The main tip to remember when it comes to diet and trying to get pregnant is to eat as if you already are, as eating certain foods and avoiding others can help improve your ovulary function.
So, what changes can you make to your diet to increase your chances of a happy, healthy pregnancy?
Folate-rich foods (vitamin B9)
Folate is naturally found in foliage such as green leafy vegetables like spinach, collard greens, and mustard greens. Beans like edamame as well as lentils and avocado are also rich sources of vitamin B9.
Polyunsaturated fats (omega-3s)
The richest source of these omega-3 fats is fish. You should choose those that contain the highest amounts of omega-3 but are also low in mercury such as sardines, mackerel, anchovies, salmon and herring.
Aim to include two to three serving of these choices in your diet each week—a regimen you’ll want to continue once you’re pregnant for your future child’s mental and behavioural development.
One commonality between diets shown to be beneficial for fertility is eating a high level of monounsaturated fats.
There are many sources of monounsaturated fat that can be integrated into your diet daily such as a high-quality extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds.
Low glycaemic load (GL) carbohydrates
For fertility, it’s not about the amount of carbohydrates in your diet, it’s about the quality of those carbohydrate choices. Eating a lot of rapidly digested carbohydrates that continually cause elevations in your blood sugar and insulin level can lower your chances of getting pregnant. On the other hand, eating slowly digestible carbohydrates can improve ovulation and chances of getting pregnant.
Glycaemic load (GL) is a measure that takes this into consideration. It conveys information about both the number of carbohydrates in the diet and how quickly they turn into blood sugar. The higher the GL, the more rapidly digestible the carbs are. Eating a lot of these, such as white rice, potatoes white bread and refined pasta, rapidly digested carbohydrates increase the odds of ovulatory infertility.
Instead, sources of carbohydrates that reduce the impact on blood sugar and insulin (low GL carbs) should become the mainstay. The added advantage is that these lower GL choices come naturally packaged with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Low GL food choices include leafy green vegetables, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, mushrooms, beans and lentils, and various fruits like grapefruit.
Get your daily protein from as many different sources as you can. If you consume animal protein on a daily basis, replacing a few servings with plant protein seems particularly beneficial for lowering the risk of ovulatory infertility.