The Meals-Fertility Connection
My husband and I would like to start a family, but living with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) means that it’s not as easy for me to conceive. That’s because PCOS causes a hormonal imbalance that interferes with the growth and release of eggs from the ovaries — and if you don’t ovulate, you can’t get pregnant.
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Thankfully, some research shows that diet can help reduce the impact of PCOS on fertility. Two of the primary ways a diet can affect PCOS are weight management and insulin production or resistance. So food and fertility are connected because following a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight could help in enabling good insulin levels.
In addition to maintaining a healthy diet, I’ve added some other things into my meal plan that may help promote fertility, including the following:
- Maca root. Maca contains a large amount of amino acids, vitamins and minerals that can help achieve a natural hormone balance. Maca is naturally caffeine-free and has been found to increase your energy, raise libido and reduce stress all while boosting your fertility. I typically take a teaspoon (or 3 to 3.5 grams) of maca powder daily for six to 12 weeks at a time.
- Omega 3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that omega-3s improve ovulation. This is done by increasing progesterone, which is the hormone that regulates the condition of the lining of the uterus. The recommendation is to take 250 to 500 milligrams daily (a combined formula with EPA and DHA). Omega-3 and DHA are crucial before, during and after pregnancy to help with fetal brain development, prevent preterm labor and delivery, and lower the risk of pre-eclampsia. I also eat salmon, egg yolks and walnuts, which are naturally high in omega 3s, too.
- Pineapple. One of the key enzymes in pineapple is bromelain, which helps us break down and digest food. When eaten on an empty stomach, bromelain acts as a blood thinner, which promotes a healthier blood flow to the uterus — and this increased blood flow can improve your chances of implantation. Cool fact: Did you know that pineapple is the symbol of infertility? It’s because the shape of a pineapple reminds women to stand tall and imagine themselves wearing a crown despite the negative feelings that are associated with the inability to conceive.
We’ve been trying to conceive for two years now and may need to try in vitro fertilization next — however, I’m satisfied knowing that I did everything I could diet-wise, first, before pursuing a more invasive and expensive solution. And in the meantime, I will adjust my crown, stand tall and continue looking forward to our future family!
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