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Fertility friendly shopping list

10 November 2020

When shopping for groceries, the amount of products available to choose from can be overwhelming – here we outline some of the best foods to include on your shopping list to optimise your diet with the aim of boosting your fertility outcomes.

Fresh produce

Fruit and vegetables - aim to include as many different colours in your basket as you can. The natural phytochemicals that give fruits and vegetables their colours are often antioxidants with different colours providing different beneficial compounds.

Green leafy veg such as kale and spinach as well as broccoli and asparagus are packed with folate. Avocado is rich in vitamin E and unsaturated fats. Red foods such as tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. Carrots, sweet potatoes and butternut squash contain beta carotene which is converted to vitamin A, oranges are also high in vitamin C. Bananas are rich in potassium and vitamin B6. Anthocyanins give foods such as aubergines, blackberries, red cabbage and grapes their purple colour and are powerful antioxidants.

Eating the rainbow will also boost your vitamin and mineral intake as well as the amount of fibre in your diet. Switch up the type of fresh produce you buy every week to take full advantage of the fertility enhancing nutrients fruit and vegetables have to offer. Don’t forget that frozen fruits and vegetables can be just as nutritious as fresh produce, picking up some of these can mean you always have them available to add to a meal, or they can be combined into a smoothie, helping you to meet or even better go beyond the all-important 5 a day target.  

Eggs - as well as being versatile, they are a complete source of protein so contain all nine essential amino acids, which we require for growth and development,and  a lot of which are required for conception. Eggs also contain choline which is a nutrient often lacking in consumption but is essential for fertility, as well as vitamin D, iodine, iron and folate.

Whole milk and full fat yoghurt – studies suggest that whole milk may be more protective of fertility than reduced fat versions. Additionally dairy contains many important fertility promoting vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iodine, choline and B vitamins.

Protein

Add salmon, sardines and mackerel to your list. Eating these types of oily fish, twice a week can help you get your weekly dose of omega-3 which has the potential to improve egg quality and prolong the reproductive lifespan.

Although a fertility diet aims to prioritise plant-based over meat-based protein, consuming lean meats in moderation is ok, picking 5% fat beef mince and chicken breasts reduces intake of saturated fats, they are also rich in iron which can help to prevent anaemia as well as ovulatory infertility.

Beans and lentils are an excellent source of plant based protein, they also contain fibre and folate and can be used in a variety of dishes. 

Nuts and seeds - Almonds, walnuts, Brazil and cashew nuts along with sunflower, chia, hemp, flax, sunflower and sesame seeds are packed with fertility supporting nutrients, for example zinc which is fundamental for reproductive health, antioxidants such as selenium as well as healthy fats. They can be sprinkled on breakfasts, added to salads or create a crispy coating for fish or meat.

Extra virgin olive oil is an unsaturated fat and a staple of the Mediterranean diet which is the recommended style of eating for fertility. Add this to your list over saturated fats such as coconut oil.

Grains

Whole grains are recommended as part of a fertility diet. Quinoa and oats are great choices to add to your shopping list as they both have a low glycaemic index helping to promote healthy blood glucose and insulin levels and keep us full helping us to manage our weight. Swap any refined grains you usually buy for whole grain versions of pasta, bread, cereals and rice, this will increase fibre intake which has been associated with increased probability of conception.

There is no focus on just one food for promoting fertility, but a balanced nutritious diet similar to a Mediterranean style of eating will help to ensure you are in the best position for conception and a healthy pregnancy. If you are running low on your prenatal vitamins be sure to add one containing 400µg of folic acid and 10µg of vitamin D to your shopping list.

 

 

 

 

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