Optimal nutrition plays a pivotal role in enhancing fertility and supporting a healthy pregnancy. A diet rich in essential nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats, lays the foundation for reproductive health. These dietary factors, when combined with a high-quality prenatal vitamin that fills nutritional gaps, create a synergistic effect that maximizes fertility potential. So, what's the best diet for fertility and pregnancy?
Eating Well For Fertility And During Pregnancy
Perhaps the most widely recognized diet for fertility is the Mediterranean diet. Characterized by the high consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and olive oil, with moderate fish and poultry intake, the Mediterranean diet has been associated with a range of health benefits, including improved fertility.
Research suggests that the diet's high content of antioxidants, healthy fats, and nutrients plays a significant role in supporting fertility for both men and women. For women, the Mediterranean diet has been linked to improved ovulatory function and possibly enhanced success rates of in vitro fertilization (IVF).
For men, the diet can improve sperm quality, concentration, and motility, primarily due to its high levels of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, which are known factors that can negatively impact fertility. Importantly, food serves as the main source of these essential nutrients, supplemented by those found in prenatal vitamins, emphasizing the importance of a nutritious diet.
This combination of dietary elements supports hormonal balance, maintains a normal blood sugar balance, and promotes a healthier reproductive system, thereby potentially increasing the chances of conception.
Together, a nutrient-dense diet and a comprehensive prenatal supplement help ensure that mom, dad and baby have the best possible foundation for health throughout pregnancy and beyond. It highlights the importance of both diet and targeted supplementation in the journey toward conception and a healthy pregnancy
Mediterranean Buddha Bowl
For the roasted chickpeas:
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 can chickpeas drained, rinsed, and dried, skins discarded
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the quinoa:
- ½ cup uncooked quinoa rinsed
- 1 cup water
For the bowl:
- 2 cups lettuce torn or chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup grape tomatoes halved
- 2 cucumbers peeled, halved lengthwise and chopped
- 1 yellow bell pepper stemmed, seeded, and chopped (you can use red or orange peppers, whatever you have!)
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
- 1/2 cup hummus (store bought or homemade)
To roast the chickpeas:
Move an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup.
In a small bowl, combine chickpeas with olive oil, basil, garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes, stirring the chickpeas and rotating the baking sheet halfway through. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.
To make the bowl:
Meanwhile, combine quinoa and water in a small microwave-safe bowl. Cover; microwave for 4 minutes on high. Remove from microwave, stir, and heat again for 2 minutes longer. Stir and let stand 1 minute in the microwave.
Layer greens in the bottom of a bowl or on a platter. Arrange the grape tomato halves, cucumbers, bell pepper, olives, chickpeas, and quinoa in sections around the bowl. Spoon the hummus in the middle of the bowl and serve.
- Chickpeas: To remove the skin, pour drained and rinsed chickpeas on a clean, dry kitchen towel. Rub vigorously until dried and the paper skins start to fall off (It is not required to remove all skins, but roasted chickpeas taste better if you do).
- Hummus: You can use premade or make your own! Blend a can of chickpeas with classic flavors like lemon and garlic, and blend with plenty of tahini and olive oil.
- Yield: This recipe makes one large Buddha bowl, enough for 2 main-dish sized servings or 3-4 servings when accompanied by other foods such as pita bread.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The chickpeas will soften in the first hours after coming out of the oven.
- Make ahead: The bowl can be assembled in advance, covered with plastic wrap, and stored in the refrigerator.