A fertility diet is a strategic eating plan designed to enhance egg quality and thus, increase the chances of conception. While there is no guaranteed method to boost egg quality, adopting a fertility-focused diet and implementing some lifestyle changes can have a positive impact on egg quality.
While individual dietary needs may vary, adhering to these dietary principles and incorporating specific fertility-boosting foods can contribute to better reproductive health and potentially enhance your journey toward parenthood.
Prioritise fruits and vegetables: Consuming ample fruits and vegetables is essential. They're rich in antioxidants, offering protection to eggs from potential damage. Aim to incorporate at least five servings of these nutrient-packed foods into your daily meals.
Opt for whole grains: Choose whole grains over refined grains. Whole grains provide sustained energy due to their complex carbohydrates. They also offer high fibre, aiding in blood sugar regulation and hormone balance throughout the day.
Nutrient-rich foods: A diet replete with essential nutrients proves crucial for optimising egg quality. Emphasis should be placed on whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; lean proteins, which are crucial for cell growth and repair; and healthy fats as these provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that promote reproductive health.
Reduce processed foods and sugary drinks: Minimise your consumption of processed foods, sugary drinks, and unhealthy fats. These items are laden with detrimental ingredients like added sugars, unhealthy fats, and artificial additives. Such foods can negatively impact egg quality and hormone production.
Maintain a healthy weight: Weight management plays a significant role in fertility. Both being overweight and underweight can disrupt reproductive health. Strive to maintain a healthy weight appropriate for your body type and height.
Antioxidant-rich foods: Vitamins C and E, selenium, and beta-carotene, which function as antioxidants, can shield eggs from oxidative stress. Incorporate antioxidant foods such as berries, citrus fruits, leafy greens, and cruciferous vegetables. These foods help protect eggs from oxidative stress and improve overall reproductive health.
Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for cell health and hormone production. They can be found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines, as well as in nuts and seeds.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): CoQ10 is an important antioxidant for egg production. It's present in meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, and can support your reproductive health.
Folate and Vitamins B and D: Adequate intake of folate and B vitamins, such as B6 and B12, holds paramount importance for the health of eggs. Sources of these nutrients include leafy greens, fortified cereals, legumes, and lean meats. Vitamin D also plays a role in improving the quality of eggs; you can derive it from sunlight. Fatty fish, eggs, and fortified milk are excellent sources of this vitamin.
Protein: Opting for lean protein sources like poultry, fish, and legumes is recommended. Protein is integral to tissue repair and hormone production, both pivotal for reproductive health. Vegetarians can consume food items like paneer, tofu, and pulses for their protein intake.
Iron: Foods rich in iron, including lean red meat, spinach, and beans, are essential in preventing anemia, which adversely affects fertility and egg quality.
Healthy fats: Integrating healthy fats from sources like avocados, olive oil, and nuts into one's diet is advised. These fats bolster hormone production and overall reproductive health.
Low-glycemic carbohydrates: The consumption of complex carbohydrates with a low glycemic index (GI) is advocated to help regulate blood sugar levels. High-GI foods can contribute to insulin resistance, which may impede egg quality. Opt for whole grains, legumes, and vegetables.
Caffeine and alcohol: Restricting caffeine intake and abstaining from excessive alcohol consumption is advisable as both substances can negatively affect fertility.
Hydration: Proper hydration through water, coconut water, juicy fruits, and buttermilk is imperative for overall health and hormone regulation.
Changes in lifestyle
Managing stress levels: The impact of chronic stress on hormonal balance should be considered. Implementing stress-reduction techniques such as yoga,
meditation, or deep breathing exercises is beneficial.
Regular exercise: Engaging in moderate, consistent physical activity assists in weight management and contributes to overall well-being.
Proper sleep schedule: Sleeping is an integral requirement for good reproductive health.
Inputs by by Dr Malti Madhu, Senior Consultant- Fertility & IVF, Apollo Fertility, Noida, and Dr Santosh Gupta, Fertility Consultant at Nova IVF Fertility, Koramangala, Bengaluru