Q: We’ve been planning to have a child for a few years now but without success. Could you give us suggestions on improving fertility, and having a healthy baby?
The most important aspect of fertility is the quality of eggs and sperm produced by females and males respectively.
Improving egg quality for fertility involves increasing the right nutrients, reducing or eliminating environmental toxins and addressing daily stressors. With good-quality egg and sperm, the chances of conception, successful uncomplicated full-term pregnancies, and healthy happy babies are greater.
Ideally the following preconception changes should be implemented by both the future parents in their daily routine for six months before intending to conceive:
• Eat foods that help balance your hormones. You need good fats and high-quality protein to build hormones and improve sperm quality and count. Omega 3 and saturated fats help in sex hormone production. So include a lot of olives, avocado, coconut, almonds, walnuts, macadamia, grass-fed meat, salmon, organic ghee in your diet.
• Cutting down carbs to 50 or 40 per cent of your daily diet and increasing protein intake by more than 20 per cent can boost fertility.
• Oxidative stress is one of the reasons for compromised fertility. Antioxidants are thought to reduce the damage caused by oxidative stress. Increase intake of dietary antioxidants from green leafy vegetables, organic meat, organic berries, figs, guava, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds.
• Practise stress management. Stress can adversely affect your ovulation. You may get your periods every month but may not produce eggs. Stress increases production of cortisol and reduces the production of oestrogen and progesterone. Cortisol signals your body that this isn’t a good time to get pregnant. You can have a woman who is eager to get pregnant, yet her body is saying "absolutely not". Take small steps to control stress such as five minutes of daily meditation, nightly journaling and going to bed early.
• Certain micronutrient supplements can be taken every day to optimise fertility. Vitamin A (daily 2 tsp of spirulina, 300g of spinach or amaranth leaves can give you enough vitamin A), vitamin C (2,000mg), D (dosage will depend on your serum vitamin D3 levels), B complex 100 (it should have at least 400mcg of folate), Iron (30mg), and vitamin E (400mg) are recommended as a part of preconception care.
• Future fathers need to include vitamin C (2000mg), E (400mg), Zinc (50mg), Selenium (200mcg) daily.
Rashi Chowdhary is a nutritionist, diabetes educator and creator of The Protein Bake Shop. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.