The Top 5 Mistakes with Fertility Diets
Full Circle Prenatal was born out of a desire to help better support my private practice clients who were struggling with infertility. Over the past 10 years working in this specialty area of practice, I've seen a huge range of infertility cases, each one with unique aspects. This makes a one-size all approach unrealistic and ineffective even though those types of plans are being sold for a dime a dozen!
There are, however, a handful of things that I've seen come up over and over again when reviewing clients' diets that I want to share with you to help you in your efforts to conceive, have a healthy pregnancy, and ultimately a healthy baby.
First, what is a "fertility diet"? I define a fertility diet as one that helps improve the balance and function of your whole body so that your reproductive system thrives. An effective fertility diet will:
- Improve digestion
- Decrease inflammation
- Provide key nutrients
So what are the TOP 5 Mistakes that I see when it comes to most fertility diets?
1. Eating low-fat dairy: Eating low-fat yogurt? Swap that out for the whole-milk counterpart (preferably raw, organic, from pasture-raised cows too!). The largest study ever done on fertility showed that full-fat dairy supports fertility while low-fat dairy actually inhibits it. Why? There are natural hormones found in both the fatty and skim parts of milk; together, they are complementary but alone, they can throw our own hormones out of balance. Bottom line? This is another case of food being most beneficial in it's natural, unprocessed form. That is something you can count on being true now and forever.
2. Avoiding animal protein: There are people that thrive on a vegetarian and even vegan diet, however, the majority of people will benefit from the bioavailable, balanced protein and other nutrients in animal protein (think eggs, dairy, meat, poultry, and fish). Key fertility nutrients like Vitamin A, E, coenzyme Q10, choline, DHA and more are either not found in plants or are not as easily converted into a form our bodies can use. Eat a plant-based diet? YES! Absolutely, but don't omit animal products in an effort to improve your fertility -it does exactly the opposite for most.
3. Not eating enough: Perhaps your doctor has told you to lose weight to improve your fertility and you've slashed calories to do so. While some weight will come off quickly, your metabolism will suffer. Why does this matter? Our metabolic system and our reproductive system are reciprocally regulated. Simply put, both systems talk to each other. When our metabolism slows, reproductive functioning is turned down. This is our body doing exactly what it is designed to do but it is not helpful for fertility!
4. Eating less "real food" in favor of convenience foods (including restaurants meals, take-out, processed foods): This is where the bulk of the processed, vegetable oil comes from in our diet and those are pro-inflammatory, and damaging to both sperm and egg quality as well as all of the fluids needed to conceive.
5. Eating too little fat: fat is not only a key building block for our hormones but it also helps deliver fat-soluble, fertility supporting vitamins like A, D, E, and K to our body. Fat also helps regulate blood sugars which are good for metabolic functioning and in turn, reproductive function.
Need help with implementing these strategies? Or, have you made these changes and still struggling to conceive? There may be more going on. I'd love to talk to you about how I'd approach your case. Learn more about how functional nutrition can help you conceive and have a healthy baby.