Eating For Three: How Dietary Changes Can Improve the Likelihood of Conception
Chocolate might be an aphrodisiac, but it does nothing to promote fertility. Whereas sexual arousal is connected to the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, fertility is more dependent on the presence of vitamins and minerals that are conducive to good reproductive health. While no food in and of itself can ensure that you and your partner will be successful in achieving pregnancy, eating a balanced diet rich in certain nutrients can definitely help to promote the successful fertilization of an embryo.
All things in moderation is a good mantra for those who are trying to conceive. Women should avoid extreme dieting as substantial weight loss can disrupt their ovulation cycles. For men, rapid weight loss can result in a decrease in sperm count. Any changes that you make to your diet should be gradual and subtle, and your primary goal should be to improve your overall health, not simply to drop weight.
It is also important that you supplement your balanced diet with higher levels of certain nutrients. Zinc, for instance, possesses the most scientifically verified connection to fertility. In men, zinc is crucial for the maintenance of proper semen volume and testosterone levels. It also helps to regulate the body’s hormone levels, so it’s good for women too. Oysters, liver, eggs, and meat are all excellent sources of zinc. Vegetarians can opt for an over-the-counter supplement.
In men, the health of the sperm is going to be the deciding factor in achieving conception. Vitamin E, which can easily be found in fortified cereals and green leafy vegetables, improves sperm viability, while vitamin C, such as that in citrus fruits, tomatoes, broccoli, and bell peppers, is good for sperm motility. Folic acid is good for both men and women because it both improves sperm count and decreases the likelihood of neural tube birth defects.
Regular ovulation is absolutely essential for a woman to achieve pregnancy. Eating a diet that is high in fiber, supplemented with low-fat protein sources, can combat hormonal imbalances that are often responsible for disrupted ovulation. Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and whole wheat grains along with low-calorie meats such as fish, turkey, or skinless chicken.
Although many people are aware of the damaging effects of alcohol during pregnancy, fewer are aware of the fact that alcohol should also be avoided by those trying to become pregnant. Alcohol can damage sperm and eggs. Mix a virgin cocktail if you still want the visceral experience. Also, cut back on those morning cups of coffee. Although research has established a stronger correlation between female infertility and caffeine consumption, early findings suggest that caffeine may also hinder a man’s ability to become a father.
Lifestyle changes once baby comes along are inevitable. Making small concessions during the period leading up to conception will help prepare you for the moment when your life will be forever altered – for the better.
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