You Are What You Eat
Being under extreme stress affects fertility, Dr. Silva says. "If your life is so stressful that it's interfering with your reproductive health, look at what's going on in your life," he says. Reevaluate your job and relationships and try to bring your life into better balance. Dr. Silva recommends the following:
- 2. Rather than watching television, walk outside in nature as often as you can. Being surrounded by green leaves and blue sky has great benefits for enhancing your health and fertility.
Exercising and eating right help your body to more efficiently fight off stress, Dr. Silva says. In addition, don't underestimate the power of a good night's sleep. Most people need seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
You may not know you are pregnant for many weeks. To be on the safe side, start taking prenatal vitamins today.
While folic acid can be found in leafy green vegetables, dried beans, peas, and fortified breakfast cereals, it's difficult to eat the required amount. Therefore, doctors recommend women take a daily prenatal vitamin. According to the March of Dimes, consuming the recommended dose of folic acid each day may help prevent brain and spinal cord birth defects when taken during the earliest stage of pregnancy. The recommended amount is 400 mcg.
Amanda Bunting Comen, a resident of Charleston, South Carolina, and her husband were trying to conceive for a year. Comen began to follow Dr. Kulze's advice, making more healthy diet choices and implementing daily exercise. "More specifically, I ate more fruits and vegetables, eliminated a lot of the bad carbs, cut back on alcohol, and drank more than eight glasses of water a day," Comen says. "Ultimately, I lost 30 pounds and got pregnant shortly after that. We are now the proud parents of a healthy baby boy."
"Do your fats right," strictly avoiding trans fats, Dr. Kulze says. These are processed foods containing hydrogenated oils, shortening, and stick margarine. Minimize saturated fats—fatty cuts of meats, butter, and whole-dairy products. Instead, maximize your consumption of omega-3 fats. This includes oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, lake trout, and herring. Other omega-3 rich foods include walnuts, soy foods, canola oil, flax seed, and dark leafy greens.
Another tip from Dr. Kulze is to limit your consumption of red meat—beef, pork, and lamb—to two servings a week or less. Check out these other easy-to-follow guidelines from Dr. Kulze:
- 1. Eat as many veggies as possible. Aim for five or more servings a day.
- 2. Limit fruit to two servings a day. The best fruits are all berries, cherries, apples, whole citrus, pears, plums, apricots (dried or fresh), and peaches.
- 3. Consume your grain products strictly from whole grain sources. The best are pearled barley, rye, and oats.
- 4. Eat more beans. Strive to have one serving a day. The best are soybeans, lentils, kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans, chickpeas, black beans, and butter beans.