The best fertility diet

Nov 20, 2012 at 4:00 p.m. ET

Great nutrition can give couples the boost they need for fertility. When you're ready to try for a baby, it's so important you get in shape and eat the best you can.

couple eating healthy food

This goes for both men and women, ensuring sperm and eggs are healthy for conception. When you think about changing diets or boosting what you eat you imagine lots of weird foods or big changes, but it doesn't have to be like that. Take some simple yet effective steps to make sure you're enjoying the best fertility diet.

Generally speaking, men and women should avoid smoking, excessive consumption of alcohol and food that is poor in nutrition (e.g. those that are high in bad fats, loaded with sugar and preservatives etc). Always aim for the common rule of three serves of fruit and veg a day, some fibre and a little treat.

The men

In charge of sperm production, men should consider boosting their zinc intake. In her guide, Fit 4 Fertility, nutritionist, Sam Beau Patrick, says "to make (sperm) swim longer, harder and to give them more wriggle, make sure your zinc levels are HIGH."

Patrick recommends men consume zinc through shellfish (such as oysters), pumpkin seeds, almonds, chia seeds and walnuts.

The women

Women need to consider a diet that will help them produce eggs and create a healthy environment for the baby to grow. Good health is also beneficial for the birthing process and the months that follow (e.g. nutritous mik supply and stamina to get through the sleep-deprived days).

Patrick also offers recommendations for women trying to conceive. She says in the first instance women should consider consuming "a vitamin B12, folic acid and iron formulae, a pre-conception general multi-vitamin supplement, and either an antioxidant or homone regulator such as chaste tree."

There are also dietary ways to get some of the recommended nutrients. To get a dose of B12 consider eating beef, lean cuts of lamb, cheese (in particular the following varities: swiss, mozzarella and parmesan) and whole eggs (caution, pregnant women should eat very well cooked eggs).

Folic acid is easy to consume through leafy green vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, avocado, brussel sprouts, corn, carrot, pumpkin, strawberries and citrus fruits (to name a few!). Legumes also contain folic acid.

When it comes to iron most of us know to eat lots of red meat, but you can also consider eating legumes, nuts (like almonds and cashews), green vegies like spinach and dried apricots.

An easy way to remember to get a boost of antioxidants is to eat vegetables that are bright in colour such as red capsicums, green zucchini, broccoli, or yellow squash. Some teas also contain antioxidants.

This article should in no way be viewed as a diagnosis or treatment recommendation. If you are concerned about your health, consult a medical practitioner.

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