Kat Keough is a leading fertility and prenatal nutritionist, she has been interviewed by publications such as Australians Women’s Health.
Kat Keough is a leading fertility and prenatal nutritionist, she has been interviewed by publications such as Australians Women’s Health. She has a true passion about helping people optimise their fertility, prepare for pregnancy and conceive a healthy baby. She provides tailored online fertility diet courses as well as one on one counselling.
If you have an ovulation disorder, you’re not alone. Ovulatory dysfunction is one of the leading causes of infertility worldwide, accounting for around 30% of cases – this includes irregular ovulation and anovulation (not ovulating at all).
The good news is, by making these 5 simple changes to your diet, you can improve ovulation and boost your fertility by 66%!
Whether you’re trying to conceive naturally or through assisted reproduction like IVF, you can use these strategies to increase your chances of a beautiful healthy baby.
1. Switch The Meat For More Plant-Based Protein
Did you know that having more plant protein in your diet naturally improves your fat ratio, insulin resistance and hormone levels? All of which play important roles in ovulation.
Studies show women who consume mostly red meats and poultry have a greater rate of ovulatory infertility compared with those having a diet rich in vegetable protein. But, it appears that just by swapping just 25g of animal proteins with 25g of plant proteins every day, you can boost your fertility by a whopping 50%.
Aim for at least half of your protein intake from plants – think beans and legumes, nuts, tofu and whole grains. Choose fish, eggs and poultry for the most of the rest, with less red meat and dairy products making up the balance.
2. Choose Whole Grain, Low-Gi Carbohydrates
Many people in the TTC community are avoiding carbohydrates in the name of fertility, but actually, whole grain, low GI carbs that are high in fibre are true fertility super foods. They contain loads of critical nutrients for fertility, pregnancy and your general health.
The key message when it comes to choosing carbs is quality over quantity. Research shows women whose diets are lacking in whole grains are 55% more likely to have trouble with ovulatory infertility than those who include healthy carbs.
You’re probably wondering, what do carbs have to do with ovulation? Well, carbs determine our blood sugar and insulin levels. Highly refined carbohydrates (like the white versions of bread, pasta, rice and potatoes) can cause these to rise too high too quickly, disrupting the balance of hormones responsible for reproduction. These changes in hormones can hinder or even halt ovulation.
Whole grain, low GI carbs release their sugars more gradually, resulting in slower and gentler rises in blood sugar and insulin levels, and therefore, more balanced hormones.
In addition to improving ovulation, research also shows healthy carbs:
And if that’s not enough to convince you, studies are now showing that eating these healthy carbs before pregnancy may even prevent gestational diabetes.
Swap out those highly refined carbohydrates in your cupboard for options that will nourish you. Go for whole grains (brown or basmati rice, oats, whole grain bread and pasta), beans and legumes, vegetables and whole fruits.
3. Include Full Fat Dairy In Your Diet
There’s a myth in fertility circles that milk can cause infertility, but the fact is, milk is actually beneficial when you’re trying to conceive! Research shows there’s a 70% lower risk of infertility for those who drink milk compared those who don’t. The catch – it needs to be full-fat.
Full-fat dairy seems to offer protection against ovulatory infertility, while skim and low-fat milk do the opposite. Full-fat milk is rich in micronutrients and contains special compounds that play a key role in the growth and development of our eggs, as well as all stages through pregnancy.
Why is that? Well, removing fat from milk drastically changes the balance of reproductive hormones in a way that could harm ovulation and conception, and proteins added to make skim or low-fat milk look and taste creamy push this balance out even further.
Aim for one to two servings of whole milk or other full-fat dairy products a day.
4. Eat More Healthy Fats
One of our biggest fertility-boosting tips is to eat more healthy fats. They have a host of beneficial effects on the body, including healthy reproduction. By helping the body control blood sugar and calm inflammation, they can kick-start ovulation and improve your chances of getting pregnant.
They have loads of fertility benefits:
Include oily fish, nuts and seeds, avocado and extra virgin olive oil into your meals. Also try to reduce your saturated fat intake and cut trans fats out of your diet completely.
5. Make Sure You’re Taking A Top Quality Prenatal Supplement Containing Folic Acid
If you’re pregnant, or trying to get pregnant, you’ve likely heard of folic acid. This nutrient is vital for healthy growth and development. It’s not only used to make DNA, it helps develop your baby’s nervous system and neural tube (brain and spinal cord) early in pregnancy.
Besides its role in reducing risk of Neural Tube Defects, research is now showing it also plays an important role in ovulation. Women who consume prenatal supplements containing folic acid have a 41% lower risk of ovulatory infertility compared to those don’t take a prenatal. Not only does it help regulate the menstrual cycle, it appears it may even increase the chance of releasing an additional egg during ovulation.
Besides improving ovulation, folic acid is essential for reproductive health:
Take a quality prenatal supplement (containing at least 400µg of folic acid) at least one month before conception (3 months is even better!).
And there you have it, our top 5 tips for improving ovulation! Whether you’re trying to conceive naturally or using assisted reproduction, these strategies will help to optimise ovulation, boost your fertility and get you on track for a healthy bundle of joy.
Until next time!
The team at Ovitae xo
P.S.. Did you know that you can Subscribe to our Ultimate Care Plan and get 15% off, plus Free Shipping Australia-wide?! To make sure you never run out of your prenatal supplements, we’ll send you a bottle of Pre-Conception Support every 60 days. It’s a win-win! (Cancel any time) Click on the link to sign up 👉 Sign up to subscription here
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