Dr. Kate’s Top 5 Diet Tips to Enhance Your Fertility

 by Dr. Kate Hunter, ND

As a Naturopathic Doctor  at Vital, I work with a lot of women in their childbearing years. Preparing their bodies for pregnancy and improving their fertility is a common goal for my clients, or something that they are curious to learn more about for the future. It is hard to know what affects our ability to ovulate (when an egg becomes available for fertilisation each month), and where to start. Adequate hormonal function is necessary for ovulation and, in my clinical experience, I have had the most success optimising hormones in the body by just cleaning up the diet! A healthy diet supports the organs of elimination, such as the kidneys and liver, whose role it is to convert and filter excess hormones from our bodies.

ildbearing years. Preparing their bodies for pregnancy and improving their fertility is a common goal for my clients, or something that they are curious to learn more about for the future. It is hard to know what affects our ability to ovulate (when an egg becomes available for fertilisation each month), and where to start. Adequate hormonal function is necessary for ovulation and, in my clinical experience, I have had the most success optimising hormones in the body by just cleaning up the diet! A healthy diet supports the organs of elimination, such as the kidneys and liver, whose role it is to convert and filter excess hormones from our bodies.

 

Here are my top 5 diet tips to maximise your fertility NOW!

 

1. Choose Organic

 

Organic food choices prevent toxins which disrupt the natural hormonal process

 

Eating organic fruits and vegetables as much as possible is always an excellent health choice. But, it is especially important when purchasing produce from the ‘Dirty Dozen’ list. Many toxins used in pesticides are known hormone disruptors. The dirty dozen is a group of fruits and vegetables known to contain higher levels of pesticides. The dirty dozen refers to strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes and sweet bell peppers. Choosing organic options for produce from the dirty dozen in your diet before becoming pregnant will minimise the exposure to toxicity and hormone- disrupting pesticides.


 The dirty dozen is a group of fruits and vegetables known to contain higher levels of pesticides. The dirty dozen refers to strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes and sweet bell peppers.


2. Eat More Seeds

 

Nutritional deficiencies of B6 and zinc can affect fertility. Two seeds packed with these two minerals and vitamins are sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

 

 

Sunflower seeds are a good source of B6 and pumpkin seeds contain a high amount of zinc, among other minerals. A simple way to increase your seed intake is by adding these seeds to cereals, salads, or even buying sunflower or pumpkin seed butter to spread on toast (it’s delicious!!).


Sunflower seeds are a good source of B6 and pumpkin seeds contain a high amount of zinc, among other minerals. 


3. Make Sure You are Getting Enough Iron

 

Eat dark, leafy greens and beans to avoid iron deficiencies

 

An iron deficiency can have a significant impact on your fertility. The best way to find out if your iron levels are high enough is to have your ferritin levels (a protein that stores iron in the tissues) measured through blood work by your doctor. Ferritin levels lower than 70 can decrease fertility. Red meat is the best source of iron (opt for grass-fed, organic), followed by dark leafy greens, beans, legumes and molasses.


The best way to find out if your iron levels are high enough is to have your ferritin levels (a protein that stores iron in the tissues) measured through blood work by your doctor.


4. Eat More Omega 3 Fatty Acids

 

Omega 3 fatty acids are healthy fats that are great for the brain, help to balance hormones, and also lead to better birth outcomes for the baby. 

 


Aim for 2-3 servings per week of low mercury fish (think SMASH: sardines, mackerel, anchovies, salmon and herring), chia seeds, flax and walnuts.


5. Reduce Intake of High Sugar Foods

 

Choose vibrant vegetables and whole grains instead of ‘high Gly’ carbs

 

Carbohydrates that we consume are broken down into sugars that provide energy to our cells. Some carbohydrates break down into more sugar than others, which can increase production of hormones (such as insulin and testosterone) – this can affect the body’s hormone balance and, subsequently, ovulation and fertility. These foods are referred to as having a high Glycemic Index, and include refined sugars, white breads, white rice, and white pastas. Instead, choose low Glycemic Index carbohydrates such as whole grains and brightly coloured vegetables.


Some carbohydrates break down into more sugar than others, which can increase production of hormones (such as insulin and testosterone) – this can affect the body’s hormone balance and, subsequently, ovulation and fertility.


Beyond diet, there are many ways to support your body for pregnancy and optimise your fertility. Because our bodies are so different, the best plan is always one that is customised to your specific needs, so it’s always best to have an assessment and receive a customised treatment specific to you!

In good health,

Dr. Kate Hunter, ND

For more information, Dr. Kate can be reached here.

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