There’s no need to feel deprived when you’re trying to get pregnant. Quite the opposite. Check out these foods that taste great and can help keep your body in top baby-making condition.
1. Whole Grains
You don’t have to give up carbs, just choose wisely. Complex carbohydrates like whole grain breads, brown rice, stone-ground cornmeal, and oatmeal don’t affect blood sugar and insulin as dramatically as refined carbohydrates (white bread, white rice, bleached flour, etc). And anything that’s good for insulin function is good for fertility.
2. Plant Protein
Protein from plant sources like beans, peas, and peanuts has been associated with increased fertility, as opposed to protein from red meat and poultry. Beans are also high in iron, another fertility-helper. No need to become a vegetarian, but do try to limit meat to occasional small portions.
3. Full-Fat Dairy Products
It might be hard to think of whole milk, full-fat yogurt, and even ice cream as fertility foods, but a study at Harvard found that women who consume these foods (as opposed to low-fat or no-fat dairy) have fewer problems with ovulation. And dairy contains calcium, too, which is an important fertility nutrient. Researchers caution not to overdo it with the full-fat stuff, but one serving a day might help (compensate for the extra calories elsewhere in your diet).
4. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Where to begin with how healthy and important for fertility fresh produce is? First of all, it’s full of antioxidants, which promote general—and reproductive—health. Plus many fruits and vegetables—oranges and citrus fruits, strawberries, green leafy vegetables—are high in folate, an important nutrient to load up on before pregnancy to prevent birth defects.
5. The "Right" Fats: Monounsaturated, Polyunsatured, Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Say “no” to trans fats and saturated fats...and yes to monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids. These fats reduce inflammation and increase insulin sensitivity. Where to get them? In avocados, nuts, sesame and pumpkin seeds, sardines, and salmon.
You can combine these foods in all sorts of ways to magnify the fertility-boosting impact of any meal or snack. Instead of a plain salmon sushi roll, order the one with avocado. Add almonds to your morning oatmeal. Switch to brown rice at the Chinese restaurant. Indulge in creamy cornmeal polenta with cheese, or add a bit of full-fat yogurt or sour cream to black beans. Fabulous-tasting...and fertility-boosting.