Even now, one in seven women already have trouble conceiving and that number could rise to one in three within the next 5-10 years.
So, what can we do to promote fertility and healthy pregnancies?
In the age of the internet, there is much information out there about what the ‘best’ diet is and much of it is conflicting. Vegan vs Paleo, low-fat vs low-carb, what’s the answer?
The truth is, there’s not a ‘one-size fits all’ answer and if you are struggling to fall pregnant, seeking professional guidance to find out what your specific body may need is advisable.
Nonetheless, there are a few universal concepts that everyone can follow.
Firstly, we need to nourish our bodies with fertility foods.
Secondly, avoid toxins, particularly food toxins that are known to contribute to infertility and health problems.
Many people are not aware that animal products are generally more nutrient-dense than fruits and vegetables. This is not to say that fruits and vegetables are not important – they certainly are and should be eaten in abundance, for example dark green leafy vegetables for folate, deficiency of which can result in neural tube defects.
However some nutrients are only found significantly in animal products and others are much more easily absorbed and utilised from animal products. So while preparing your body for pregnancy, when nutrient density is so critical, choosing organic, pastured forms of eggs, shellfish, red meat, poultry and game can ensure that you’re stocking up on important nutrients such as vitamin B12, magnesium, zinc, copper and iron.
Avoid industrially-reared meats and farmed fish as we can only be healthy if our food is healthy.
Avoiding consumption of toxins is something we know to do, and many of us stop drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes, if not in the lead up to conception then once a pregnancy is established.
Refined and processed foods can also have a toxic effect on the system by creating inflammation or by interfering with healthy hormone function. These foods include white flour, refined sugar, chemical additives, hydrogenated (trans) fats and industrial vegetable and seed oils.
Much of the focus on falling pregnant lies with the mother, but dad’s role is significantly critical at the moment of conception. Having healthy sperm at conception can determine the outcome of the pregnancy. Preparation takes about three months, and requires nutrients such as arginine, selenium and zinc.
Recent research theorises that the nine months we are ‘in utero’ is the most consequential period of our lives. The gestational period permanently influences the wiring of the brain and the functioning of organs such as the heart, liver and pancreas, so it is worth remembering that diet during this period can potentially influence a child’s lifelong health, for better or for worse.
For further information and advice, Robyn can be contacted at Flourish Health, 48 Wimpole Street, London, W1G 8SF on 020 7 224 2247 or online at http://www.flourish-health.co.uk
SEE ALSO: The fertility facts