A healthy diet can look different for everyone but when it comes to fertility a focus on foods that build your gut diversity is a great foundation!
What you eat matters because the gut is connected to your immune, metabolic, endocrine, and reproductive systems; all of which work together to support your fertility.
Don’t know where to start to nurture your microbiome? Here are four evidence-backed strategies you can start implementing today!
Prioritise Plant-Based Foods
Consuming a primarily plant-based diet has many benefits for our gut microbiome. With an increase in plant-based foods there is an increase in beneficial Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus and a reduction in pathogenic Bacteroides fragilis and Clostridium perfringens.
A diet high in plant-based foods increases fibre degrading bacteria in our microbiome. These bacteria produce beneficial compounds to strengthen the intestinal barrier, reduce inflammation, balance hormones and support your metabolic and reproductive health.
Wondering how to get more plant-based foods into your day?
Having a stir fry? Let veggies and tofu be the star of the show and serve with brown rice. Multigrain wrap for lunch? Pack it full of salad as the key ingredients. Add some spinach, tomato, mushroom, and avocado to wholegrain toast for brekky. Making a lasagne? Replace half the mince with lentils and add a few other grated veggies. Little steps go a long way!
Include Lots of Wholegrains
Yes - wholegrains are plants, but they deserve their own point as they are packed with so much fertility nurturing goodness!
Wholegrains provide a range of prebiotics to nurture your gut bugs, essential vitamins and minerals for healthy eggs and sperm, and help create a thick, receptive uterine lining.
Find out more about what wholegrains are here.
Diversity is Key
Reframe your mindset from restriction to abundance. Our gut bugs love variety so focus on what else you can add to your plate. Diversity in your diet will mean you are eating lots of different foods, each delivering their own special polyphenols, minerals, and vitamins.
Make a list and see if you are including at least 30 different plant-based foods each week- it’s a great activity to see what you are actually eating.
Think 30 sounds out of reach?
A veggie based sweet potato burger with beans and chickpeas can give you 6 plant points in the one meal.
Put your burger patty on a wholegrain bun with spinach, cashew basil pesto, and tomato and you have hit 10 plant points in the one meal!
Make a fruit crumble for brekky and you will start the day with 9 plant points.
Consider Nutritional Value
No food should be off limits. If it is, this can often be a trigger for cravings, unnecessary restriction or overeating. Removing labels on foods as 'good' or 'bad' can give you freedom, and with a more mindful approach to eating reflecting on how different foods make you feel, you might find yourself prioritising the intake of foods with greater nutritional value.
Ultra-processed foods tend to be high in saturated fats, trans fats and sugars. They contain lots of energy but few antioxidants or other fertility loving minerals and vitamins.
A high dietary intake of these foods has been shown to disrupte metabolic health and increase the abundance of microbes in the gut that drive inflammation.
Did your snack energize you or make you feel more tired? Tune into your body's response to what you are eating and you may notice that your gut bugs are sending you a message!