As a fertility coach, I’m often asked about food and diet. My clients not only wonder about the best foods to eat to boost their fertility, but how to prepare their food and how much and how often to eat during a given day.
They also like an easy-to-follow guide that spells out exactly what to eat and when, including recipes and how-to’s.
There’s no question that what and how you eat can play a huge role in your fertility. The right food can help regulate your hormones and ovulation, protect your cells (including your eggs), and manage your blood sugar. If you suffer from a condition like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, food can be some of your best medicine to help you manage your condition.
Some basic dietary guidelines to follow include eating whole grains, lots of fruits and leafy green vegetables, and lean, organic, grass-fed meats. Drink a lot of water. Avoid fried foods, packaged and processed foods, trans fats and soft drinks.
Clients also ask me about how to live a healthy lifestyle and incorporate exercise into their lives. As I’ve shared with you before, exercise is NOT on my list of favorite things to do (although I often feel good when it’s over!). For me, it’s easier to do simple exercise, like walking or taking the stairs instead of the elevator – things that are part of activities I would do anyway, rather than a separate activity like going to the gym.
But theory is one thing. It’s easy to say, eat more leafy green vegetables, or get more exercise. Real life is something else.
That’s why I’m including for you an eating and wellness plan for an entire day. This plan specifies your meals and snacks, has you eating every few hours (which helps regulate your blood sugar level and keeps your energy levels up throughout the day), and gives exercise and relaxation suggestions.
- 10-15 minutes of meditation, journaling or other form of intention setting for the day. You can also take a quick walk in your neighborhood or do a few simple stretches, if you like to get your body moving in the morning, like I do.
- Drink a glass of room-temperature water with half a lemon squeezed into it. This helps alkalize your tissues, reduces inflammation, and cleanses your internal organs and rejuvenates your skin. The Vitamin C from the lemon is great for balancing your hormones and regulating your cycles.
- Continue to drink water throughout the day.
- Take your multi- or prenatal vitamin and any other supplements you and your doctor have determined you need.
- 1 cup cooked steel-cut oats with ¼ cup blueberries and cinnamon sprinkled on top
- 1 hard-boiled egg
- Cup of red raspberry leaf tea
Steel-cut oats are a whole grain, which means that it contains all the parts of the grain, instead of having some of the parts stripped during processing. Processing also strips the grain of many of its vitamins and minerals and oftentimes after processing they have to be put back in. When you eat whole grains, you’re eating them in their natural form, you don’t have to eat as much to feel full, and you’re getting all of the vitamins and nutritional value of the grain so it’s better for you.
Blueberries are a real fertility superfood, loaded with antioxidants that help protect your cells (including your eggs). They also have hormone-balancing properties, which aid in ovulation.
Research has shown that women who drink tea regularly have an increased chance to conceive as women who don’t drink tea. Red raspberry leaf tea contains many different vitamins and minerals that it’s believed aid in conception, and help to strengthen and tone your uterus
Mid-Morning Snack: Apple slices with 1 Tablespoon almond butter.
This is one of my favorite go-to snacks. Apples are a dense food and 1 apple represents a cup of fruit, so it really fills you up (and, it’s yummy!). The almond butter tastes great with it and gives you an added protein boost.
Lunch: Kale Salad with Avocado Dressing (Recipe below)
This salad packs a punch, with leafy green kale, avocado and beets, all excellent foods for boosting fertility. Kale is one of the healthiest leafy green vegetables you can eat, loaded with folate and B-vitamins. Avocado is chock-full of healthy fats, Vitamin E (which can improve the uterine lining), and provides a fantastic creamy texture and taste to the dressing. Beets are a fantastic source of antioxidants, which might help, combat against age- related infertility, and are well known to improve blood flow to the uterus to help with embryo implantation, so they’re a great food for women undergoing IVF.
This salad is also easy to make so it’s a great option for a quick lunch. You can also make it in advance and eat it on the go!
After eating lunch is a great time to get some sunshine and fresh air outside. Take a 20-minute brisk walk around the block. Your body will thank you for the break, and the Vitamin D it absorbs from the sunlight! Vitamin D is also great for boosting your fertility and has been linked to higher success rates in IVF.
During your walk, think about all the things you’re grateful for in your life – your family and friends, your home, or your health. I love to think about how fortunate I am to get to live in such a beautiful house (I love my house!), and that I get to share the house with a terrific husband, an awesome son, and the coolest two cats ever!
Mid-Afternoon Snack: Handful of raw, unsalted nuts and seeds.
Almonds, pistachio nuts, pecans, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are all great choices.
Dinner: Lentil and Ginger Soup. (Recipe below)
Lentils and other beans are real powerhouse foods for fertility. Beans are high in fiber, low in fat, a good source of protein, and also rich in folate, iron, and many other vitamins and minerals. Beans also help you develop good quality follicles, the sacs where the eggs grow in the pre-ovulatory phase of your cycle.
Try to have dinner concluded by 6:30 pm. That way your stomach is settled by the time you go to bed around 10 pm and you’ll sleep better.
After dinner you can go for an evening walk or bike ride for a half hour or so.
Before you go to bed, take a soothing bath. This helps you relax and wind down from the day and provides an excellent transition to bedtime. After your bath, take 15 minutes to write in your journal – you can either reflect on your day or continue to give gratitude for the bounty in your life. Giving gratitude at this time will ensure you go to sleep with loving thoughts in your head.
Of course it takes more than one day to see real, lasting changes. But give this plan a try and let me know how it works for you! I can give you a whole week of meal plans if you want!
Lots of love to you!
Recipe: Kale Salad with Avocado Dressing
½ ripe avocado
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
½ bunch organic kale (stemmed and chopped)
1 small beet, thinly sliced
¼ cup dried cranberries or raisins
¼ cup toasted walnuts
sea salt and pepper to taste
Combine avocado, vinegar, mustard and oil in food processor. Pulse until smooth (it should be thick). Season with se salt and pepper.
Mix kale, beets and cranberries/raisins in a large bowl. Toss with avocado dressing.
If you want to add a little grilled chicken on top of the salad you can – I personally prefer it without.
Recipe: Lentil and Ginger Soup
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small chopped onion
3 gloves minced garlic
½ inch shredded fresh ginger
2 ½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
¾ tsp sea salt, divided
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup red lentils
½ cup plain unsweetened almond milk
ground pepper to taste
Heat the oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook 3-5 minutes until tender. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook 2 minutes. Add garam masala, coriander, ¼ tsp of the salt, and cayenne and cook 1 minute. Add vegetable broth and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes until lentils are tender.
Transfer lentil mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Return to saucepan, stir in almond milk, remaining salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute
Ladle into bowls and enjoy!
[Originally posted at B Fit, B Fertile on 5/19/16]