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.
Whether you’re trying naturally for a healthy baby, thinking about freezing your eggs or going through assisted reproductive technologies like IVF, the most important thing you can do is work on improving the health of your eggs.
Unfortunately we’re born with all the eggs we’ll ever have, and as we get older, so do our eggs. This just means there’s more chance of them being exposed to oxidative damage and inflammation, which has a big impact on the egg development, as well as the DNA, or genetic material, housed inside those eggs.
But rest assured, there’s good news! The immature egg, or oocyte, goes through various stages of development to become ‘mature’ and ready for ovulation, a process which takes around 90 days. Research shows that what you eat during this period of development can indeed improve the health of your eggs!
So, while you can’t do anything about the declining number of eggs, you can make sure that the ones you have are in tip-top shape. Optimising your egg health prior to conception is essential. High quality eggs not only lead to improved fertilisation and normal embryo development, they can increase your chances of pregnancy success!
Now let’s get to why you’re here…
The Top 5 Foods to Boost Egg Health
1. Salmon (Omega 3 fatty acids)
There are numerous studies showing that Omega-3 fatty acids are vital for our health, but more importantly, for those of us who are on a fertility journey there’s now a huge amount of research on their amazing benefits for egg health.
Omega 3s not only have amazing antioxidant properties for fighting those pesky free radicals, they help to reduce inflammation around our reproductive organs to make sure our eggs, and the DNA inside them, are in the best shape possible.
So what are Omega 3s? Well, they’re a type of essential fatty acid, which means that our bodies aren’t able to produce them naturally, so we have to obtain them from the food we eat. One of the best sources are oily fish, especially salmon. We recommend having at least two or three serves each week in the lead up to conception.
2. Blueberries (Antioxidants)
Antioxidants are really important for fertility as they enhance the production of energy inside all cells, including our eggs, as well as protecting them from free radical damage. Too many free radicals can have a serious impact on egg quality by altering DNA and impairing normal function.
So, while ‘eating the rainbow’ (loads of different colourful fruits and vegetables) is the best way to get a wide variety of antioxidants, if we had to pick just one, blueberries are our go-to! They are one of the riches sources of antioxidants, as well as being super delicious!
3. Oysters (Zinc)
Zinc is an essential mineral that’s crucial when it comes to egg quality and development. It plays an important role in cell division and growth, as well in the development, maturation and release of the egg. Studies have shown that having low zinc levels before conception can negatively affect the early stages of egg development, reducing the eggs ability to divide and ultimately become fertilised.
So why oysters? Well, they’re a little zinc powerhouse, containing more of this mineral than any other food. Just one oyster can give you 100% of your recommended daily intake of zinc!
4. Lean Red Meat (CoEnzyme Q10)
CoEnzyme Q10, or CoQ10, is an essential fat-soluble antioxidant that has a whole host of health benefits, but most importantly, it’s been found to improve the health of our eggs, especially if you’re a little older. It seems to protect our eggs by preventing DNA and cell damage by fighting against free radicals and decreasing inflammation in our bodies.
For those of you who might be considering freezing your eggs or going through IVF, studies have found that increasing your CoQ10 intake beforehand may improve your eggs response to stimulation, increasing the number of high quality eggs and an increasing your fertilisation rate.
Red meat is one of the best sources of CoQ10. But remember, if you’re trying to conceive, keep it ‘lean’ (saturated fat is not our fertility friend!).
5. Eggs (Vitamin D)
Vitamin D is a sun-loving, fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in keeping our health on track, especially for our bones and immune system. But what does the research say when it comes to egg health?
Studies have shown that women with an optimal level of Vitamin D in their follicular fluid, the fluid surrounding our eggs, had better quality eggs, improved IVF outcomes and higher pregnancy rates compared to those with low levels. It’s believed Vitamin D plays a key role in egg survival and growth, as well as regulating and producing important reproductive hormones.
Of course, we all know that the main source of Vitamin D is from exposure to sunlight, but it can also be found in eggs, particularly the yolk. With 1 in 4 Australians Vitamin D deficient, it certainly can’t hurt to get more from your diet!
Of course eating a wide variety of healthy foods is going to help your fertility and health overall, but these 5 foods might give your eggs that extra boost they need.
And don’t forget that a high-quality prenatal supplement is important too! Dietitians, specialists and all those in the fertility and pregnancy space recommend a comprehensive prenatal to support you and your soon-to-be mini me during this exciting time.
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 👉 https://www.ovitae.com.au/product/ovitae/
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