Most women save the focus on healthy eating until after they're officially expecting. But if you're trying to get pregnant, what you eat could help give your fertility a boost. And we're not just talking about eating as many nutritious foods as possibleor banning pregnancy no-nos from your diet when you're TTC. We're talking about a full fertility diet that's loaded with healthy foods experts believe women should incorporate when they're TTC to improve their odds.
"When trying to get pregnant it is important to evaluate your lifestyle and nourish your body," Dawn Lerman, a nutrition consultant and author, told Fit Pregnancy. "Like you prepare your house before you bring your baby home, prepare your body for conception. The healthier we are physically before pregnancy, the better the environment to maintain a healthy pregnancy and conceive."
That's even led one UK fertility clinic's nutritionist, Celia Cooper, to design a three-course menu with the purpose of helping women conceive. (Maybe perfect for a romantic dinner tonight, if you're TTC?) Cooper's meal plan is built around the vitamins and minerals that support fertility, according to Daily Mail, where it was originally published.
Cooper suggests the following:
• A starter of butternut squash hummus, served with a half of an avocado and milled oat crackers (which contains zinc and folic acid, while the avocado adds omega 3 and vitamins B and E)
• A salmon entree served with quinoa and pumpkin seed salad (salmon has essential fats that are great for the reproductive system; zinc has been shown to be beneficial for sperm development in men and in cell division)
• Yogurt, granola, and berry parfait for dessert (the yogurt is high in calcium, and the berries are antioxidant-rich)
"For anyone who is thinking about conceiving it is worth taking a close look at your diet," Cooper told Daily Mail. "Nutrition is vital and that's why I'm often called in to help couples put together meal plans with the hope of filling their bodies with the right vitamins and minerals."
Lerman also believes folic acid, zinc, calcium and healthy fats are all things women should seek out when trying to conceive, so if you want to stick to a very specific plan, you might want to give Cooper's a try.
"With every bite, you are either depleting your body or filling it with substance," Lerman said. "I recommend adhering to a whole food diet—rich in vegetables, lean sources of protein, fiber-rich whole grains and healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, wild salmon, eggs, and coconut oil. Don’t forget to include calcium-rich foods such as yogurt and dark leafy greens. And make sure not to go too long between meals. Try a mid-morning smoothie or a warming cup of bone broth, or lentil soup with diced sweet potatoes in the afternoon."
We all know how important it is to maintain a healthy diet during pregnancy, but according to Lerman, what you eat before you've conceived is also incredibly important. "As a nutritionist I advise my clients who are trying to get pregnant to maintain a healthy weight. Many cases of infertility are due to weight extremes, which can alter hormone levels and throw off ovulation schedules." Eating healthier and maintaining a healthy weight could be your key to conceiving.