Change Your Diet to Boost Fertility

There are many, very complex, factors that can affect your fertility levels, but most doctors agree that you can help to boost your fertility by changing your diet. This is particularly true if you have a diet that is high in fat, contains a wide variety of complex carbohydrates, or is generally heavy in junk food. Because what you eat can help to increase your fertility, changing your food focus and focusing on healthy eating as a couple is a wonderful and proactive way to prepare yourself for either an IVF cycle or another step in your fertility journey.

Fertility Diet for Mom-to-be

One of the first things you should restrict in your diet is the amount of sugar you intake. Sugar doesn’t contain nutrients so it doesn’t benefit your body nutritionally and through its metabolism, you actually use up your vitamin stores.[1] It’s essential that you increase your intake of folic acid (a B vitamin), and vitamin B12, which you’re likely to find in animal based foods, such as meat, cheese and milk. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan then you will need to take a vitamin supplement to ensure you’re getting enough vitamin B12 in your diet. Another key dietary decision that will have a massive impact on your fertility is that amount of alcohol you intake. Before starting a course of IVF you should either cut out alcohol completely, or massively limit the amount of alcohol you ingest.[2]  Alcohol has a negative effect on fertility and drinking more than four units of alcohol a week can actually reduce your changes of conception, both naturally and via IVF.

Fertility Diet for Dads-to-be

It’s not just moms-to-be that can boost their fertility by making changes to their diet. In fact if anything, it’s even more important for dads-to-be to ensure their diet is vitamin-rich, because nutrition has a direct impact on the potency of your sperm.[3] Ensure you eat plenty of foods that are high in vitamin C, as this will help prevent sperm defects and boost sperm motility. Many people turn to orange juice as their first choice for a vitamin C rich food, but actually there are plenty of other foods that contain much higher levels of vitamin C. A half cup of chili peppers contains 107.8 mg of vitamin C and a one-cup serving of kale provides 80.4 mg of vitamin C[4]. Don’t restrict your intake simply to orange juice, which you may quickly get bored of drinking on a daily basis. Instead explore other vitamin C rich foods as well.  You should also ensure you have enough zinc in your diet[5], as a lack of zinc can cause your sperm to clump together and perform inefficiently. The good news is that zinc is found in several delicious foods, such as beef tenderloin and oysters. If in doubt, take a supplement to boost your vitamin intake. There is a wide variety of prenatal vitamins aimed specifically at men[6] on the market.

Watch Your Weight

Finally, it’s important to watch your weight as well as just the food you choose to eat when you’re trying to get pregnant either naturally or through an IVF program. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine[7], twelve percent of all infertility cases are a result of a woman either weighing too little or too much.  If a woman has too much body fat, the body produces too much oestrogen and begins to react as if it is on birth control, limiting her odds of getting pregnant. The good news is that if you lose your gained weight, therefore, you are able to reverse the effects of your infertility and increase your chances of getting pregnant.

[1] Kwik Med, “Sugar: The Sweetest Poison”, http://www.kwikmed.org/sugar-sweetest-poison/

[2] Fertility Authority, “Alcohol and IVF: Do They Mix?”, http://www.fertilityauthority.com/blogger/IRMS/2011/10/16/alcohol-and-ivf-do-they-mix

[3] Baby Center, “Dads-to-be: Diet Changes to Boost your Fertility”, http://www.babycenter.com/0_dads-to-be-diet-changes-to-boost-your-fertility_4188.bc

[4] ABC News, “12 Foods With More Vitamin C Than Oranges”, http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/12-foods-vitamin-oranges/story?id=20729780#

[5] The Vitamin Shoppe, Zinc Supplementshttp://www.vitaminshoppe.com/search/controller?N=200784604&type=category

[6] The Best Prenatal Guide, “Prenatal vitamins for men”, http://bestprenatalvitaminsguide.com/prenatal-vitamins-for-men/

[7] The American Society for Reproductive Medicine, “12% of all infertility cases are a result of the woman either weighing too little or too much”, http://www.reproductivefacts.org/awards/detail.aspx?id=8946

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