Are you wondering if there’s anything you can do to boost your fertility before resorting to fertility treatments? (Or do you want to help the effectiveness of those treatments?) Good news: by making a few simple diet & lifestyle changes, you can greatly increase your likelihood of conception. (1)
The challenging part, of course, is actually implementing healthy changes and making them easy so you’ll stick with them long-term. Knowing what we should do doesn’t always mean that we can put it into practice.
Rest assured, you don’t have to be a stressed-out, calorie-counting diet geek to make this work for you. In fact, quite the opposite! Taking baby steps and figuring out ways to make change easier can bring about lasting transformation and a powerful impact on your reproductive health.
There are just five basic areas on which to focus. If you tackle these head-on, you’ll be well on your way to boosting your fertility and improving your general health:
PLAN. If you do nothing else, this step alone will help overhaul your diet and get you eating healthy – a crucial step for regulating weight, optimizing reproductive function, and boosting fertility. It is a very basic concept, but planning has the power to bring amazing change.
I tell my clients to use the 30-30-30 rule: Spend 30 minutes making a meal plan and shopping list, 30 minutes food shopping, and 30 minutes doing a little prep work before you put away your groceries so you’re ready for the week. Committing just this hour-and-a-half every week can change your life and make healthy eating a breeze. Try it!
NOURISH. Do you rely on starchy foods like bagels, cereal, noodles, pasta, pizza, and bread to fill you up? News flash: they’re doing the opposite. While refined carbohydrates like these may make you feel full initially, they are mostly empty calories when compared with more nourishing choices. Reach instead for nutrient-dense foods like clean proteins, healthy natural fats, and organic vegetables. These will provide the building blocks your body needs to keep your reproductive cells and hormones in good working order.
DETOX. Many of the chemicals and hormones used in conventional agriculture negatively affect reproductive hormones. Choosing organic foods can prevent these toxic compounds from wreaking havoc on your reproductive system. And don’t forget that alcohol, cigarettes, medications and the other voluntary toxins we consume can impair fertility, too. Eliminating them from your diet helps protect your delicate reproductive cells.
MOVE. The research shows that there is a “Goldilocks” range of exercise that can help fertility; too much or too little movement can be detrimental. Currently, only about 20% of the US meets the Physical Activity Guidelines set forth by the government, (2) so in most cases, couples need to exercise more. You’ve heard it before: take the stairs. Go for a walk. Do push-ups during TV commercials. Meet a friend for a dance class. Do whatever it takes to get yourself moving. And remember: make it easy so it’s achievable and sustainable. Start with something that you know you can commit to, and build from there.
RELAX. Worrying about your fertility and stressing out about treatments is bad for both your mind and your body. Aside from making you grumpy and depressed, stress can actually make it harder to conceive. (3) It’s not easy, but relaxing and getting out of your head can really help your body. Control what you can (such as your diet), and let go of the rest. Deep breathing, guided meditation, massage and yoga are all excellent (and fun!) ways to rebalance your hormones and relax your body so it can do its job.
Many experts recommend that couples stay on a special preconception program for at least 4 months before trying to conceive. (4) So start with these five tips and see how you feel. What’s working? What could use more exploration? If you’re stuck on one or more of these changes, seek out a holistic fertility practitioner to provide support and accountability.
Emily Wade Adams helps women boost their fertility, enjoy their pregnancies, and grow healthy babies – all without adding more stress to their already-busy lives. Emily is a Certified Nutrition Consultant at Natal Nutrition and creator of the Priming the Bump Fertility Prep Program. To schedule a free 30-minute Health Strategy Session with Emily, click here.
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