Trying to conceive? This is the ultimate diet for fertility

Jan 27, 2015 at 8:43 a.m. ET

If you have been trying to conceive for six months or more, it is time to start using tactics to get more fertile. One of the first steps is a fertility diet. Here is the great news: Not only does this diet help many women get pregnant, but it can also help with PCOS, endometriosis, weight loss and your overall health.

Everyone is always looking for the latest diet fad, especially after the new year. People always try to make huge changes: cutting out carbs, cutting out sugar, cutting out fat. The problem is that just dismissing a huge portion of a diet is not the solution to your health goals. The best place to look for a great diet that helps you lose weight and become healthier is a fertility diet. The key to this diet is the nutrients and foods you consume.

Major nutrients to add to your diet

  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Iron
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • B6
  • B12
  • Lipoic acid
  • CoQ10

Here is a breakdown of the general diet you should follow if you want to improve your health and fertility.

Add high fiber foods, such as fruits, veggies, dark leafy greens and beans. Fiber will regulate your blood sugar and directly helps with PCOS, hormone balance and immunological issues. The important part of this is lots of fruits and veggies to get plenty of vitamin C and B6 vitamins.

Choose organic and whole-fat dairy. Certain dairies, such as milk and cheese, are bad for women suffering from PCOS and endometriosis because they create a hormonal imbalance. Try almond milk as an alternative.

Eat whole grains to get vitamins and improve your immune system. Your blood sugar will balance and your hormones will be regulated. Go for whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, quinoa and brown rice.

Stuff your diet with high, carefully chosen protein. Eating a lot of protein can do wonders for your weight loss goals and give you more energy throughout the day. Red meat and chicken can have many antibiotics and hormones added, so try to find grass-fed meat and free-range or cage-free chicken.

Research the different types of meat to find ones that supply the biggest punch of great vitamins. Eggs are one of the best sources of protein, especially for fertility, and have the added benefit of vitamin D and B12. You can also find protein in non-animal sources which are often better for you.

Protein in vegetarian foods

  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Flax seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Lentils
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Navy beans

When it comes to fish, stick to cold water fish. Fish has omega-3, an essential fatty acid that produces hormones, reduces inflammation, decreases the effects of depression and mental health issues and prevents many diseases. For those TTC, omega-3 regulates menstrual cycles, increases cervical mucus and increases blood flow to the reproductive organs to improve function of organs.

Fish also allows you to get all the benefits of protein without the risks of red meat, plus vitamin A is a major nutrient in fish. Additionally, crab, lobster, shrimp and scallops are great for you.

The most important thing you can do for your diet is to drink lots of purified water. You want to purify it to avoid any toxins from tap water or plastic bottles. A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces.

Foods to avoid

  • No pasteurized juices or processed, refined or artificial sugars. Concentrated sugar throws off your blood sugar levels and can hurt your immune system. Create your own fruit juice and use natural sweeteners for other drinks, such as honey.
  • No processed soy foods. They throw off your hormonal balance with estrogen properties.
  • No GMO foods, especially when it comes to those TTC.
  • No fat-free foods. Not only does our body need certain fats (such as essential fatty acids) to be healthy, but when the fat is taken out of food a ton of sugar goes in its place.
  • Reduce the amount of caffeine you drink, or find foods that have caffeine naturally. Stop drinking soda and energy drinks and reduce how much coffee you drink per day. There are many other ways to get energy for the day.

The reason this diet works in changing fertility is the focus on making the body work better. The nutrients help each system communicate better with each other and function more smoothly to aid in fertility. These mechanics are seriously lacking in the average American body. If everyone followed this diet, we would see a much healthier and productive society. The bonus: It can help you get pregnant!

Image: Wally Hartshorn/Flickr