There is a deception that occurs when we are trying to conceive, as regards our nutrition; at least it happened to me. During my early TTC days, I found myself eating all the unhealthy things in the world. I was depressed and I was sulking, so I imagined that eating sweets would make me feel better. But not only was fat adding up in places I didn’t need it, I was also not getting healthy nutrition that I needed to enable me improve my chances of conceiving. A visit to the doctor however helped me realize that I needed to pay close attention to what I was eating. According to doc, a diet packed with folic acid and Vitamin D was going to help me and my eggs stay healthy and prepped for conception and pregnancy. Below are some of the foods he recommended for me, along with some he asked me to avoid, which not only helped me stay healthy, but also ensured I had a blissful nine months when I eventually got pregnant.
All kinds of fish; tilapia, catfish, salmon, sardines etc. Fish contain Omega-3 fatty acid and is useful for regulating reproductive hormones, while increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs. It helps greatly in keeping the endometrial wall thick, so the uterus can hold any egg that gets fertilized. When I was growing up, I didn’t like fish so much, but after my doc told me why I needed more fish in my diet; my meals mostly always contained fish. I ate sardines with wheat bread or in noodles. I used oven grilled tilapia for jollof rice, and even made catfish pepper soup on some weekends. DH gladly joined in my diet and I am sure he was also better off for it. I also heard that walnuts are a good source of Omega-3, but if you do not like fish or nuts, you can easily get Omega-3 supplements at your pharmacy.
Now, when it comes to dairy products, what was killing me was lack of knowledge. For a long time, I stopped taking whole fat milk and only used low-fat or skimmed milk, and this was because I practically used milk for everything; oats, flakes, tea, coffee, name it, and I was trying to reduce my fat intake. I just thought I could get the protein and calcium out without getting the fat as well. Now, my doctor told me that regular consumption of high-fat diary foods decreases the risk of infertility in women, while low-fat dairy products increased such risks. This is because high-fat dairy products have a lot of calcium and Vitamin D which are great for bones, teeth and reproductive health. The calcium in low-fat milk does not properly absorbed, and so isn’t much good. For those of us who are lactose-intolerant, and calcium supplements come in handy, but the important thing is to take enough calcium and vitamin D.
My doctor also advised me to replace white bread with brown bread, and reduce white rice and sugar snacks. According to him, these foods disturb our menstrual cycles and mess up with ur hormones. On the other hand, whole grains contain folic acid and zinc, they keep the blood sugar level stable and help regulate the ovulation so it’s easy for us to keep track of our ovulation and utilize our fertile window appropriately.
Another important food that I had to take more of when I was trying to conceive was lean turkey and chicken. By lean, I mean the ones that have their skin peeled off. They are a great source of protein and also increase our iron intake which helps to boost our fertility. I was already taking poultry in my diet but I increased my intake and used it to make salads, sandwich, instead of just stews and soups.
Vegetables and Fruits
Off the top of my head, I have always known that vegetables and fruits were an essential part of one’s diet, but what I didn’t know is that, green leaf vegetables are packed with folic acid, which is an important component of a preconception diet. When I found out this important bit of information, I started making vegetable smoothies and drinking a healthy cup every other day. Not only did I notice that my period became so regular that you would count the calendar on it, my cramps also reduced greatly and even my hair became more luscious.
Feeding our bodies with the right nutrition when we are trying to conceive makes our bodies optimal for conception, and keep us healthy all through pregnancy and even on to motherhood. A lot of times, it is little things that count. God speed to us all!
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