pregnancy

Five things to eat when you're trying to get pregnant (and what your partner should eat too).

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Thanks to our brand partner, Menevit

We’re all familiar with the saying “you are what you eat”, and it’s something most women who want to become pregnant consider a great deal.

But with so much information out there, it’s not always easy to sort the fact from fiction. So, we asked someone who would know what the best things women can eat to improve their chances of conceiving: Melanie McGrice.

McGrice is one of Australia’s leading fertility dietitians, and she knows just what both women and men can do in that planning phase to increase their chances of having a baby.

“What we eat in the lead up to conception and during pregnancy not only influences our chance of conceiving, but determines our baby’s epigenetics – which influences his or her risk of chronic disease for the rest of their life,” McGrice tells Mamamia.

So what should you eat when trying to conceive?

“Forget about fertility fads like pineapple core and royal jelly ,” McGrice says.

For the record, royal jelly isn’t the jelly we know and love – it’s a bee super food that often comes in capsules. Don’t go buzzing around for it though – McGrice suggests focusing instead on the below five “fertility super foods”.

1. Cow’s milk.

Studies suggest cow’s milk may actually boost your fertility,” McGrice tells us. “The secret ingredient appears to be a compound called insulin-like growth factor 1, which plays a key role in the growth and development of your egg as it becomes an embryo, and then your baby.

“I recommend a glass of milk, tub of yoghurt and a slice of cheese each day for women who are trying to conceive.”

2. Extra virgin olive oil.

“The Mediterranean diet has been found to be one of the best eating styles for boosting fertility,” McGrice explains.

And this applies for both men and women.

“One of the key reasons for this is believed to be the high intake of extra virgin olive oil,” she says. “Extra virgin olive oil helps to reduce inflammation which is beneficial for egg and sperm health.”

Olive oil
A little extra virgin olive oil is a good thing, says Melanie McGrice. Image: Unsplash/rawpixel

3. Nuts.

Many of us have heard that nuts can play an important role in all diets, but according to McGrice, boosting our intake of plant proteins has been found to be an effective strategy for increasing fertility.

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"Nuts are rich in good fats and micronutrients," she said.

"In fact, a study of 119 men found that those who ate a handful of nuts daily  for 14 weeks had healthier sperm and a better sperm count than men who didn't eat any nuts during the study.

"So, I'd recommend a small handful of about 30 grams each day for both men and women who are trying to conceive."

nuts
Nuts and yoghurt together? Even better. Image: Getty.

4. Oats.

"Research shows that women who consume at least 48 grams of wholegrains, such as oats, have higher rates of egg implantation than women who consume lower rates of wholegrains," McGrice says.

"Oats also have a very low GI, which has been shown to be beneficial for fertility, so I believe that a bowl of oats each morning is a great way to boost your fertility."

WATCH: Melanie McGrice explains which foods she recommends avoiding when trying to conceive:

5. Leafy green plants.

"Leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, are rich in vitamin C and iron, but most importantly they are a great source of folate which has been found to be essential for both men and women trying to conceive," McGrice advises.

And why is folate important?

"Folate has been shown to boost sperm count, and is essential for developing your baby's neural tube in the first few weeks of pregnancy," she explains.

"I'd recommend aiming to include at least a handful of leafy greens in your meal plan each day in the lead up to pregnancy."

One last bit of advice for a pre-conception diet.

As well as including those five categories of foods, McGrice suggests that any women who are worried about what they're eating in the planning phase should visit a fertility dietitian, to help optimise their personal diet before they conceive.

She also has a free fertility meal plan that's downloadable from her site here.

What's the best advice you've been given during the conception phase? Tell us below.

Menevit

It’s not only a woman’s health that matters when trying for a baby. Men can also take positive steps to support conception by being aware of factors affecting their health such as stress, alcohol, smoking, pollution and adopting a healthier lifestyle.

Menevit is a supplement specifically formulated to support sperm health for couples planning pregnancy. It contains a range of antioxidants that support sperm production, sperm motility and help reduce free radicals formed in the body.

Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. Vitamin supplements are not a substitute for a balanced diet.

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