A woman and her child mix ingredients into a large cooking pot surrounded by vegetables, bread, and cheese on the counter.

Food and Fertility

When it comes to fertility, there's a lot a woman can do just by changing her diet. Obesity can contribute to fertility issues, and eating right is important to maintaining a healthy weight. Exactly what types of foods to include that "right" category changes when you start trying to eat to concieve. In addition to starting prenatal vitamins, here's a few new ways to look at the food groups.

Whole Grains

When eating for fertility, you don’t have to give up your carbs, but you do have to limit yourself to the right kinds. Whole grains in breads, brown rice, oatmeal and even stone-ground cornmeal are examples of the ideal carbohydrates for consumption. Refined carbohydrates like bleached and white flours and rice should be avoided as they can negatively affect blood sugar and insulin production, making it more difficult to get pregnant.

Pick Your Proteins

When pregnancy is your goal, choose proteins wisely. While most people think of animal proteins, when attempting to boost your natural fertility, greater preference should be given to plant-based proteins. Examples of potent plant-based proteins include: beans, peas and peanuts. That said, there is no need to adopt a completely vegetarian diet, but the more plant-based proteins, the better!

Dairy - Whole Fat Varieties

If you’ve been trying to cut back on your fat content, don’t skimp in the dairy department. Instead of skim, 1% or 2% milk, go for whole milk. The same goes for cheeses, yogurt and even ice cream. While this may seem to go against everything you know about nutrition, women who get plenty of whole fat dairy products in their diet have fewer ovulation issues.

Fruits and Veggies

It’s important to get enough fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet all of the time, but especially when trying to conceive. Not only will these provide you with a regular source of antioxidants, many fruits and vegetables contain folate (think folic acid) which can help guard against a number of potential birth defects and pregnancy issues.

Choose Good Fats

While we’ve already dealt with dairy, it is critical to understand that fat is not always a bad thing. What is important is that you are getting the right kinds of fats. You see, all fat is not created equally. Investigate your nutrition labels to look for foods that are rich in the following “good” fats: mono-unsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and Omega-3 Fatty Acids (which are present in fish oils, flaxseed oil and other items). Foods high in the right kinds of fats include avocados, nuts, sesame seeds, sardines and salmon. Just be sure to pay attention to the kinds of salmon and fish you are ingesting to avoid potentially high mercury levels. While there are other foods that can aid in proper pre-pregnancy nutrition, it’s important not to bite off more than you can proverbially chew. Starting small and making these relatively minor adjustments to your diet can make a major impact on your fertility.