Whether you are trying to conceive naturally or are using ART to become pregnant, nutrition plays a key role in creating a healthy pregnancy, baby, and postpartum period. Food is medicine in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and is a powerful tool to enhance fertility and combat specific hormonal imbalances. By including certain foods and avoiding others, you can directly impact sperm and egg quality, as well as the health of the ovaries and uterus – all of which contribute to healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.
Below is a quick list of things we recommend to our patients who are trying to conceive:
- Enjoy organic foods: if not all foods are organic focus on the Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen.
- Stick to hormone-free, pasture-raised meats and poultry.
- Avoid refined sugars and simple carbohydrates, prepackaged and processed foods.
- Eliminate or reduce coffee and alcohol: both are inflammatory and restrict blood flow to the ovaries and uterus. A large study conducted by Yale Medical School found that the risk of infertility was 55% higher for women drinking just 1 cup of coffee per day, 100% higher for women drinking 1.5-3 cups per day, and 176% higher for more than 3 cups per day. Do not exceed more than 200mg/day of caffeine (8 ounce drip coffee = up to 200mg; 1 espresso shot = up to 75mg). Green tea is a better option because it contains less caffeine and has beneficial antioxidants.
- Add in antioxidants and healthy fats: these are anti-inflammatory and regulate the immune system. Some good examples include: Beans, berries, turmeric, ginger, garlic, dark leafy veggies, eggs, avocado, and salmon.
- Drink enough water: a good rule is half of your body weight in oz per day.
- Eat Breakfast: a protein filled breakfast will help stabilize your blood sugar which benefits hormone health.
- Drink bone broth as it contains key nutrients and minerals. According to Chinese medical theory, this kind of food supports your body at the deepest level, making especially effective in nourishing your fertile energy. Aim to drink ½ cup a day, or cook with it when making grains or soups.