moderate exercise classes, swimming.
Focus on eating natural, unprocessed foods.
These are just a few of the things you could be eating in moderation or avoiding to support healthy conception and pregnancy.
If you can afford to eat organic, that’s also a great choice to limit the amount of chemicals in your food.
If you’re unable to choose organic fruit and vegetable, using a vegetable wash will help to remove some of the pesticides.
Overall, the key thing to focus on is that both parents are eating a varied diet full of natural, unprocessed food as much as possible, without overdoing any particular food group.
Finally, we all fancy the occasional treat on a weekend, and that’s completely fine – just don’t overdo it and don’t beat yourself up about it enjoy it as your 10% weekly soul food allowance!