It’s been said that 50 is the new 30, but some women who place higher emphasis on education and career often find themselves with little time for family planning. Once these women are comfortable in their professional lives, they can struggle with conception due to a culprit that is familiar to many: stress. By combating busy schedules with a healthy diet and mindful exercise, an infertile couple can find themselves answering the stork’s call in no time.
1. Say goodbye to bad habits
Smoking, drinking, drugs, caffeine, and sleep deprivation all contribute to infertility. To counter these, practice mindfulness to help keep focus on the goal—a healthy baby. The best way to begin this transformation is by eliminating toxins (see below) from the body so that a hospitable environment for a fetus to grow can be created. This means proper toxin-free nourishment is a priority.
2. Detoxify the body
Understanding how cells work and how to rebuild cells with food helps slow down the aging process, which is one reason a detoxification process is important for any woman trying to get pregnant. Several detoxification kits are sold in health food stores, but the natural approach is best, because healing foods strengthen the body while rebuilding cells. Begin each day by swapping bagels, toast, or cereal for fruit high in vitamin C (which keeps up the immune system) such as berries, papaya, or cantaloupe. For lunch, a glass of cucumber water with a detoxifying soup helps cleanse the body while beets—known for fighting infection and lowering blood pressure—are also high in liver-cleansing betaine. A beet, avocado, radish hummus salad can make an excellent light meal that rids the body of unwanted toxins. With slices of white onion added (which are known to have detox powers), this salad is the ideal meal for anyone looking for a midday meal that won’t throw off their detox. Dinner is best avoided during detox because the liver cleans the body at night (which is why Europeans eat their largest meal during the middle of the day).
3. Break a sweat
When the detox period is over, a nutrient-rich, healthy diet should be combined with mindful exercise such as yoga or pilates to best increase a woman’s odds of becoming pregnant. By redirecting blood flow to the pelvic area, the thousand-year-old poses increase chances for conception while improving heart and blood circulation. Yoga also allows iron to carry oxygen to the required parts of our bodies, which is important as iron deficiency is often a cause of infertility.
4. Improve your long-term diet
Mothers-to-be should consume food rich in protein, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, aka, omega-3), calcium, and magnesium. Gluten-free pasta salad with organic pears, apples, oranges, pineapple, and kiwi provides healthy carbohydrates that serve as fuel for the body, as well as sources of protein. Pesto made from artichokes, asparagus, and parsley with quinoa keeps the bones healthy, builds muscle, and helps regulate blood sugar levels, while fruit provides brain power, energy, and antioxidants perfect for an infertile woman. Furthermore, nuts are healthy fats, and healthy fats eat bad fat, which helps keep pregnant women in shape. When combined with vitamins B12, D, A, and C, these foods can turn infertile couples into parents.
5. Have sex and stay positive
Stress is the reason many infertile couples can’t conceive, which is why sex is so important. Besides being key to conception, sex is also a great way to attain that much-needed, stress-free environment because, during intercourse, the love hormone oxytocin—which reduces stress and promotes a positive mindset—is released during orgasm in both sexes. Another reason a healthy diet is important? Poor eating habits influence our sex drives, and fat cells formed from junk food decrease our libidos. To remedy this, eat a nutrient-rich diet containing the essential proteins and amino acids to combat toxins. You might not like the idea of giving up coffee or downward dog yoga poses, but having better sex is something all couples—those looking to get pregnant or not—can enjoy with a smile.
Marika is a Connecticut-based journalist and nutritionist who has written for magazines such as The Jewish Voice and Edge Magazine.
Photo courtesy of Mango Island Mamma