I can finally hear the birds chirping, the frogs bellowing and my daffodils have begun to open their vibrant yellow blossoms. It’s the season for new beginnings and the perfect time to reconnect with the earth. I can’t help but relate the feeling of spring to the freshness and innocence of newborn babies. As a mother of two, and a mother of a newborn baby, I know the joys that children bring into our lives. As a nutritionist, working with families that are trying to conceive is one of the most valuable and rewarding parts of my job.

One in six couples struggle with infertility, which accounts for 6.1 million American couples. For 25% of infertile couples, infertility is caused by more than one factor. Fortunately, there are practical, safe and successful natural options for men and women that have lifelong, health-promoting effects and provide little to no risk for future health concern. More and more research shows that the food we eat, for both men and women, is tied to fertility health. It makes sense that just like plants need nutrients and fertile ground to develop offspring, humans need a fertile and healthy body with the right nutrients to develop a healthy baby.

Here are a few fertility foods that I have seen work wonders in my own life and practice. I also included a few foods you may want to cut out of your diet while trying to conceive.

1) Seaweed like kelp and nori help boost low thyroid function, which can be related to fertility. The hormonal system uses seaweed to repair tissue, regenerate cells and create hormones such as estrogen.

2) Beans are loaded with fiber and protein, which help fortify your digestive system and bring nutrients to reproductive tissues.

3) Fish contain essential fatty acids (linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid), which are essential to every cell in our body. They are also necessary in ovulation, in the process of releasing the egg and allowing the development of the corpus luteum, ovarian tissue that plays a critical role in early pregnancy. Fish can also help manage endometriosis, a condition that can cause infertility. High mercury fish can interrupt ovulation so go for safer choices like wild caught salmon and farm raised freshwater trout.

4) Broccoli and Cabbage contain a compound that stimulates more efficient use of estrogen by increasing the metabolism of estradiol, a sex hormone necessary for fertility and reproductive health. Inefficient metabolism of estradiol could have negative fertility effects.

5) Nicotine, Alcohol and Caffeine can increase the risk of a miscarriage. Nicotine ages the ovaries and makes the eggs resistant to fertilization. Tea, especially green tea, is not as problematic as coffee. It contains about 20 percent less caffeine, and fewer volatile oils. Coffee constricts vessels while tea opens them. Green tea also contains antioxidants, which scavenge free radicals and create a healthy environment for your baby.

I hope that you enjoy the rest of spring and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any additional questions. I would love to hear from you and look forward to working with you soon!

Erin Dudley

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