Successful marathon runners know that to make it to the end of a race, good nutrition is critical — from the “I’m in training” trail mix to that carb-loading dinner the night before the big run. Like the marathoner, you can use food to boost your chances of making it to the finish line, whether it’s the qualifier race (getting pregnant) or the big event (the 40-week run).
Want to give yourself a head start before you’re even out of the gate? Food can help you get there. Just remember The Good, the Bad, and the Unknown of preconception eating.
· The Good: Be sure you’re getting enough of these three important baby-making minerals (all can be found in a good prenatal vitamin, as well as the following foods).
· Calcium (three servings a day) may actually boost your ability to conceive. You can find this important bone-builder (and baby-builder) not just in dairy products, but also in fortified juices, tofu and soy products (including that super-tasty snack, edamame), broccoli, leafy green vegetables, sesame seeds, and canned salmon with bones.
· Manganese (about 2 mg a day) is important for good reproductive function — in other words, a baby-making essential. Spinach, carrots, broccoli, whole grains, nuts, bananas, and raisins are all good sources of manganese.
· Zinc is crucial for conception — in fact, severe deficiencies can impair fertility. Get your full share (about 15 mg a day) via a supplement or by eating turkey, beef, lamb, pork, chicken, almonds, beans, wheat germ, yogurt, oatmeal, corn, eggs, fortified breads and cereals, and cooked shellfish, especially oysters. (Could that be why oysters have always been on the hot list when it comes to aphrodisiacs?)
In addition to these big three, don’t forget to get your fill of folic acid. While it won’t make you fertile, it is critical to your baby’s health — not just in the earliest days of pregnancy but before you even conceive. You’ll find folic in spinach and other green leafies; citrus fruits; nuts, legumes; and enriched products, such as grains and orange juice — but for insurance, take a prenatal vitamin too.
The Bad: Avoid two big fertility-busters: excessive caffeine (more than three cups of coffee a day) and alcohol (heavy drinking can impair fertility in both men and women).
The Unknown: Lots of herbal supplements and teas are billed as fertility enhancing, but it’s still too early to tell how effective — or how safe — they are. In fact, some herbs touted as conception promoting can even be dangerous to your baby if you do conceive. So be cautious with supplements — check with your practitioner before you use any of them.
Posted by : Goral Gandhi, MSc,
Rotunda – Center for Human Reproduction (Pvt) Ltd