What you & your partner eat before conception affects the health of the egg and sperm, but also the health of your future child.
In the ideal world 6-12month preparation is recommended, however it’s never too late to introduce healthy fertility superfoods into your diet.
The following foods, some of which are still labelled as politically incorrect nutrition, are the best foods you can possibly eat to enhance your fertility.
Regular consumption of these will not only enhance your fertility, but also improve your gut function, balance your hormones, improve your mood & enhance your libido to name a few.
Try incorporating new food each week, if you’ve never tried some of these before.
Many of the top functional medicine practitioners are recommending these foods, especially in cases of unexplained infertility.
Eggs (pasture raised)
Eggs are a powerhouse of nutrients, plus they offer easily absorbable form of protein. Choline, within the egg yolk, is very important for normal development of baby’s brain function. The eggs from pasture raised hens are also rich in nutrients such as A, D, E & K2, but also folate, iron, zinc and selenium. Aim for at least 1-2 eggs per day.
Note: Eggs (especially egg whites) should be avoided in people with autoimmune conditions, leaky gut or inflammatory gut conditions. They may be enjoyed again once the gut is healed.
My childhood favourite. Chicken livers were served in my mum’s kitchen on regular basis, usually mixed with scrambled eggs. Traditional cultures have used this superfood as part of the preconception diet for millennia.
Liver from a healthy pasture raised or grass fed animal is a rich source of vitamins A & D, B12, B2, B6, choline, biotin, folate, vitamin C, but also rich in minerals such as iron, zinc, copper and phosphorus. Try to eat liver at least once or twice a week and continue during pregnancy.
This gelatin rich food helps you to strengthen your bones, tendons, hair, skin and nails. It can be made from the bones of different animals. It is one of the best superfoods for healing a leaky gut (more on this subject coming soon). Bone broth contains the amino acid glycine, which is conditionally essential during pregnancy.
Glycine is needed for the formation of placenta and helps to protect mum and the child from stress and toxins. These are great reasons to incorporate broth in everyday cooking. Click on this link for recipe and more benefits of consuming bone broth.
I like to have my broth in the mornings, usually with soft boiled egg and fresh herbs (coriander, parsley, sage etc.). Yum!
Butter (from pasture raised animals)
I love this delicious yellow gold, the queen of fats. On everything!
Butter contains vitamins A, D, E and K2 essential for proper development of the baby’s body and the brain. It also contains selenium & iodine needed for proper thyroid function.
Coconut oil has immune enhancing and antimicrobial proprieties. It can nourish the gut microbiome and be used as a source of energy. It’s excellent for supporting yours and the baby’s nervous and brain function.
You can use it in cooking, frying, smoothies, teas etc.
Meat and fish
Grass fed meat or wild game can be enjoyed daily, ideally consumed with the fat. Meat is a rich source of protein, zinc and iron, needed for baby’s healthy body, blood and brain development. Many women are depleted in these two minerals.
If you have trouble digesting meat, try to mix it with glycine rich bone broth in slowed cooked casseroles.
Oily fish such as sardines, anchovies, herring or mackerel are a great source of essential fatty acids and vitamin D, which helps to balance the vitamin A intake from liver. The bones of the small fish are a good source of calcium.
Lacto-fermented foods and condiments
I was raised on sauerkraut and home-made kefir, a staple in Slovak kitchen.
Fermented foods contain plethora of good bacteria that plays an essential role in the health of your gut and general wellbeing. When you encourage the growth of the good bacteria in your gut, it also flourishes in the birth canal and breast milk once you become pregnant.
Your baby will acquire the good bacteria from the birth canal as it passes through during birth (in natural birth only). However this is not the baby's first exposure to beneficial bacteria. The beneficial bacteria has been found in the womb, amniotic fluid and umbilical cord, which dispels the myth that womb is a sterile environment.
If you never tried fermented foods before, start with small amounts few times a week and slowly increase the intake to daily consumption.
Note: in case of SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) some people may react to fermented foods. Consult your holistic practitioner, if you experience any unwanted symptoms.
Fresh leafy green vegetables and fruits (organically grown)
Leafy greens are a source of folate, magnesium and vitamin C, however they are not as nutrient dense as animal foods. Try to buy organic and seasonal produce whenever possible to avoid chemicals (pesticides effect reproductive function) or you can start your own veggie patch.
Note: cruciferous vegetables should be cooked (serve with butter) or fermented and used in moderation, if you have an underactive thyroid function. They can block the absorption of valuable iodine needed for normal thyroid function.
Salt is essential for normal digestion of carbohydrates and proteins. It plays a critical role in the neurological development of the child.
The best type of salt is unrefined (not table salt) salt such as Celtic sea salt, Himalayan or Hawaiian (pink) salt. This type of salt is balanced with other trace minerals such as magnesium. Good levels of sodium are essential during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
The above tips are general suggestions only. Avoid any of the recommended foods, if you have an allergy or sensitivity to it.