Besides a number of gynaecological and systemic diseases affecting a woman's fertility, lifestyle factors and environmental conditions such as stressful jobs, unbalanced nutrition and unhealthy diet concur to interfere with reproduction safety in both women and men. Dr. Ayesha Gupta, Consultant Reproductive Medicine, Delhi suggests what women should consume while going through the IVF procedure.
Evidence proves diets high in unsaturated fats, whole grains, vegetables, and fish have been associated with improved fertility in both women and men. Saturated fats, and sugar have been associated with poorer fertility outcomes in women and men.
Women who consume diets higher in monounsaturated fats such as foods from plants, vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds have higher fertility rates. In addition, higher intakes of full-fat dairy, animal proteins, non-haem iron and saturated fats such as processed foods, deep-fried foods, coconut oil, palm or kernel oil are associated with lower rates of ovulation infertility.
In men, Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to be associated with low serum testosterone concentrations and poor semen quality, including reduced sperm number, movement and morphology. In women the same leads to poor egg quality. Good sources of vitamin D are cod liver oil, tuna, salmon, cow’s milk, soy milk and fortified cereals.
Iron deficiency in both sexes can lead to fertility problems, including defective spermatogenesis, reduced libido, oxidative damage to sperm and ovulation. Foods rich in iron such as green leafy vegetables, beans, red meat etc
Zinc is required for spermatogenesis and motility and in women and also, it plays a role in hormone balance and ovulation. Foods rich in Zinc are beans, nuts, crab, lobster, whole grains, breakfast cereals, and dairy products.
Folic acid supplementation is usually done in women trying to conceive as low levels of folate causes defective ovulation.
Maternal pre-pregnancy weight is a strong predictor of fertility and pregnancy outcomes. Women and men with body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30 kg/m2, have a higher risk of infertility and are strongly advised to reduce 5% of their body weight pre-conception.
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Oxidative Stress And Anti-Oxidants
Omega 3 Fatty acids supplementation combats the oxidative stress which occurs in the body and can affect fertility in both men and women.
Tobacco And Smoking
Generates free radicals and tobacco, recreational drugs, alcohol, pollutants and infections are particularly damaging to the developing eggs in ovary and sperms in men.
smoking is associated with a rapid decline of ovarian reserves, delayed conception and heightened risk of spontaneous miscarriage, as well as a lower success rate from ART, while in males the percentage of normal semen morphology and motility is significantly reduced
In summary, for those working with families considering pregnancy or undergoing a fertility journey, a varied, balanced diet is encouraged strongly. Especially for both the partners. We promote partners to participate in dietary counselling as it offers benefits and improved conception outcomes for couples trying to conceive. Every fertility journey will look different, and positive dietary changes for non-biological parents or other family members offer benefits for family health as well as role modelling opportunities beyond the conception period. Dietary counselling should include encouraging wholegrain carbohydrates and a variety of colourful fruit and vegetables. In nutshell a higher ratio of plant protein to animal protein, as well as ensuring that women are aware of the importance of consuming sufficient iodine, zinc, folate, iron, antioxidants as well as supplementing folic acid prior to conception.
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