The arrival of a baby is a life-changing moment. However, infertility affects about 10% of the Indian population which is an alarming number. The common reason for infertility in men is oligospermia or poor sperm count and among women, it is Polycystic Ovarian Disorder.
With research and technology, specialized medical treatment is available for childless couples ranging from fertility drugs to IUF, IVF, and surrogacy. Modern medicine also responds to the positive effect of diet and lifestyle for improving fertility.
Healthy diet and lifestyle are the cornerstones that promote the reproductive system to function optimally. The most vital part of managing infertility is to correct PCOD through a wise choice of foods.
A study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health has revealed that there are certain foods that boost ovulation.
Role of Diet in Infertility
- Eggs and sperms require certain vital nutrients for their good health, which can be achieved with right foods.
- PCOD a major cause of infertility can be controlled with the right diet.
- Hormonal imbalances can be due to infertility, which can be corrected with right foods.
- If you’re planning to conceive, modifications in the food you make today can be the outcome of healthy eggs and sperm.
- Harvard University research has revealed that a fertility diet could decrease infertility by as much as 80%.
Pick the right oils
Oils rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (eg: flaxseed oil, canola oil, fish oil) and walnuts should be included.
Avoiding trans fats from the diets are beneficial for health. Trans fat increases insulin resistance, making it difficult to move the glucose into the cells, this results in increasing the risk of metabolic disturbances affecting ovulation.
Adding whole grains and complex carbs like legumes and pulses is found to be helpful. Cut down refined cereals like maida, polished rice, bakery products, sugary juices all of which spikes the blood glucose levels and in turn elicits the insulin release. High insulin levels are found to be harmful for ovulation.
It is good to add-on about 5% of total calories from plant protein sources as to animal sources, as this reduces the risk of ovulatory infertility up to 50%. Including legumes, nuts, seeds and pulses add-on to healthy fats and has lower calories too.
Research reveals that women who drank low-fat dairy were more prone to infertility than those who had high-fat dairy. It is ideal to take milk, curd or milk products within the day’s calories, to reap its benefits without adding extra kilos.
Loads of iron from green leafy vegetables, dried fruits, nuts and legumes helps to boost the haemoglobin levels. Limit the intake of lean meat as a source of iron. Include vitamin C rich foods that help with iron absorption ( eg: citrus fruits, amala, tomatoes, bell pepper, and guava.
Folic acid and B vitamin supplementation help with infertility and these nutrients are vital in preventing congenital problems. Rich sources of folic acid include green leafy vegetables, nuts, & legumes. Just 500 mg of folic acid supplementation is also recommended by NIN (National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad).
One of the leading causes of infertility in men and women is obesity. Obese women are prone to menstrual irregularities and ovulation, whereas men have poor sperm quality and negative effects on the embryos health. Fad diets, avoiding certain food groups are all detrimental to the body, particularly if you are planning a pregnancy.
Regular exercise and being physically active is vital to keep up good health. A healthy diet and a great lifestyle helps ease infertility in both men and women.
However, always consult a health expert to help you on your way to parenthood.