As a single woman that just just turned 30 and who dreams of being a wife and mother, one thing is abundantly clear - I must protect my fertility now. If I want to be able to, God willing, naturally conceive, carry, birth and nurse my own children in my 30s, I have to be guarding my fertility. Appropriate exercise is helpful, but a nutritious diet is probably more key than anything else. So, being an librarian, of course I read a lot on the subject of fertility diets, especially the books mentioned at the end of this post. Here is what I've learned, so far.
When Weston Price did his pioneering work on nutrition he noted that many traditional cultures have "sacred" foods. These were almost all high nutrient and high fat foods reserved for young women to prepare their bodies for the nutritionally demanding work of conceiving and bearing children. Francis Pottenger's studies on cats also revealed the importance of maternal nutrition on the health of our children, and even our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Many books are out there that make nutritional recommendations for women who are already pregnant, but to me that's like nitrogen fertilizer in your garden - it's an okay addition, but the real work of the garden comes from healthy soil, not chemical fertilizers. Just as we work to improve the soil in our gardens long before the planting season in order to reap the best harvests - with the most robust and nutritious fruits and veggies, so too must we nourish our bodies long before attempting to conceive.
So what foods should I, and others like me, be focusing on eating? What foods most promote fertility and nutritional readiness to carry healthy children? What foods will our own children and grandchildren thank us for eating now?
Here are some great foods to protect and even improve your fertility
- Fish roe
- Wild caught salmon
- Organic berries
- Full fat organic or raw dairy
- Grass fed beef
- Wild game
- Pastured poultry
- Leafy greens
- Pastured cream and butter
- Citrus fruits
- Colorful squash
- Allium veggies like onion and garlic
- Dark orange root veggies
- Nuts and seeds
- Dark chocolate
- Real salt
- Egg yolks
- Liver and organ meats
- Organic olive oil
- Clams and mussels
- Duck fat and tallow
- Green tea
- Herbs and spices
- Coconut oil
- Fermented cod liver oil
- Yogurt, kefir and creme fraiche
Here are some foods to avoid
- Industrial seed oils like canola and corn oil
- Skim milk
- High fructose corn syrup
- Artificial dyes
- Artificial sweeteners
- Hydrogenated fats and trans fats
- Reduced fat foods
These are some of the great books from which this information was pulled. I heartily recommend reading all of them if you have the time.
- Real Food for Mother and Baby by Nina Planck
- Beautiful Babies by Kristen Michaelis
- Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler
- Deep Nutrition by Catherine and Luke Shanahan
- Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
- Be Fruitful by Victoria Maizes
If you've already had children, how old were you when you had your first child? Your last child? Did you do anything special to improve your diet before conception or during pregnancy?