Toolkit

Focus Foods

Posted by Juno on June 01, 2011

 

Make meals that contain as many of these foods as possible.  I culled much of my guidance from my fertility nutritionist, online websites and macrobiotic books. 

Beans:  When 5% of total calories come from vegetable protein instead of animal the risk of ovulation-based infertility drops by more than 50%. (healthy woman.org)

Eggs: I found organic eggs to be a great source of protein and choline for enhancing fertility.  Egg yolks are packed with choline, which cuts down on birth defects and improves a baby's brain function.

Garlic: great health boost for men and women, a natural anti-bacterial and immune booster

Grains (Whole): high in B vitamins and selenium
    • Qunioa
    • Spelt
    • Amaranth

Greens (Dark, Leafy): High in folic acid and iron to prevent miscarriage and birth defects
    • Kale
    • Spinach
    • Mustard greens

Kelp: has a high iodine content, which helps regulate the thyroid
    • after my bout with hyperthyroidism – caused by an HCG shot --  I came to believe that keeping my thyroid in proper balance was vital.

Nuts and Seeds: I upped my intake of nuts and seeds and tried to use them as a major source of protein rather than meats.  A recent study out of Harvard Medical School found that women who ate foods containing more trans fats, animal proteins and empty carbohydrates were more much more likely to have ovulation disorders (like me). 
    • Pumpkin seeds: high in zinc.  promotes proper cell division and fetal development.
    • Sunflower seeds: high in zinc
    • Almonds: loaded w/vitamin E
    • Walnuts: cuts down on inflammation

Pineapple (Raw): Said to do wonders for implantation.  I ate it daily during IVF cycles.

Organic Foods: when it came to meats, cheeses, eggs and milk, I tried to eat organically as much as possible.

Oysters: not just an aphrodisiac!  High in zinc, which helps increase semen volume and testosterone levels in men.  Salmon:  make sure it's the wild variety, rather than farmed (which is loaded with lots of chemicals).  Salmon is a great fish because it's high in DHA/Omega 3 (great for baby's nervous system development) but low in mercury, which can also be linked to infertility.

Teas (Herbal):Since I couldn’t drink coffee or soda or fruit juice (too much sugar), these became my go-to beverages.  I would brew up a big glass jar of nettle tea (I bought the loose tea leaves at a local health food store) and drink it hot in the morning or evening, then keep it in the refrigerator if I wanted a cold drink.
    • Red Clover Tea: is known to contain a high concentration of phytoestrogens, which mimic the action of female hormones in the body. Modern science has recently isolated isoflavones from red clover plants that are similar in shape and action to estrogen.
    • Nettle Tea: During World War I the Germans found that, by adding nettles to poultry food, egg production increased. Nettles are used to increase fertility in both men and women. Due to its high calcium content, the tea is specific for easing leg cramps and other muscles spasms, and also diminishes pain during and after birth.
    • Raspberry Leaf Tea: drink before ovulation, can cause uterine contractions after

Wheatgrass: I first learned of this in Julia Indichova’s Inconceivable and came to see it as a wonder elixir, for everything from skin brightening to FSH lowering.

Wheat germ: Fern Reiss touts this as a virtual cure-all in sprinkle some on your yogurt and fruit.  It’s said to have countless salubrious effects on fertility.

Yams: fertility folklore buzzes with talk of yams having a clomid-like effect of producing more eggs.  So I ate lots of yams, always conscious of buying them rather than their cousin, the sweet potato.

Yogurt : adds good bacteria to the system and staves off yeast infections

 

Foods to Forget


Alcohol

Artificial Sweeteners: do you even have to ask?

Caffeine:  This is one that even mainstream RE's tell you to avoid.  Most books say that decaf coffee and green tea is ok, though unless it's Swiss-water processed, you're getting a cup of chemicals.  I worked my way around to avoiding even decaf and just stuck to herbal teas.

Cottonseed Oil:  You'd be amazed how omnipresent this stuff is.  Check labels of salad dressing, cookies and any processed foods. The more you read about it, the more suspect it sounds. 

Dairy: There's a bit of contradictory info when it comes to whether dairy helps or hurts conception.

     A recent study led by researchers at the Harvard School of Health (see article here ) found that if you are going to eat dairy, make sure it's the full-fat variety. Low-fat dairy seems to lower fertility and conception rates.

     Other studies from the American Journal of Epidemiology (see this link ) and another from the Oxford Journal on Human Reproduction (see this link )  showed that the sugar in cow's milk lowers fertility rates.

MSG: Northeastern University study

Peas:  I've only seen peas counter-indicated one place but if you can live without them, you might as well while TTC. 
    • 1990s University of Illinois Study