Fertility on the menu
Improve your chances of conception with these healthy eating tips.
A healthy, balanced and varied diet that provides your five-a-day and a wide range of nutrients is crucial to your pregnancy plans. Here are some basic guidelines to help you build the best environment for producing a healthy baby.
- Start taking folic acid supplements of 400mcg daily – to help prevent neural tube defects – three months before you try to conceive. Eat folic-acid rich foods, such as leafy green vegetables – cabbage, broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, spring greens, kale; pulses – chickpeas, black-eyed beans and lentils; fortified breakfast cereals; wholemeal and wholegrain breads and rolls or those fortified with folic acid.
- Go as fresh and wholegrain as you can and avoid eating high-fat, high-salt processed foods. Eat organic whenever possible and try to eat home-cooked food to avoid additives and pesticide residues.
- Eat regularly and have three meals a day; breakfast is especially important. Don’t let yourself get ravenously hungry as it’s good to keep your blood-sugar levels stable.
- Eat a portion of oily fish a week, but avoid shark, swordfish, marlin and tuna, which are high in the heavy metal mercury. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in nuts, seeds and oily fish (salmon, mackerel, pilchards, herrings, sardines) are vital for hormone balance.
- Pregnancy can cause iron deficiency, so eat good-quality lean meat, beans, pulses and eggs. Try liquid iron formula Floradix, £8.99 from Holland & Barrett.
- Lower (or cut out completely) your alcohol consumption – have a maximum or 14 units per week – and cut down on caffeine. High levels of caffeine have been linked to miscarriages so if you’re hooked, reduce your dependence now.
- Drink two litres of bottled or filtered water every day.
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