Natural Nutrition To Best Prepare For Pregnancy
This article was kindly contributed by Nutritional Therapist and College of Naturopathic Medicine graduate Sharon O’ Dwyer.
A healthy body increases your chances of conception. Eating nutritionally is an investment in your body, your fertility and your baby. Here are some foods that will get you baby ready!
COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES like vegetables, whole grains, brown rice, whole grain cereals and pasta are some of the best ways to get the nutrients including fibre that positively influence fertility.
PROTEIN contributes towards sex hormone production so is essential for fertility. However, it is important what type of protein you eat. Diets high in red meat are tied to health concerns that can negativily impact fertility. Good protein sources include eggs, beans, nuts, nut butters, tempeh, seeds, oily fish (sardines, small mackerel, salmon, anchovies), white fish and white meat. Avoid fish high in mercury such as tuna, shark, marlin, king mackerel.
GOOD FATS found in oily fish (like salmon and mackerel), nuts and seeds affect both fertility and the healthy development of your growing baby during pregnancy. Trans fats in processed foods and saturated fats from animal meat can have a negative impact fertility and should be avoided.
WATER is important for organ function by serving as the mechanism for delivering the nutrients to your body.
Obtain nutrients from food first and add supplements only as needed. Here are some key nutrients that directly affect fertility:
FOLIC ACID supplementation is recommended prior to and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. It facilitates the development of a healthy spine and brain. Food sources rich in folic acid include green leafy vegetables (such as spinach, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts), peas and beans, certain fruits, especially oranges.
IRON AND VITAMIN C – THE PERFECT PAIR! Iron deficiencies in pregnant mother’s can have long-lasting effects on the brain development of the child. Include these top iron sources: lean red meat (beef, lamb and pork), chicken, turkey, oily fish, nuts, seeds, eggs, breakfast cereals with added iron, peas, beans and lentils, dried fruits (prunes, apricots, raisins) and green vegetables.
Vitamin C helps to release the iron from the food. Stock up on these good sources of Vitamin C to boost your iron absorption: Oranges, berries, kiwi, tomatoes, potatoes, green vegetables, and peppers.
ZINC directly impacts fertility in women and men. Zinc is abundant in vegetables, eggs, onions, beetroot, legumes, whole grains, nuts, sunflower seeds, watermelon and dried fruit.
VITAMIN B6 affects your fertility by contributing to the production of female sex hormones and by regulating estrogen and progesterone. Get B6 from eggs, salmon, peanuts, bananas, and sunflower seeds.
VITAMIN D is essential for the health of mother and baby both while in utero and after birth. It works with calcium to support bone health. Besides sunshine, sources include eggs, oily fish and fortified foods.
VITAMIN E enhances hormone function in women and affects sperm function in men. Find it in oily fish, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, nuts, egg yolk, whole grains and unrefined oils.
CNM trains students for careers in a range of natural therapies, including Naturopathic Nutrition, Herbal Medicine, Acupuncture and Naturopathy. There are CNM colleges across Ireland, the UK, and in the US. www.naturopathy.ie