Fertility and reproductive health has come to the forefront in our society with women getting married later on in life, deciding to wait a few years to have kids and in general setting their own rules on when and how they want to conceive. Luckily, medicine has also progressed and there are countless options for people who may have difficulty conceiving, from proactively looking into freezing eggs or going through the IVF process. Along side the medical advances that makes conceiving more possible, there are also changes patients can make to their lifestyle and dietary habits to increase the chances of getting pregnant. Dr. James Nodler, a Reproductive Endocrinologist from Houston IVF, is lending his time and expertise today to talk all things reproductive health and nutrition for families trying to conceive.
BP: What are some foods that can help increase fertility?
Dr. Nodler: “Fertile Foods” include:
BP: Can weight cause a decrease in fertility?
Dr. Nodler: Many women are surprised to learn that fertility rates can be decreased in both overweight and underweight women. For example, obese women may take 2 times longer to achieve pregnancy and have a 30% higher risk of miscarriage than normal weight women. Underweight women, defined as a BMI (body mass index) of less than 19, may take 4 times longer to achieve pregnancy than normal weight women.
BP: How can patients better manage their diets to increase fertility?
Dr. Nodler: Diet management should be tailored to the individual patient. As a Reproductive Endocrinologist, I always ensure that my patients know the best plan for them. For example, a woman who is underweight will benefit from a balanced diet of healthy fats, protein, and carbohydrates to increase overall calorie consumption. A woman who is overweight, especially a woman diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) may benefit in a very low carbohydrate diet that is comprised of lean meats and vegetables.
BP: Do you recommend any vitamins?
Dr. Nodler: The most important supplement for any woman planning for pregnancy is a prenatal multivitamin, which should contain at least 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. This has been shown in multiple studies to reduce the risk of devastating neural tube (spinal) defects in the fetus.
BP: Is there any lifestyle changes our partners can make to help?
Dr. Nodler: Men who are overweight have been shown to have impaired sperm quality with lower testosterone levels and increased sperm DNA damage. Diet and lifestyle changes in men can improve sperm quality and increase pregnancy rates.
Now that we know a little more about reproductive health and lifestyle changes that could increase fertility, I'm sharing three BP recipes that include Dr. Nodler’s list of 'Fertile Foods' that can get you started on the right track! If you would like to learn more about Dr. Nodler and Houston IVF, visit www.houstonivf.net and check out the Houston IVF Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram.
Mixed Berry Smoothie:
Time: 5-10 minutes
Directions: Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until all the ingredients are well combine and enjoy!
Useful smoothie tips:
- Make 'smoothie bags' each week by placing all of the dry ingredients, everything besides the yogurt and dairy, into a ziplock freezer bag and place it in the freezer so in the morning you can just dump one bag into the blender, add your wet ingredients and your smoothie is ready to go! This saves time on busy mornings.
- Smoothies aren't just for breakfast, smoothies are great for snacks as well, just be mindful of portion sizes and ingredients. I enjoy, 1/2 a smoothie for a snack and stay away from high sugar ingredients like any kind of fruit juices.
- If you are lacking on protein, adding a scoop of a basic organic protein powder can help keep you full and give you the extra protein your body needs!
Kale Seasonal Salad:
Time: 10 minutes
Homemade raspberry dressing:
Directions: Wash and chop all vegetables to assemble the salad and in a separate bowl or container, mix all the ingredients for the salad dressing until well combine. Add the dressing to the salad, toss and enjoy!
Tips of salads:
- Always make extra servings that can easily be used for the lunch the next day at work. This not only allows saving time in the kitchen but also helps with busy schedules.
- Prep a large amount of the vegetables in advance and place in containers in the fridge that way they can also be used in other recipes throughout the week or for snacks!
- Add unexpected ingredients to your salad dressing like the flaxseed, it mixes up nicely and you can't even taste it but you are also getting an added boost of omega 3!
- Always make your own salad dressing, not only is it fast and easy to do, it is also healthier to make it yourself! Store bought salad dressings are loaded with unnatural ingredients and added sugar!
- I like using less fruit in my salads to keep the sugar content down, instead use raspberry vinaigrette to sweeten up the flavor without adding too much sugar. When choosing a raspberry vinaigrette make sure the only two ingredients are vinaigrette and raspberry puree.
Grassfed boneless, skinless garlic chicken thighs:
Servings per recipe: 4
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Directions: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and while the oven is preheating, in a bowl mix up the ingredients and let marinate for a few minutes. Place an oven safe skillet on the stove top on medium heat and warm a splash of olive oil. Then place the chicken thighs or chicken breast in the skillet on the stove and cook on each side for 5 minutes so the outside of the chicken has a nice golden brown sear to it. Then (using an oven mitt) place the whole oven safe skillet into the oven and finish cooking the inside of the chicken for 10-15 minutes, depending on how thick your chicken is. Once finished cooking remove the chicken from the oven, plate at your desired temperature and enjoy!
Helpful tips for cooking chicken:
- The stove to oven might sound like an extra step but THIS IS THE SECRET for getting that restaurant style chicken that is both juicy and still seared on the top, trust me this extra step is worth it! You will never feel like you are having dry boring chicken ever again (promise)!
- This marinade is so simple you can use on any type of protein!
- Blonde Pantry
*This post is sponsored by Houston IVF, these thoughts/opinions are my own.
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