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How Your Diet Can Boost Your Chances of Conceiving

Updated: Mar 23


Fertility diet for IVF and conceiving naturally

Are you struggling to conceive and feeling lost about how to improve your fertility? You're not alone. Many women face challenges when it comes to conceiving, whether it's due to low egg reserve, age-related concerns, or other factors such as PCOS or endometriosis. But before you jump into expensive fertility treatments or feel discouraged about your options, have you considered looking at what's on your plate?

That's right, your diet can play a crucial role in boosting your chances of conceiving and there is a 'best diet' for fertility.

In this blog post, our resident fertility nutritionist Gail will share her top fertility tips on what foods to include in your fertility diet. So, read on to learn more about how the foods you eat can help improve your fertility and increase your odds of conceiving.


Eating the rainbow - the importance of fruits and vegetables when trying for a baby

In order to ensure healthy fertility and pregnancy, it is essential to have a varied diet with colourful fruits and vegetables. These foods are packed with essential vitamins and minerals that provide all the nutrients necessary for a healthy reproductive system. Not only do they provide nutrients like polyphenols, flavonoids and fibre, but they also help maintain reproductive health and decrease the risk of birth defects.


To ensure you obtain a wide spectrum of nutrients and cultivate a healthy gut and vaginal microbiome, aim to consume no less than 30 plant-based foods every week. Experiment with new seasonal produce to add some excitement to your diet and take advantage of the increased nutrient content.

If you want to make eating diverse fruits and vegetables more convenient, a veg delivery service like Oddbox or Abel and Cole could be an excellent option. Each week, they offer a variety of fresh produce to keep your meals interesting and healthy.



How fibre can impact your fertility hormones


Fertility diet plan London

Fibre refers to the indigestible part of plant foods. Examples include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Fibre can have a significant impact on hormones that control hunger and appetite. High-fibre foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes help slow down the rate at which food leaves your stomach, leading to feelings of fullness and satisfaction. Fibre also helps regulate blood sugar levels, which is important for hormone balance and weight management.


In addition to weight loss, fibre can also play a role in supporting fertility. Hormones play a crucial role in the reproductive system, and a balanced diet that includes fibre-rich foods can help support hormone production. If you're trying to conceive (TTC), you may want to consider incorporating more fertility-friendly foods into your diet, such as leafy greens, whole grains, healthy fats, and probiotics. Eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes plenty of fibre is a crucial component of a fertility anti-inflammatory diet.


Consuming a sufficient amount of fibre is vital for maintaining a healthy body. Experts recommend that we should consume a minimum of 30g of fibre daily. This should be broken down into three main meals, with each meal consisting of 10-15 grams of fibre. Ever wondered how much 15g of fibre in food looks like? It's roughly equivalent to one cup of raspberries or half a cup of cooked lentils.


A fibre-rich diet helps promote a healthy gut microbiome and improve insulin sensitivity. Failure to consume adequate amounts of fibre can lead to constipation and impede the elimination of toxins and hormones from the body. Insulin resistance triggered by a lack of fibre can cause ovaries to overproduce androgen hormones, leading to adverse effects such as worsened PCOS, late ovulation, or no ovulation at all. 



How processed foods can decrease your chances of conception


Fertility nutritionist London

Consuming a diet high in processed foods and excess sugar can wreak havoc on your hormonal balance and overall health. Examples of highly processed foods include sugary drinks, crisps, and processed meats, ready meals and long life foods.

 

Such foods are often nutrient-poor and can cause inflammation in the body, which in turn can affect reproductive health. A study found that women who consumed a high amount of processed meats, sugars and grains had a 41% lower chance of getting pregnant via IVF. In contrast, women who consumed more vegetables, whole grains, fruit, and lean protein had a 33% higher chance of successful conception. Prioritise whole, nutrient-rich foods for optimal reproductive health.


This means incorporating fertility foods into your diet such as leafy greens, berries, avocados, and omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and nuts. Additionally, incorporating healthy fats for pregnancy and probiotics for fertility can further enhance your chances of conception. Remember, small changes in your diet can have a big impact on your fertility journey.


The importance of health fats when trying to conceive


Fertility Nutritionist London

It's important to avoid consuming trans and saturated fats for better health. These fats cause inflammation in the body, leading to health issues like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Fast food, processed foods, red meat, and dairy products are among the sources of these fats. Instead, opt for monounsaturated fats, which have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body. These fats are essential for reducing oxidative stress and lowering inflammation, which has a positive effect on egg and sperm quality. They can also improve brain function and cardiovascular health, as well as regulating proper hormone synthesis.

Sources include oily fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel, as well as avocados, nuts and seeds, and olive oil. Adequate intake of healthy fats keeps you feeling fuller for longer, reduces the likelihood of snacking, and benefits blood sugar levels, all of which are important for fertility.  By making smart dietary choices, you can protect your body and support your overall health.

 


The role of pre and probiotics in vaginal health & conception


meal plan by nutritionist for fertility

Maintaining a healthy gut is essential for overall well-being, and prebiotics and probiotics play a key role in achieving this. Prebiotics, found in fruits and vegetables, serve as food for probiotics, which are live bacteria that help maintain a healthy balance of gut flora. These beneficial bacteria promote better nutrient absorption and waste elimination.


In addition to supporting gut health, consuming a diet rich in pre and probiotics can also improve the vaginal microbiome, resulting in better reproductive health. When selecting a probiotic, look for key strains such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria for maximum benefits.


For enhanced vaginal support, consider adding strains like Lactobacillus Reuteri and Lactobacillus Gasseri to your regimen. It's not uncommon for an imbalance of bacteria in the vaginal microbiome to be a factor in fertility issues for women. At our fertility clinic, we regularly run vaginal microbiome testing with our clients to identify overgrowth of bacteria such as Gardnerella, BV, or Candida, which can potentially hinder conception.



If you're struggling with infertility, working with our fertility specialist can help you develop a nutrition plan that is tailored to your individual needs. Whether you're trying to conceive or simply looking to improve your health, eating a diet that is rich in fibre and other essential nutrients can provide important nutrition for fertility and pregnancy and support optimal hormonal balance.





Gail Madalena

Registered Nutritional Therapist, Fertility & Pregnancy Specialist

Dip CNM, mBANT, mANP, mCNHC

Fertility & Pregnancy Nutritionist London

Gail Madalena is a registered nutritional therapist specialising in fertility, pregnancy and women’s health. Her expertise lies in hormonal imbalances, such as irregular cycles, debilitating PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, thyroid issues and sub-optimal fertility. Her goal is to reduce hormonal side effects and symptoms by addressing the root cause of the issue. Gail helps couples optimise your nutrition and lifestyle choices, supporting you on your journey to achieving a healthy pregnancy.




At The Natural Balance we do not attempt to prevent, treat or cure any physical, mental or emotional issues. Do not disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical advice because of information you have read on this website. Do not start or stop taking any medications without speaking to your primary health care provider.

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