Diet and Nutritious Food – how they can help with Fertility
Everyone is aware of the importance of eating healthy, nutritious foods. Eating the right food plays a major role in the smooth functioning of the body and mind. Maintaining a well balanced diet by avoiding convenience and processed food will be a step in the right direction.
Although some of us do not realise it, even our reproductive health improves and functions better with a healthy food intake. Just eating good foods will not change infertility to fertility, but eating the right type of food can definitely help in boosting chances of fertility.
We give below a few suggestions which should be included in your diet if you are trying to conceive.
Natural or whole foods – Natural foods which are not processed or scarcely processed – are best. They contain the necessary ingredients for a healthy diet. Examples are fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lentils and legumes, oatmeal and nuts.
Food containing antioxidants: The benefits of antioxidants cannot be minimised. They protect the health of both sperm and egg and prevent damage. They help the body’s healthy cells to function to maximum capacity. They reduce inflammation in the body, which has been a cause of infertility. Instead, they provide a healthy inflammatory response in the body which is required for fertilisation to take place. Eating antioxidant rich food on a daily basis is necessary, since they are not stored in the body and need to be replaced for circulation.
Examples: Almonds, apricots, avocados, cauliflower, dark chocolate, oranges, pumpkin, spinach, tomatoes.
Fibrous food: Fibre is important, because it helps maintain balanced hormone levels. It helps remove excess estrogen by binding it in the intestines which is then discarded as a waste product. It helps balance the blood sugar content, since fibre decreases absorption of sugars. Fibre assists the movement of the digestive tract, ensuring the essential function for detoxification is completed.
Samples: Fruit (especially the soluble fibre), avocados, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, sweet potatoes and oats.
Proteins: While proteins are necessary, it has been found that exchanging animal proteins (like meat, eggs and fish) with vegetable proteins (such as beans, seeds and nuts) leads to a reduced risk of infertility. However, one study showed that eating more fish coincided with higher live births after treatment for infertility. Low mercury fish has been recommended.
Vitamins and Minerals: Both these items are important for good reproductive health. Micronutrients in vitamins are essential for fertility. Minerals contribute to sperm production and cell functioning. The efficient secretion of hormones into the blood also depends on minerals.
Samples: nuts and seeds are rich in minerals. So are cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and brussels sprouts. Beans also contain minerals.
Samples of vitamin foods: cabbage, yellow capsicum, shellfish, sardines, Brazil nuts.
Healthy fats instead of trans fats: Healthy fats play an important role in production of hormones and functioning of healthy cells. Such fats can be obtained from a nutritious diet which includes seeds, nuts, avocados, cheese, dark chocolate and fish.
Trans fats on the other hand need to be avoided, as they are linked with risk of infertility since they have a negative effect on the body’s response to insulin. These are usually found in processed products, fried food, hydrogenated vegetable oils, margarine and baked dishes.
Conclusion: A nutritious, wholesome and balanced diet which includes all the above groups of food would be beneficial to those who are trying to conceive. To complement the food intake, sufficient exercise, a stable lifestyle, relaxation and the right weight are also essential.
If you are having problems with male fertility, there are semen tests which can be conducted to understand the issue. We at Andrology Center offer not only the basic semen analysis test but the sperm DNA fragmentation test also, which gives a wider scope of a problem that may exist. We are the only licensed laboratory in India authorised to carry out the SCSA (sperm chromatin structure assay) test. Our advanced technology and equipment guarantees accurate clinical reports. Based on the test results, your fertility specialist can guide you to the best treatment.