Everyone always wants to know what they should be eating when babymaking, and this is wise to consider. After all, the foods we eat are the building blocks for the healthy cells that will become our healthy, happy babies! This is why fertility nutrition is one of the most important aspects of adopting a fertile lifestyle, and should be a major focus for both partners. So let's get into our list of the top fertility foods that should be incorporated into your daily babymaking diet.
1. Nourishing Fats
Our bodies require adequate fat to produce an intricate balance of hormones for optimal fertility. Having either too little or too much body fat creates hormone disruption that can lead to fertility issues. This is why, for example, we often hear of competitive athletes with a suppressed menstrual cycle. Because they have such a low body fat percentage due to vigorous training, they do not have enough body fat to support a healthy period each month. Even women with a low body fat percentage who continue to have a period each month may not have enough body fat to support healthy ovulation. It's a common mistake to assume that, because we're having a period each month, that we are also ovulating each month. This is not always the case! It is quite possible that a woman with a low body fat percentage may not be ovulating regularly, or at all. On the other hand, too much body fat can similarly disrupt hormone balance resulting in irregular or absent periods and ovulation.
It's important to steer clear of trans fats such as hydrogenated vegetable oils and low fat foods that are often processed with harmful fillers in order to remove fat content. Both trans fats and low fat foods are found in processed and packaged foods. These foods are damaging to our hormones and create inflammation in the body that is harmful for fertility and general well-being. The good news is that these harmful foods do not exist in nature and can be avoided when implementing a whole food diet. Similarly, it's important to avoid vegetable oils that appear to be healthy but are typically genetically modified and highly inflammatory. Examples of these include corn, soybean, and canola oils.
Instead, focus on getting adequate healthy fat every single day from foods such like eggs, avocado, olives, nuts and seeds, and healthy oils such as avocado, olive, coconut, MCT, sesame, and palm oils. All oils should be unrefined, cold-pressed, and organic. For those who tolerate dairy well, whole grass-fed dairy such as yogurt, butter, and ghee is full of fertility-loving nutrition. In terms of nuts and seeds, consume them in a raw and sprouted form for better nutrient absorption.
2. Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids
This specific type of fat is just as important as the healthy, fertile fats listed above. Essential fatty acids are essential because the body requires but can not make them. These are found in abundance in fish like wild-caught salmon and sardines, grass-fed red meats, and less efficiently in plant sources such as walnuts, hemp, chia and flax seeds. These omega-3 rich foods reduce inflammation while increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs, support a healthy menstrual cycle, and are beneficial for egg quality and healthy sperm production.
3. Healthy Proteins
Healthy proteins include animal sources that come from grass-fed meats and dairy, organic poultry and eggs, and wild-caught fish and other seafood. Additionally, plant-based sources of healthy protein come from foods such as beans, lentils, sprouted nuts and seeds, and superfood seeds such as chia, hemp and flax seeds. With the exception of legumes such as beans and lentils, protein-rich foods in nature also tend to be high in nourishing fats. Vegan protein powders made from pea protein are another form of plant-based protein especially helpful for those excluding animal protein from the diet as well as those requiring protein supplementation.
While adequate protein is essential for healthy fertility and pregnancy, protein from conventional animal sources that are not organic and grass-fed and from farm raised fish can negatively impact fertility. Unfortunately, these sources of protein are often full of toxins, antibiotics, and exogenous hormones that are disruptive to the body's unique hormone balance and create inflammation in the body. This is especially true for those dealing with endocrine disturbances such as diabetes, thyroid disease, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, endometriosis, and fibroids. Similarly, soy that is genetically modified and non-fermented is not health-promoting, and can be especially harmful to these conditions.
Based upon the research, it appears that a diet which includes adequate protein from a combination of beneficial plant and animal sources is the most optimal for fertility.
4. Collagen and Gelatin
Collagen peptides and gelatin are a specific type of protein that come in powdered form. They are tasteless and easy to digest which allows for easy usage. Both can be added to smoothies, teas, and recipes to enhance protein content. Collagen and gelatin have the same amino acid and nutrient profile, but slightly different usage capabilities. Collagen can be used in both hot and cold items and is easier to blend, so is a better choice for smoothies and hot and cold drinks. Gelatin dissolves best in hot liquids and gels, so is better used to thicken soups and stews and to make homemade gummies.
5. Bone broth
Bone broth is a traditional collagen-rich food that heals the digestive system and provides valuable protein and minerals in a form that is easily absorbed and nourishing to every cell in the body, including the cells that make up the egg and sperm that will become your healthy, happy baby. Bone broth supports detoxification while reducing inflammation and increasing nutrient absorption and immunity. This provides for endocrine glands are well-nourished and optimally functioning, which supports hormone balance and healthy reproduction.
6. Phytonutrients from richly colored fruits and vegetables
Phytonutrients are compounds found in plant foods that give fruits and vegetables their rich, beautiful colors. While not necessary for survival in the way that vitamins and minerals are, phytonutrients protect humans from disease in the same way that they protect fruits and vegetables from bugs, mold, and other threats in nature. There are more than 25,000 known phytonutrients found in plant foods. Some of the most widely known are carotene found in carrots, lycopene found in tomatoes, resveratrol found in red grapes, and phytoestrogens found in soy and flax. Incorporating an abundant variety of richly colored fruits and vegetables in the diet every day ensures a variety of longevity-promoting phytonutrients that protect and enhance fertility and reproductive health.
Additionally, from the perspective of eastern medicine, each organ has a corresponding color that nourishes and strengthens it. Therefore, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables with a diversity of colors at each meal and snack, strengthens the function and health of each associated organ and body system, in addition to providing a variety of protective phytonutrients. Not to mention that a colorful plate is so much more exciting and appealing!
7. Anti-inflammatory herbs and spices
Beautifully colored herbs and spices like ginger, turmeric, cayenne, cinnamon, clove, thyme, and oregano are rich in phytonutrients and anti-inflammatory compounds. This is why cultures around the world with cuisine that focuses on the rich flavors of these and other exotic spices and herbs are known for their health and longevity. Many of these herbs and spices are also believed to be beneficial for desire which is an added bonus for babymaking! Once again, using a variety of colorful herbs and spices on a daily basis is the best practice to incorporate these powerhouse nutrients into your diet. Herbs and spices can be used in teas, smoothies, salads, and cooking to add to the nutritional value and flavor.
Superfoods like maca, goji berries, spirulina, and chlorella have some of the most unique and abundant nutrient and phytonutrient profiles on the planet which make them an important addition to any fertility diet. Like all life-giving foods, the idea is to incorporate as much variety as possible into the daily diet in order to receive the diverse benefits that superfoods offer.
The fertile foods, superfoods, herbs, and spices that are rich in phytonutrients also contain large amounts of antioxidants, and play a part in the balance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body. Oxidation happens in the body when unstable molecules known as free radicals create oxidative stress or damage to our cells. The result of this is accelerated aging and disease. This type of accelerated aging and disease-promoting scenario occurs everywhere in the body, leaving delicate eggs and sperm especially vulnerable to the effects of oxidation. Antioxidant rich foods are anti-inflammatory and combat this oxidative stress to slow aging and protect from disease. As a result, they also slow the aging of our reproductive organs and protect them from disease. Wild blueberries, dark chocolate, broccoli, and cilantro are some of the richest sources of antioxidants. The antioxidant zinc is especially important for sperm production and healthy testosterone levels, and is abundant in grass-fed red meat, oysters and pumpkin seeds.
10. Fermented Foods
Fermented foods contain a variety of beneficial bacteria, acids, and enzymes that promote digestion and heal the digestive tract. With a healthier digestive system, nutrient absorption and utilization is maximized. This means that greater nutrient density is available for the function, detoxification and repair of reproductive organs. As a result, inflammation in the body is decreased, circulation is increased, and cells are healthier for babymaking. Once again, variety is key when it comes to eating fermented foods in order to ensure a range of beneficial bacteria.
All of the fertility foods on this list have been shown to decrease markers of inflammation and promote optimal circulation and healthy tissue. This is essential for babymaking since inflammation is a major cause of all disease and decreases fertility. At the same time, these foods greatly contribute to the health and nourishment of cells that will become your healthy, happy baby. For this reason, it's important for both partners to adopt a fertile diet at least three months prior to conception. Another important reason to do this prior to conception is to create life-giving habits that will be passed on to your future baby. Apart from love and protection, there is no gift more valuable to give to our children than the gift of good health.