Could These Essential Nutrients Support Your Fertility Journey?
As the old saying goes, “You are what you eat” – this is especially true if you’re considering or have begun fertility treatment. Not only is a proper diet crucial to your general health, but it helps to prepare your body for pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Consuming healthy foods also provides vital nutrients to your future baby – nutrients that are essential for the development of internal organs and ensuring overall health.
Nutrients Shown To Promote Fertility And Pregnancy
Before becoming pregnant, your healthcare provider will typically discuss what you, and your partner, if any, should eat (or not). Here are some nutrients that may benefit fertility and pregnancy, including their potential food sources.
Naturally produced, the substance called Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10, possesses anti-inflammatory benefits and is required for energy production. It’s also a potent antioxidant, a nutrient that protects against cellular damage caused by harmful molecules. Due to these properties, CoQ10 may impart fertility properties.
For men, CoQ10 may benefit overall sperm health, including protecting sperm from free radical damage and improving motility, or movement. For women, CoQ10 was found to improve egg health and fertilization rates due to diminished ovarian reserve, or poor egg quality or quantity. CoQ10 may also help couples trying to conceive.
CoQ10 is found in such foods as oily fish, eggs, nuts, and whole grains. A fat-soluble antioxidant, it’s better absorbed when consumed in a meal with oil or fat.
Folic acid, an essential B vitamin, is the synthetic form of folate, or vitamin B9. For pregnancy, it’s particularly crucial, as it assists in developing the neural tube, which forms the brain and spine of the fetus, helping to prevent major birth defects. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that women of reproductive age take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid each day; pregnant women should take 600 mcg daily. This is in addition to eating folate-rich foods, such as pasta, fortified breakfast cereals, spinach, pumpkin, and broccoli.
Folic acid may promote women’s fertility, as it may reduce stress levels that can impact conception and prevent early pregnancy defects. Research suggests that folic acid also improves the body’s cell metabolism, including your ovaries. Folic acid may benefit male fertility, including improving sperm quality and reducing risks for sperm abnormalities that could interfere with conception.
The mineral selenium, an essential nutrient, is involved in many important processes, including immunity and DNA function. Due to its antioxidant properties, selenium is especially valuable for fertility and reproduction.
Selenium has been found to promote the health of uterine follicles, the site of egg development and release. For men, higher levels are associated with improved sperm quality and motility. While the richest food sources include Brazil nuts and seafood, you can also consume selenium naturally by eating bread, grains, meat, poultry, fish, and eggs.
A mineral and antioxidant, zinc is very important for male fertility. Essential for sperm development, research has shown that deficiencies may result in low-quality sperm. For women’s fertility, zinc may promote fertilization and egg development, as lower blood levels are associated with longer conception time. Good food sources of zinc include red meat, eggs, dairy products, shellfish, whole grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, and dark chocolate.
Schedule a Comprehensive Fertility Consultation in NYC
Consuming foods rich in specific nutrients can better prepare you and your future baby for your fertility journey. For any questions or concerns, contact Chelsea Fertility Clinic NYC to schedule an appointment. During your consultation, we can discuss any questions you have about how to support your fertility journey.