Have you ever wondered if there were ways that you could increase your fertility through nutrition? Nutrition can affect your chances of becoming pregnant more than you may realize.

Here are some helpful fertility nutrition tips with foods to avoid and foods that are beneficial to eat when trying to conceive.

1. Eat a balanced diet that includes lots of fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and lean protein.

2. Avoid eating unpasteurized cheese, meat, eggs, and dairy. These foods can harm a developing fetus and put the mother at risk for salmonella, listeria, or other food-borne bacteria.

3. Reduce caffeine intake to less than two eight-ounce cups of coffee per day. Coffee has been proven to play a role in causing miscarriages. Two or more cups of coffee per day can cause a woman to be twice more likely to have a miscarriage. If you drink caffeine in other substances like energy drinks, reduce the amount you drink of those products, too.

4. Dr. Barbara Stegmann recommends eliminating alcohol intake altogether to increase your chances of getting pregnant. If you can’t eliminate alcohol, try reducing how often you drink alcoholic beverages. Some studies have shown that alcohol can inhibit a person’s ability to get pregnant. Alcohol can also cause birth defects early on, before a person knows that they are pregnant.

5. Dr. Stegmann also recommends not being underweight or overweight when trying to conceive. Your body can sense when it is healthy, and you are more likely to get pregnant when you are healthy. If you have too much or too little fat, your estrogen levels will get thrown off and your fertility could be affected. A lot of people don’t realize that being underweight can make a person have a difficult time becoming pregnant. If you are trying to gain weight, avoid binge eating in order to gain weight. Instead, gradually increase your weight by eating a balanced diet. If you are trying to lose weight, be sure to also lose it in a healthy way with diet and exercise. Do not try to find shortcuts for this, such as taking diet drugs. Be sure to talk to your doctor more about how to gain or lose weight in a healthy way.

6. Folic acid is important to have in your diet, because it is one of the few nutrients that can help you avoid neural tube birth defects. You can take a folic acid supplement or eat foods that contain folic acid, such as dark leafy vegetables (collard greens, asparagus, kale), citrus fruits and fruit juices, nuts, beans, peas, dairy products, meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, and grains.

7. Vitamin D is very important to have in your diet, because it is extremely important for healthy reproduction and bone health.

For women, Vitamin D increases ovarian follicular fluid levels. There is a higher success rate for getting pregnant when these levels are high, because higher levels help with receiving embryos during an embryo transfer.

Vitamin D is helpful for men because it helps in making their sperm healthier (higher sperm concentration, better sperm morphology and motility). You can find Vitamin D in foods like portobello mushrooms, almonds, caviar, and Cod Liver Oil.

8. Taking a prenatal vitamin daily can be very helpful when trying to conceive, because it helps women get the nutrients and vitamins that bodies need. Your menstrual cycle is disrupted when your body is lacking certain nutrients.

Reproductive BioMedicine Online published a study finding that women undergoing fertility treatments are more likely to conceive when taking a prenatal multivitamin daily. Women who took a prenatal multivitamin had fewer fertility treatments, and 75 percent of them were pregnant on the first cycle of fertility treatments.

9. Avoid eating types of fish that contain high amounts of mercury, as higher levels can damage your baby’s developing nervous system. Fish that contain high amounts of mercury are: swordfish, tilefish, shark, canned tuna, and king mackerel.

10. Don’t become too obsessed with following a strict diet, because doing so could increase your stress and anxiety levels. It is good to splurge once in awhile. When you are eating better, you will feel better, too, which also benefits your baby when you become pregnant.

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